Media misgenders transgender woman killed in NSA shooting

According to the Associated Press, a 27-year-old transgender woman, Mya Shawatza Hall, was killed by police at the National Security Agency while allegedly attempting to drive an SUV through a restricted entrance to the NSA campus in Fort Meade, Maryland. The SUV, which belonged to a 60-year-old man, crashed into a police vehicle. A second passenger in the SUV was injured, as was an officer, and both are being treated at a hospital.

Initial reporting from several outlets incorrectly identified Hall, mis-gendering her and referring to her with the wrong name and pronouns. Some stories unnecessarily described Hall's irrelevant criminal record. Media attention has also been sensationalistic regarding what Hall and the second passenger were wearing, something that would not typically be included in a report on an incident like this. Unfortunately, several of those outlets have yet to update their reports. Regardless of the context of a story, transgender people should be referred to in a way that is consistent with how they identify. It is not a matter of "politeness" to accurately report someone's identity – it is a matter of basic respect. This should be done whether or not a transgender person has changed their name or gender marker on their legal identification.

GLAAD has reached out to WBAL-TV, which agreed to correct its story and refer to Hall as a transgender woman with her accurate name and pronouns. However, other outlets continue to offensively mis-gender Hall. As this story will be developing, media reporting on this incident should refer to GLAAD's Media Reference Guide to ensure fairness and accuracy. It is important to keep the same respectful standards in place when someone is involved in an alleged crime.