Problematic stories illuminate need for better coverage of transgender people

Sadly in recent months there's been a high number of deaths of transgender women, and with it some very problematic media coverage.

In Los Angeles, the death of Katya de la Riva, a Latina trans woman and the detention of Valeria de la Luz, also a Latina trans woman, was covered at times incorrectly, by both English and Spanish-language Los Angeles area media. In Miami, the death of Kristina Gomez Reinwald has been covered incorrectly by some media outlets--in one story she was described as a transgender man.

De la Luz was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter for allegedly giving a silicone injection that led to the death of De La Riva. In some media reports both women have been described with masculine pronouns and reporters have used their birth names. Reporters also have not explained the context of the story, the fact that the lack of financial resources and very limited opportunities for trans people sometimes makes it necessary to access risky medical treatments.

GLAAD, Lambda Legal, The Translatin@ Coalition, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and The Transgender Law Center are asking that media in English and Spanish pay close attention and reach out for community assistance when covering any stories about transgender women and men.

"In addition to mourning the loss of our dear Katya, we also have to see how the media criminalizes and violates our dear Valeria who is also a victim of the systematic oppression of our Latina Trans sisters," said Bamby Salcedo, founder and president of the TransLatin@ Coalition. 

"By reporting the story in this way, the media violates our valued community member Valeria de la Luz who is now a victim of transphobic remarks and attitudes that the media outlets and news are perpetuating," said Isa Noyola from the Transgender Law Center.