Month of July, 2012

on media representation of transgender people, with emphasis on the people.

 

Here was a call I saw posted from a Twitter friend:

Here is my letter. I hope you write a letter to the editors too (all emails in link above):

 

Hello to the editorial staff of the Times,

I'm writing, as I'm sure are many, in response to the recent coverage of transgender people in the paper, notably the article, “For Money or Just to Strut, Living Out Loud on a Transgender Stage.”

I am writing because I believe that it is important for reporters to look beyond the low-hanging fruit that would render gender non-conformist people, and especially those who are poor and of color, as cliched or exotic objects of a curious gaze rather than as citizens, human beings, individuals or otherwise fully respectable, autonomous beings. In the article in question, the reporter assumed a noir-ish narrative voice-of-the-gaze rather than as an unbiased journalistic eye. The consequence was to trivialize the interviewees' humanity and render them crude stock characters in the tradition of true crime novels or as spectacular subcultural delinquents in 1970s style-cultural studies.

The article also failed to question the political, economic, and social conditions and interior, personal choices that create the street as the "stage" by which mostly poor transgender people of color can or "must" live. I understand that the template for the series may not allow for such an in-depth, nuanced portrait, but the ethics of journalistic representation should fall towards carefully chosen words and balanced reportage, especially with such historically disenfranchised and still vulnerable people.

The second to last graf, about property values and implication the lives of these folks may be cultural value or entertainment for those who own in the West Village, deserves a closer look as well. In addition to the glib nature of the statement, it stands in opposition to the ongoing struggles that participants in the civic culture of the streets have faced from New York City's so-called "quality of life" policing, which serves the interest of wealthy private property owners to the incredible detriment of New York City's "historically" vibrant street. Certainly a discussion, however brief, of how this affects the quality of summer nights would be a worthy part of your ongoing series.

I encourage you as editors to assign follow up articles and to make a marked effort to report and write features on New York City's large transgender population, not just from a political perspective but from an enlightened cultural perspective as well. Our city is booming with folks from the streets and middle class alike who make amazing music, art, theater, and other culture, and their works deserve media attention not just from hometown papers but as an empathy-inducing reality check in the national spotlight as transpeople continue to be humiliated or dehumanized due to the raging war on women and homosexuality in this country.

I look forward to that coverage!

All the best,
Daphne Carr


PS: I got your contacts from this website: http://wildgender.com/trans-people-allies-demand-change-new-york-times/3116

PPS: This email is shared with you under Creative Commons license CC: BY SA ND. A duplicate of the email will be reproduced at my url, http://funboring.com/themusicissue/