The CJR headline “How not to report on a transgender victim” is spot on. The Plain Dealer’s articles if let uncontested would have drop kicked journalistic standards on reporting transgender issues back twenty years.
Fox8 certainly jumped on that band wagon quick.
Fox8 in this painful exercise of transphobia revictimized Ce Ce by using male pronouns and her birth name despite being fully aware she was a transgender woman who went by the name Cemia.
However, I will have to come to defense of the Plain Dealer on one count. CJR criticized the Plain Dealer for using a mug shot of Ce Ce. I used the same picture on the planetransgender post “Plain Dealer reports the Murder of a Transgender Woman as A “Brutal Slaying” of a Oddly Dressed Man” because at that moment there were none better of her. I posted her mug shot because I wanted her murderers caught. As bad as that picture was it was all I had. I have since updated that post with a better photo of her.
I’m not implying the Plain Dealer had good intentions posting those mug shots only that they may not have had any options ether. The Plain Dealer has not updated their picture.
The rest of the CJR critique is on target particularly these paragraphs about the last article:
The second story, “Brutal slaying marks the end of Clevelander’s fight for acceptance,” at first seems like it might be better. Except that story, too, starts by identifying her as Carl, which means her fight is far from over. This is ironic, because at the end of the story an italicized note says, “This story has been edited since originally posted to bring it within the style recommended by the Associated Press involving transgender people.” I don’t know what the original said, but I do know what the AP Stylebook says, which is this:
Transgender: Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
Instead, the story drops all pronouns and refers to Cemia as Carl, which seems like a half-hearted effort to be consistent with the AP’s recommendations.
Thankfully these article will not be accepted as status Que. They were mean spirited, hateful, malicious attacks on transgender people. Thank you Columbia Journalism Review for making this clear.