NJ Police FB post misgendering and dead naming endangers trans woman’s life

New Jersey State Police

Transgender woman Cyndi Kirke outing, misgendering and dead naming by the New Jersey Police on Facebook has resulted in her car being vandalized with transphobic slurs and endangered her life. The language used by the NJ state police in the first facebook post and the second after Kirke turned herself in was quickly picked up by mimicked by NJ.com and other media outlets who have called her “a man who has a penchant for cross-dressing”.

NJ State Police Transphobia

NJ State Police Transphobia

New Jersey State Police Transphobia

The police haven’t moderated comments, in fact, appear to encourage the public to respond this way.

The New Jersey Police are encouraging hate crimes against transgender people by posting her picture in this way and BY ALLOWING the hateful comments to remain on the posting.

The NJ State Police media and communications office wasn’t answering their phones at press time.

The New Jersey State Police have marginalized and endangered every trans person nationwide. An example of the highly transphobic reporting can be found at NJ.Com, normally a respectful media outlet.

Source NJ.com” A man who was wanted on a theft charge told authorities he felt the “pressure” to turn himself in after his photo, alleged crime, his tendency to dress as a woman and use a female alias were released on the State Police’s Facebook page.

Michael Mathews, 46, of Sparta, turned himself in at the State Police station in Sussex on Friday, according to the State Police.

Mathews, who is known to dress as a woman and use the alias Cyndi Kirk, was wanted for allegedly selling a fraudulent vehicle warranty worth more than $4,500 to a Sussex Borough man in January 2013.

According to a Garden State Equality press release Cyndi Kirke is her legal name.

Garden State Equality press release:

Garden State Equality was outraged by the recent conduct of the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Herald and NJ.com which has resulted in a bias crime being committed against a transgender woman. Cyndi Kirke recently found her vehicle defaced with death threats and homophobic slurs after State Police and local media outed her as transgender.

At a time when transgender women are facing what has been called an epidemic of violence, the New Jersey State Police, The New Jersey Herald, and Nj.com outed Kirke as transgender, and reinforced negative stereotypes about transgender people.

“Transgender people, face shockingly high levels of violence and discrimination,” said Aaron Potenza, an activist and the Director of Programs and Policy at Garden State Equality. “Tragically, many transgender people have been revictimized by law enforcement, and nearly half of transgender people say they are uncomfortable turning to police for help. The media has come under fire for focusing disproportionately on criminal cases, and misgendering transgender people by referring to them by the wrong pronouns and names. Unfortunately, Kirke’s case follows this all too frequent pattern.”

On October 2nd, the New Jersey State Police authored a Facebook post titled “Man Wanted for Theft by Deception.” The post, which was accompanied by a photo of Kirke, was supposedly meant to aid police in locating her, and asked readers to “please share.” The Facebook post referred to Kirke by her former name and male pronouns exclusively, while her legal name, Cyndi Kirke, was called an alias. The police outed Kirke as transgender, noting, “he is also known to dress as a female and use the alias Cyndi Kirk [sic.].” Three days later the State Police reposted the same statement and photograph, this time with the caption “Man Wanted for Theft and Deception Surrenders After Pressure from Social Media.” While the original post has been removed, the second post remains on Facebook, where well over half of the comments are transphobic remarks about Kirke’s gender identity and expression.

The New Jersey Herald and Nj.com published online articles that echoed the transphobia of the State Police Facebook posts. Both news outlets identified Kirke as a man, referred to her exclusively with male pronouns, and as a man “dressing as a female”, and printed an accompanying photograph. NJ.com titled their essay “Cross-dressing Man Says Social Media Forced His Surrender.”

“It is outrageous,” said Potenza, “that in this state the police and media would behave in this fashion. Based on information provided to Garden State Equality, a simple investigation would have revealed that Ms. Kirke is transgender and, legally changed her name along with other appropriate legal steps as part of her transition. Unfortunately, the manner in which this situation was handled, and the resulting hate filled venom proves there is still a great deal of bias and prejudice against transgender individuals in New Jersey. There is still a lot more work to be done.”

Garden State Equality calls on the New Jersey State Police to take the bias crime against Ms. Kirke seriously, and to conduct a full investigation. We further call on the New Jersey Herald and NJ.com to print retractions of their articles. We are also reaching out to the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Herald, and NJ.com to demand that they should take steps to become educated on gender identity issues and curtail this type of discriminatory behavior.

Editor in Chief at | Website

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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