A young transgender woman named Lucia Anderson, 22 years old, died last month after taking her own life. It is only now that the news of her death has hit the media, after her mother spoke out about the incident.
Lucia, who had only recently come out as transgender and expressed the wish to transition to female, was the victim of bullying and hate on line and at school, and took her own life with the use of a seed from a Pong Pong tree.
Lucia’s mother found her daughter laying on the bathroom floor after being sick for hours. Lucia was struggling for breath and told her mother that she couldn’t feel her heart. She eventually revealed to her mother that she had taken a Pong Pong seed. She was rushed to hospital but later died.
The Pong Pong plant seeds, which can be purchased on line for less that $5 contains a powerful toxin that blocks the calcium ion channels in the heart muscles, causing disruptions in the heartbeat with fatal results.
Natosha Anderson, Lucia’s mother, spoke about the incident (using male pronouns to describe her daughter) ‘I’m pretty sure he thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn’t. He died in pain. It was slow, and it was painful.’
The tragedy of Lucia’s death has been added to as a large number of media outlets have reported on the incident referring to her as male and using her deadname. Making this another in a long line of incidents where transgender people are disrespected and have their identities denied by the media.
It’s very likely that Lucia took her own life because of bullying and harassment aimed at her because she was transgender, at the very least it cannot be completely ruled out. When someone has suffered through bullying and harassment to the point that they take their own life to end it and the media continues the abuse after their death by disrespecting their gender and their identity it’s heartbreaking.
Yes, Lucia’s mother referred to her daughter using male pronouns but that does not mean the media should not respect her identity. My parents still sometimes accidentally use the wrong name or pronouns, this doesn’t mean that they deny my identity or that I am trans, but comes from a place of being so used to saying something else. If Natosha says her daughter was trans, but accidentally calls her ‘he’ it’s not reason enough for the media to report on her death as a male.
Far too often the media misrepresents or falsely reports on trans people to the point where trans identities are forgotten or even disrespected. Media influences the way people think, and news reports play a large part in that, as such they have the responsibility to report the truth rather than what they feel comfortable reporting.
The loss of Lucia Anderson is a tragedy, the media reporting her death as a male is a crime.