On Tuesday the local news in New York was blanketed with coverage of a shocking helicopter crash into the East River. Surfing from channel to channel, you heard how British tourist Sonia Marra Nicholson, the lone fatality, was visiting the city for her 40th birthday.
You heard from aviation experts on how such an accident was an act of fate, not pilot error. You heard from local politicians about how in light of this and other similar incidents, helicopter regulations need to be tightened.
What you might have missed was that Nicholson was a lesbian and that among the people pulled from the copter and rushed to the hospital in critical condition was her partner, Helen Tamaki.
It was a gruesome tragedy: The group, visiting from Sydney, had chartered a private sightseeing tour but the copter sputtered and crashed into the river shortly after takeoff. While Tamaki, Nicholson’s mother and stepfather, and the copter’s pilot were all successfully rescued, Nicholson drowned. Her body remained trapped in the helicopter’s back seat for almost two hours after it sunk into the river.
We can’t imagine the devastation Tamaki and Nicholson’s parents are feeling, and our hearts go out to them. But at least we’ve reached a point where the news includes a victim’s orientation as innocuously as they would her age or country of origin. Even if the local Fox affiliate called Tamaki Nicholson’s “life partner and roommate.”
Insult to injury or a step in the right direction?
I don’t really see what this woman being lesbian had to do with anything. :/ At some point a person’s orientation should *not* be part of the news.
That’s what inclusion really means. That we’re not different than anyone else, and that our sexuality is not “newsworthy” in and of itself.
While her sexuality should not be made an issue, the “life partner” (not the “roommate” part) reference was appropriate, if that is the label which best describes the relationship. When all is said and done, it humanizes the woman and her relationship in the minds of some in a way, that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. But, does Queerty need to be pointing it out? I say, “Yes, they do,” until they don’t have to anymore.
I am glad this was pointed out because on all the news I’ve heard about this horrible incident the remaining people were described only as ‘the survivors’ with no mention of them being a couple. I think the point is the lack of exposure of these two ladies being a couple. If this had been a husband and wife those 2 words would definitely have been mentioned by now.
You know that Sydney is in Australia right? Not Britain.
I think it’s relevant.
If it were a man and woman, you’d assume they were married and feel sad for the loss that the family experienced. In this case, this family experienced the same type of loss and their lives shouldn’t be demoted to “friends” travelling abroad who had an accident.
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