CBS Chicago Reports Murder Of “Male To Female Transgender Person”

We’ve taken flack for tossing around the “T” word, but it was in a satirical post illuminating how the mainstream media can sensationalize members of the trans community. We’d expect a major network news affiliate to be a little more tactful: In a headline that ran on its website yesterday, CBS 2 in Chicago exclaimed “Male-To-Female Transgender Person Found Shot To Death In West Garfield Park.”

Reporting on a woman found shot in the head in an alley, the piece repeats the the term “male-to-female transgender person” twice in a 95-word story. It also refer to her as “the body” and “the victim” but never use female pronouns. (It’s a transcription of a radio item by WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller, but it’s unclear who wrote the original text.)

We suppose in the grand scheme of things using clinical, dehumanizing language like this isn’t that big a deal:  There was a time not long ago when much crasser language would’ve been used—if, in fact, this crime would have been reported on at all. And, sure, Queerty is hardly a bastion of political correctness—but when when someone’s life is brutally snuffed out, is it so hard to give her the final dignity of using her stated gender identity?

Especially considering she may very well have been killed because of it.


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  • Sozo

    Another day, another crime against the second class citizens known as our LGBT community.

  • Clockwork

    In these cases, there may not be a lot to go on with identity. Identification found
    on the body may be male. The person may not even consider themselves female outside
    of a limited time of presentation.

    Seriously, we don’t know the extent of this individuals legal gender.
    I would prefer facts are reported in a way that will help solve a crime. If a murder victim is known as a male to some folks and also has a female name/reputation, than
    report that as well.

  • Jack

    “The victim” and “the body” are typical terminology for a short report. Anyone who watches the news knows this. Then there are Clockwork’s good points as well. The news story here is what Sozo said, not the terms in the report.

  • Samantha

    I’d like to add what the AP Style guide states. That’s the handbook for all journalists.

    Under transgender it states, “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. See transsexual.”

    Under transsexual it states, “A person who changes gender by undergoing surgical procedures. See transgender.”

  • jacknasty

    um this is sort of just how police blotter works

  • Feinstein

    I see nothing offensive whatsoever in that headline.

  • InscrutableTed

    @Super Repus: Sure. I also like to run up to adopted children and say “That person’s not really your mommy or daddy, and never will be”.

  • Kev C

    I think the police called him a transgender by accident or as a joke. He’s apparently a man, perhaps a gay man.

  • Crash2Parties

    “We’d expect a major network news affiliate to be a little more tactful:”

    I’d expect a minor website with “Queer” in the name to be more respectful than a major news outlet. You know, the whole “common enemy” and, “what’s more queer than genderqueer”.

    B’sides, don’t underestimate yourselves, that wasn’t your only trans* screwup. You guys kinda have a reputation for that sort of thing…

  • Jase

    omg, boo fucking hoo. this age of hypersensitivity to virtually every single word is getting ridiculous

  • Jon

    @Jase: I agree.

Comments are closed.