Thursday, October 14, 2010

for the benefit of humanity

Here is a letter that I sent to the author of this article
that I read this morning via my friend @grammercie's blog.

I am not nearly an expert on trans issues, but I am learning and growing, I hope, and I was encouraged by Katie to write to the author of the article, and so I did. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Ms. Farrs,

I am writing to express my frustration over the language you chose to use in your article reporting on the body of Stacy Blahnik that was discovered yesterday. The way that you reported on the death of this young woman was scandalous and as though it was nothing more than tabloid fodder. Would you have reported in the same way if you were covering the death of someone's grandmother, or someone's beautiful young son?

Why would you choose to report the death of a HUMAN BEING in the way that you did, as though she was a freak, or an animal of some sort? The quotes you chose to include were offensive and salacious, and had nothing to do with the fact that a person had died.

"Two male neighbors, interviewed separately yesterday, said they would often see strange, white men in nice cars coming and going from the house during the day, when Stacey's boyfriend was at work." -- What does this have to do with anything? This seems to be a blatant case of "blaming the victim" before due process has been followed and an investigation completed.

"One of those men, who asked not to be identified, said "Stacey" was beautiful and could pass for a woman. "She was pretty, but if you didn't know what time it was, you wouldn't know what she was," he said. "She was built . . . and she drew attention from men just walking down the street." -- What does this have to do with anything? Why would you choose to reprint a man saying "you wouldn't know what she was," as though she is anything less than a fully human being?

"She had a body way better than mine, so much so she gave me a complex," Darlene said. -- This has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Why would you add fuel to the fire of speculation about trans individuals by including a quote like this?

"Whatever she was - transvestite, man, woman - she didn't deserve to die like that," one man said. -- Why would you end the article in this way? You may think that you were being poignant, or sweet in your ending, but this is horrible. Why would you quote an unnamed man, again speculating about "what she was" -- to close an article about a horrific death?

I know way less about trans individuals than some of my friends and colleagues, but as a minister in the United Church of Christ, where all are welcome, I find your article offensive and very rude in the reporting of a death of a fully human, beloved-of-God human being. I hope that you have learned something from the responses I know you have received to your article, and I hope that you will publish anything, whether an editorial, or an educational piece, that will help to make up for the disgusting way you have reported the death of this young woman. It was HER life, it was HER choice to live in the way that felt most comfortable in her skin, to be whomever she felt God had created her to be, whether or not that was a "man" or a "woman" the way society sees it. You have done the public, and the LGBTQ community, a great disservice in the way you reported this article, and I hope you will retract your statements.


Drew Tatusko said...

Well said!

Songbird said...

Preach it, sister.