Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New York: The City Where Transphobia Never Sleeps

Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar was a 29-year old trans woman who was found murdered by stabbing in her apartment in Queens, NY yesterday. Her apartment had been ransacked and much of her possessions destroyed. Every two days, a trans woman is murdered somewhere in the world.

How did New York Media report on this horrific murder? It universally referred to her in their stories by her assigned male birth name. Many of the stories used male pronouns even though they knew she was trans. The police initially identified her as a murdered woman only to amend that statement with the information she was "a man."

WABC-TV news literally had filmed a news report on her using female nouns only to air a version where the reporter told about the updated police report and referred to Ms. Gonzalez-Andujar as "a man." So the beginning of the story explained how "he is a man" while the bulk of the story referred to her with female pronouns. Yes, news people are THIS stupid and unaware when it comes to trans people. And again, this wasn't in Idaho, this wasn't in Mississippi, this was in New York City. Remember, the place which claims to be the media capital of the United States.

And how about the newspaper which has "all the news that's fit to print" the New York Times. Well, their story also listed her in the headline as,

Man, 29, Found Stabbed to Death at Home in Queens

nor did they have literally any mention of who she was or her identity as a woman. In other words, this is not reporting, it's reproducing police blotters in as literal a way as possible.

Amanda's family wailing with grief as her body was
placed into the police van

Needless to say, Ms. Gonzales-Andujar's family is grieving the loss of a child and a daughter, not a tranny. Her death is not a reason for entertainment, nor humor, nor camp, nor posters with trans women licking blood off a knife. It does not warrant "transploitation." Just know that while some of you are waiting to be first in line to be entertained by "Ticked Off Trannies With Knives" at the Tribeca Film Festival, somewhere else in New York a family and a dead woman's friends have had their hearts torn out.

And New York, NY media, you are so "bottom of the heap" and "little town."


  1. My heart goes out to her family both of birth and those she collected over time. Loved ones are left behind to deal with the tragedy of her death and it is so sad. After all the education about proper pronoun use for Transgender people in the media, it's hard to see such a major FAIL from big city media

  2. allthecolors:

    At the very least, GLAAD got the Daily News to change their article.

    You kind of wonder how many more years it will take to get media sources to just be respectful and consistent? It's really not that hard.

  3. Another gender corrected blog, this time from the NY Times blog... which DOESN'T make up for their previous lazy reporting:

    They are reporting Ms. Gonzalez-Andujar died from strangulation. :-(

  4. This is disappointing, yet certainly not surprising. "The media" is certainly no guild of professionals with lofty goals - maybe it never was. They're hyper competitive people vying for public attention. The fact that they get it by "punching up" a story to make it more "sensational" by stretching & twisting the facts as much as they can without getting into legal trouble is certainly not news.
    As long as people hunger for exploitative news or junkfood, or anything else that's really not in their best interest - or anyone's - there will always be an army of amoral folks competing to fill that market niche. sigh.
    Still, what can you do? Fights like this must continue to be fought. Failure isn't when you don't succeed - failure is when you stop even trying.

  5. @Heathercam: The media has always been a mixed bag. I think much of what happened here is under the category of extreme laziness, perhaps not evil intent? (but you be the judge) Whenever the police versions of the world are reported with no secondary evaluation or added perspective, you're likely to get disrespected communities. The problem comes when this is systemic and the news picks up "coding" and "shorthand" about people's identities (eg. young black men... drug dealers, young trans women... hookers). Once this coding is established among the ranks of news professionals, you basically end up with cartoons, not journalism and are no longer dealing with people but stereotypes.

  6. Hi Gina, greetings.

    Thank you for posting and special thanks for bringing up the fact that we are still disrespected, even after death.
    I do not think that it is too much to ask that our identification of gender be respected, it may be as a simple courtesy to say "While I disagree with your gender identification, however, I do respect your feelings and choice to accept them and live as you say it is your nature" But no, they disagree and act according to their beliefs projecting and applying them to us.

    I am also a Transgender Woman who lives in SF as well, Mission District, I also try to write about different issues, specially about matters of concern about us, Transgender folk - This is a Diary I posted 4 years ago on the issue of pronoun usage in the media - The article, with the same name on which I based my post, was written by my Gay Brother Patrick Letelier.
    "Beyond He and She: A Transgender News Update"
    Well, keep up the good fight dear sister.

    Sending you loving hugs, your sister

    Aurora Grajeda
    PS: I get your feed.

  7. There is a possible break in this case. A suspect has been arrested!


Any posts found to contain transphobic, homophobic, racist or sexist content will be deleted. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.