If you’re a regular reader of PerezHilton.com, then you know the site isn’t all fluff (despite what its perennially pink and sparkly design might tell you). Perez also frequently posts items of political interest, particularly stories that wouldn’t get much media play otherwise. One such post grabbed my attention this morning: a little blurb about the murder of a transgendered woman this past Friday up in Syracuse. It’s a short piece, but take a look at how the story’s handled. For example: “Police say DeLee, 20, shot and killed 22-year-old Moses Cannon. Cannon was living as a female, known to family and friends as Latiesha Green.” After that, Green is repeatedly and only referred to as “he.” I think that wording’s pretty indicative of how transgendered people are seen by the wider American public – as “fakes,” or somehow “masquerading” as the other gender. It’s clear from the article and its accompanying pictures that Green was living as a woman, identifying as a woman – and yet even in death, the media takes that away from her, because America isn’t quite ready yet to accept or understand trans people. Thankfully Perez, with millions of daily readers, is bringing some attention to these issues. But if mainstream media representations continue to depict trans men and women as oddities, how will that perception ever change?
Just some food for thought. It’s amazing what a little language can do.