Huffpost Gay Voices

Los Angeles Times' Transgender Prostitution Article Prompts Petition From Community

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LA TIMES
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Transgender advocacy group Gender Justice LA recently delivered a petition to The Los Angeles Times following the publication of a controversial Feb. 4 article titled “Slaying casts light on Hollywood’s transgender prostitutes,” reports GLAAD.

Last week, the organization delivered the petition, initiated by activist Hannah Howard, to the Times offices, requesting that the publication use more awareness and delicacy when reporting on transgender citizens and their issues.

“The use of male pronouns, birth names, and terms like ‘men with women’s breasts and clothes’ to refer to transgender women brings up painful memories for many of us in the transgender community," the petition reads. "Throughout our lives, people refuse to acknowledge our gender identities, use our birth names and genders to refer to us against our will, and respond with varying degrees of harassment and violence when we protest.”

In response, Times' officials have agreed to meet with GLAAD and members of Los Angeles' transgender community to discuss the issues surrounding the cryptic story, a report on the recent death of Cassidy Vickers.

A sample line from the article, which can be found here, reads, "Nevertheless, Thompson dressed her son's body in a man's suit -- burgundy, his favorite color. His face, bewhiskered for years, was clean-shaven -- the way he kept it as a woman when he died."

The petition, which has so far includes almost 400 signatures, also stated, “Given the tragedy of Vickers’ story, Vickers deserves more than this extremely sloppy account of their life. Moreover, transgender sex workers in general deserve a more dignified telling of their story that doesn’t refer to them constantly with degrading terms like ‘prostitutes,’ and ‘street walkers.’”

In regards to the media’s portrayal of transgender women, there isn’t much fair and balanced coverage.

Transgender actress, producer and rights advocate Laverne Cox told HuffPost Gay Voices that she feels transgender women are always portrayed as "hookers."

“When I did 'I Want To Work For Diddy,' countless numbers of trans women of color were writing me and telling me that they’ve never seen a black professional trans woman of color on TV before,” she said.

Also on HuffPost:

15 Things To Know About Being Transgender By Nicholas M. Teich
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