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Violence against transgender people

Eric Hamako Berkeley
Wednesday October 23, 2002

To the Editor: 


Thank you for including an article about hate violence against transgender people in the Oct. 21 Daily Planet, “Violence targets transgender community.” As an ally and a human being, I'm concerned and outraged that people (mostly males) continue to assault and murder transgender people. Journalists and editors are often ignorant and insensitive to the concerns and issues of the people and communities upon which they report. I believe this is a product both of the oppressive society in which we live and the prejudices which we all have learned. 

I would like to point out that the Oct. 21 article violated both Associated Press standards for reporting on transgender people and the dignity of the transgender youths who were murdered. The AP Style Guide prescribes that when journalists write about individuals who have had “sex changes” or who are transgender, they should refer to them as the gender which they lived their lives (in Gwen Araujo's case, as “she” and “her”), rather than as the gender which they were assigned by society or at birth. But this is about more than violating a stylistic code. The decision to continually refer to Gwen Araujo as a male denies Gwen's identity as a transgender person and only further confuses readers about transgender issues. 


Eric Hamako