The Media Must Do Better: Reporting the Deaths of Transgender People

Apicha Community Health Center Mar 14, 2017  



Last year we mourned the lives of the many transgender people that were lost to brutal acts of violence. In 2017, we continue to confront these tragedies and try to figure out how we can fight against these painful and devastating acts of violence. We know that at least seven transgender women, all of whom are transgender women of color, have been killed. Lives continue to be lost to anti-trans violence and hatred. We must honor the lives lost and fight tirelessly to protect the precious lives of the transgender and gender non-conforming people that light up this world. 

 Say Her Name 

These are the transgender people killed in 2017 -- all of whom are transgender women of color:

  • Jaquarrius Holland killed on February 19 in Monroe, Louisiana (identified as transgender on February 28). She was 18 years old.
  • Ciara McElveen killed on February 27 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 21 years old. 
  • Chyna Gibson killed on February 25 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 31 years old. 
  • Keke Collier killed on February 21 in Englewood, Chicago. She was 24 years old. 
  • JoJo Striker killed on February 8 in Toledo, Ohio. She was 23 years old. 
  • Mesha Caldwell killed on January 4 in Canton, Mississippi. She was 41 years old. 
  • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow killed on January 1 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She was 28 years old. 

Source: GLAAD 


                                                  Click here to visit the GLAAD page documenting these incidents  

    The Media Must Do Better

      The Violence Doesn't End  

Looking at the list of the women murdered in 2017, you see that Jaquarrius Holland was not identified as a
transgender woman until February 28th, this also meant that a lot of her friends & family had no idea that she was murdered until 9 days after the day she died.  

Not only does the misgendering of this woman further marginalize and violence her, but it also creates an even more confusing, painful and devastating experience for her friends, family and community members. One of her friends posted and talked about this: 


Justice for Jaquarrius begins with honoring her identity, her experience and her life.

Rest in Power and Peace


Click here to read the MIC article 


The Violence Continues 

TVRG Header_5.jpgAs the reports of these murders become public  with media coverage, we bare witness to a process that is violencing these people even more: the media's coverage of their murders.  

It's something that we must talk about and be diligent about fighting against. The lives that are lost cannot be further invisiblized or disrespected by the media. Dismantling and challenging these system of transphobia, racism and bigotry has a lot to do with confronting the media, because that is how the public is informed of these incidents and how they come to learn about the extreme violence  against transgender people. 

GLAAD has provided really powerful resources addressing these issues and working towards more dignified, respectful and humane coverage of these anti-trans hate crimes. They have laid out some of the most pressing issues when it comes to the media's coverage: 

  • Report on the brutal violence perpetrated against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, national media coverage is severely lacking. The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack. In order for people to be aware of the horrific violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people. (GLAAD
  • Respect and use the lived identity, name, and pronoun of the victim. Report on each victim with dignity and respect, portraying them as a person, not just a statistic. Disregarding the victim's gender identity and misgendering them in news reports adds further insult to injury, compounding the tragedy by invalidating who the victims were. GLAAD's Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime offers clear guidelines for reporting respectfully on stories where transgender people have been victimized by crime. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide also offers a glossary of terms, and best practices for fairly and accurately covering transgender stories. (GLAAD)

Important Resources:  

GLAAD Glossary of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Sensitive Language

The National Center for Transgender Equality Responding to Hate Crimes Community Manual  

The National Center for Transgender Equality Know Your Rights Resource 

Transgender Day of Remembrance Event Locator  


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