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A Different Take On The Transgender Breakout Session

How often does one get to be extremely offended and angered by reporting of an LGBT writer who visits an intimate trans space? That was me today, knowing I’d sat in a room with a clueless LGBT new media reporter this past Saturday at the Equality Summit‘s Transgender breakout session.

This excerpt below is from a piece is from the other new media reporter who went to the transgender breakout session — she produced a piece for LA.MetBlogs:

I went to the tranny session and out of all the minorities struggling to find their voice in the LGBTI movement, none is between a bigger rock and a harder place than trannies.  Generally considered a liability – as in, “You Buffalo Bills and walking Thai surgery centers represent that slippery slope argument they keep talking about”  – trannies are the black sheep of the LGBTI family.  My group was stymied as to how to make their social and political challenges relevant to the movement without alienating the public and indirectly hurting the gay community as a whole.  What I took away from this was: that’s how non-white gays and lesbians used to, and still do, feel!

I left a comment on the blog:

I’m Autumn Sandeen, the other new media reporter who attended the Transgender breakout session.

Your coverage of the Transgender breakout session is extremely offensive. To begin with, the word tranny is considered defamatory by GLAAD. Hey, I personally don’t like being called a tranny — you do not have my permission to refer to me as a tranny in the context of discussing trans people discussing transgender people’s civil and marriage rights.

And, referencing to the Silence Of The Lambs‘ serial murderer when referencing the Transgender breakout session/transgender people in that room is just beyond the pale.

If I ever see you in a trans space again, expect me to ask you to leave. You’re no longer welcome.

An LGBT writer who writes about trans people and hasn’t first read the Associated Press Styleguide on the term transgender, GLAAD’s Media Guide’s Transgender Glossary, and the NLGJA Stylebook Supplement on transgender terminology shouldn’t be writing about transgender people. It’s easily knowable that tranny is considered a pejorative, defamatory term by many in the trans subcommunity of the LGBT community.

And, it’s offensive in all circumstances to discuss transgender civil rights issues in the same paragraph where one references Silence Of The Lambs, Dressed To Kill, Psycho, or any other film where a transgender person is depicted as a serial killer. There is no room for discussion on that — the LA.MetBlogs reporter’s reference to a film’s cross-dressing serial killer in the context of trans civil and marriage rights is just beyond the pale.

I feel infuriated — and violated — by that writer’s coverage. How dare she call me and my peers trannies; how dare she reference Buffalo Bill in a paragraph discussing trans civil and marriage rights; how dare she write what she wrote after sharing intimate space with my trans peers and me at the Equality SummitHow dare she!



* Thoughts On The Equality Summit’s Transgender Breakout Session

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen