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Activists hope to increase media coverage to stop rising anti-trans violence

Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 20:01:11-04

MILWAUKEE — Unfortunately, 2021 was the deadliest year for transgender people in the United States with 57 murders, according to the Human Rights Campaign. This is an increase from 44 from the year before. Furthermore, the majority of the victims were transgender folks of color. As violence goes up, news coverage of this issue is still low.

According to Media Matters, a not-for-profit organization that combats misinformation, anti-trans violence receives minimal amounts of news coverage.

"Despite rising level of violence against the LGBTQ community and specifically trans women, cable and broadcast T.V. networks failed to adequately report on the anti-trans violence. Our study found that the topic received just 19 segments for just 43 total minutes of coverage," Ari Drenner, the LGBTQ Program Coordinator at Media Matters, said.

The outlets reviewed were national news organizations including: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

This has been an ongoing issue - both in terms of rising violence and lack of media coverage - as transgender people are part of one of the most vulnerable communities when it comes to violence against those in LGBTQ+ community.

Some hope that with more coverage of anti-trans violence, awareness can be raised about the issue and hopefully stop the issue. However, it's not just about more coverage. There needs to be accurate coverage too.

"One, we are misrepresented in media in general. Two, is because lately what we see in the media is often inaccurate, and what I mean by that is it is not enough time being spent, and or the folks that they are covering are being mis-gendered, mis-pronounced, dead names are being used," trans activist Dezjorn Gauthier said.

As a Black trans man, he feels like his community doesn't get enough representation. Plus, of the coverage that he sees by local and national news, the people being spoken to don't actually represent the trans community.

"When they have someone speaking about media representation or the lack of representation, they do not have a trans person speaking," Gauthier said.

That's an issue when trying to raise awareness, especially for how strong a pervasive a platform like national and local news is.

"What people see on news, and especially television news in America, informs a lot about how people perceive the world around them," Shelley Gregory, a strategic project coordinator at Forge, said.

Forge is an organization that focuses on supporting the trans community. Gregory identifies as a transgender person.

"It's important so that the larger community has an understanding of who your trans neighbors are. There are trans people every where and in every walk of life and in every profession and we exist everywhere," Gregory said.

Part of the idea about increasing coverage of anti-trans violence is that when people see the issue and learn about the victims, it will hopefully deter future violence, and familiarize people with the trans community.

"What many people, trans people, are looking for an desperately need is simply to be affirmed in their identity," Gregory said.

Here is a list of some resources for those in the LGBTQ+ community that may be helpful: Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center, Forge, Diverse and Resilient, Pathfinders, and Courage MKE.

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