Don’t forget the ‘T’ in GLBT stories

Harassment coverage often forgets the transgender community.

by Melanie Williams, MPIRG co-chairwoman

I was happy to see the story “Out in public: âÄòClouded by fearâÄô” in the Oct. 17 issue of the Minnesota Daily. I have suffered various kinds of harassment because of my sexual orientation, and I have worried on several occasions for my physical safety.

IâÄôm glad that this story sheds light on these experiences; however, this story completely excluded the mention of the most-at-risk letter in the LGBT acronym. OutFront Minnesota said that in 2009, half of all hate crime against LGBT individuals targeted transgender women.

According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, which surveyed 6,450 transgender people across the U.S., every respondent reported harassment.

While accurate hate crime data is hard to come by, largely because many are afraid to report for fear of police maltreatment or brutality, studies show that transgender people are at an extremely high risk of violence.

This article talked about the assault of gay students, but where was the mention of Chrissie Bates who was murdered in her apartment this year because she was transgender? Where was the mention of CeCe McDonald who was finally released from jail last month after the man who attacked her with a broken bottle was killed? WhereâÄôs the mention of my partner, a transgender alumna of the University of Minnesota, who has repeatedly faced transphobic discrimination, harassment and assault?

For that matter, where is the representation of any of the UniversityâÄôs transgender students? The media has continually excluded these stories and voices and have thereby aided in the marginalization of the transgender community.

Most hate crime is perpetrated out of ignorance. Without visibility in the media, education is stifled and that ignorance breeds. I implore you not to forget the “T” next time you publish a story about an LGBT issue.