Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Media…

When the media covers us we just never know what is going to come out of the mill. The press when we are doing an interview tell us that we have no right to determine content of an article. They want us to blindly talk them and answer their questions without any idea of the focus of the article. Will they rake us over the coals or will it be a puff piece about us, we have to just go on faith.
National News Networks Are Failing The Transgender Community
New Report Raises Concerns About Cable, Broadcast Coverage Of Transgender Issues
Media Matters
By Carlos Maza & Rachel Percelay
April 8, 2015

Which Transgender Stories Are Newsworthy?
When networks did discuss transgender stories, coverage was largely focused on the unusual circumstances of high-profile transgender individuals, rather than the shared experiences of the transgender community. Though CNN spent forty-six minutes discussing transgender issues, for example, over 80% coverage was centered on TV personality Bruce Jenner's transition.
While a few news hosts, including MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry and CNN's Don Lemon, used these stories as opportunities to talk about broader issues affecting the transgender community, the norm was overwhelmingly in favor of focusing on the particularities of already sensationalized news events.

This kind of sensationalized focus on trans issues is both misleading and disempowering. In a March 2015 study of transgender representation in the media for the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, Jamie Colette Capuzza wrote:
[T]ransgender people are largely "symbolically annihilated" by the mainstream news industry. Such invisibility makes this population more vulnerable to the power of other types of media images. Consumers may encounter transgender people more often than in the past, but these images lay primarily within entertainment media; even within the news genre, transgender people are featured more often in entertainment, arts, sports, and lifestyle sections. Audiences learn that transgender people are sources of entertainment more than they learn that transgender people face consequential and newsworthy obstacles as a community. [emphasis added [by the article]]
The media's focus on stories like Jenner's can't be blamed on the lack of substantive trans-releated news events.

During the first two months of 2015, seven transgender women of color were murdered in the United States, in what the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs called "an alarming epidemic of violence against LGBTQ communities, and particularly against transgender women of color."
So this lead up to an email that I received the other day from a television show producer, she asked me to be on their morning news show to talk about the conference that the non-profit that I am a member of is having on April 25 and about Bruce Jenner.

In my reply I wrote,
We each transition in our own way and I am not comfortable talking about another person's journey. We follow our own path, there is no right or wrong way to transition and I feel uncomfortable discussing another person's transition.
From our emails I got the feeling that our conference would be a secondary topic and the main focus of the interview would by Bruce Jenner.

I do not know if they got someone else or that they still will want to have me on their show. But I am worried that the interview will be just like what the Media Matters is talking about.

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