Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bad Herald, Bad!

Talk about a nasty article!

The headline:
Undercover ‘john’ takes on trannies, pimps

As sensationalist as anyone would expect, coming from the Herald, but a very poor use of words. Not only do they seek to dehumanize people who are transgender or transexual, but they can't even get their terms right. "Trannies," as the paper calls it, or transvestites, aren't transexual. It's two completely different things. But who would expect the Tabloid journalism of the Herald to get that right - or to even fix it, when experts write and call them to correct it.

From the Masssachusetts Transgender Political Coalition:
On July 7, the paper posted an article online about a police operation headlined "Undercover 'john' takes on trannies, pimps" and focused on a Boston-area detective who goes undercover to arrest sex workers. The article repeatedly referred to transgender women as "trannies" and opened the story by describing how the detective has been "trapped inside houses of ill repute by giant naked trannies." The article was also published in the July 8 print edition.

This article repeatedly uses anti-transgender slurs and fails to treat its subjects with basic human decency. These sorts of slurs should be unacceptable in any credible news outlet to publish as quoted matter, much less in a staff writer's article. GLAAD and MTPC separately contacted the Boston Herald reporter, Jessica Van Sack, to ask her to remove the defamatory terminology and descriptions from the article and to offer suggestions and recommendations on how to cover transgender people fairly. The reporter did not respond to calls or emails. GLAAD and MTPC are encouraging people to contact the paper and let them know that this cheap, tabloid sensationalism is unacceptable.
In society, people who are transgender often face particular danger, even far than people who are gay and lesbian. They are very frequently persecuted against on the streets, finding housing and gaining employment. Sadly, the latter two are still legal - even in Massachusetts - until HB 1722 passes.

The group asks people to contact the Herald and its reporter, Jessica Van Sack, so they'll update the story and stop dehumanizing transgender people - or at least get their terms right. Here's a list of people they're asking everyone to contact in order to get the Herald to fix this story:
Boston Herald Contacts:
Jessica Van Sack
City Reporter
(617) 619-6437

Joe Dwinell
City Executive Co-Editor
(617) 619-6177

Kevin Convey
Editor in Chief
(617) 619-6403

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