In seems there has been a recent spate of articles featuring trans folks in positive ways. It’s a really important departure from the past trend of only writing sensationalized articles, or worse, only writing about trans folks when the stories were crime related: murders, sex work, hate crimes. I’ve been happy to see trans stories portrayed in positive light. Or at least in a more neutral light.
The latest is a story in the Chicago Tribune, Finding Their Gender Identities. It tells the story of three trans people, of varying ages, races and genders and how they came to identify the way they do.
By most accounts it’s a great story. Let’s the people featured speak for themselves, doesn’t include sensationalist before and after photos, wasn’t spurred by an incidence of violence.
But one piece tripped me up about the story (progress is slow!), and my friend Vincent Villano who works at the National Center for Transgender Equality pointed it out on twitter:
These stylistic choices by newspapers and journalists might seem small–but it’s important to push for stories that accurately portray the community. Even something as minor as putting trans in quotation marks can encourage othering that just isn’t necessary, especially not in such a positive story about trans people.