Janet Mock remembers Lorena Escalera at the GLAAD Awards

Last weekend at the GLAAD Awards writer and trans advocate Janet Mock took a few minutes to remember Lorena Escalera, the trans woman who died in a fire recently and then was was the subject of a super problematic New York Times article. Janet also called on the Times to meet with trans advocates after the paper refused to admit they did anything wrong. It’s been almost a week, and the Times still hasn’t responded.

If you’re still as pissed as me that the paper of record thinks transphobic reporting is OK  you can write to them here or tweet @NYTimes or @NYTMetro, the paper’s Metro Desk where the problematic article was first published.

Here’s Janet Mock speaking at the GLAAD Awards:

Transcript from GLAAD after the jump.

A few weeks ago, I read an article in the New York Times about a woman who died in a fire. Her name was Lorena Escalera, and her death was a tragedy. But what shocked me was not the manner of her death, it was how the Times chose to write about Lorena’s life.

The article said she was “curvaceous” and “known to invite men” into her apartment. The reporters wrote that she was quote CALLED Lorena, as if Lorena was not her name.

Lorena was a trans woman – just like myself. And she was stripped of her dignity. I spoke out alongside many other trans women who saw the article as a slap in the face to girls like us everywhere. GLAAD joined us in taking the Times to task, and the paper responded with a rather weak statement.

I’m on this stage tonight because Lorena was more than the demeaning, sexist portrait the Times painted. But until the media treats trans women with respect, society will continue to see us as less-than-human creatures to be gawked at. And because violence against trans women of color is escalating, that shift needs to happen now.

GLAAD has called for a meeting with the Times, and tonight, I’m joining GLAAD in that call. The New York Times needs to set an example, and let readers know that steps are being taken to ensure that an article like the one written about Lorena won’t be printed again.

Lorena was a daughter, a friend, an artist and a role model, and she deserved better.

We all do.

If you see dehumanizing or anti-LGBT stories in the media, take action by speaking up and reporting it at glaad-dot-org-slash-report-defamation. Together, we can hold media accountable when their words and images fail to fully encompass who we really are. Thank you.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ toongrrl

    This is so beautiful. I wonder what Lorena’s family feels about that article?