Crass media use Jenner angle in Fresno murder reports

I suppose some might say all the media focus on Caitlyn Jenner is good for transgender people, though I have heard some grumblings from trans people that it is actually serving to fuel transphobia. They point to reader comment sections of news articles about Jenner, and the hundreds of transphobic comments appearing there.

But make no mistake about it: the media are cashing in big time on the Caitlyn Jenner story, looking to get her name in headlines at every opportunity no matter whether her actions are newsworthy or not.

Consider the headlines over nine articles about the murder last week of Kenton Haggard in Fresno, California, believed to be a transgender woman. One headline, over The Guardian article, says “Transgender murder in California leaves community fearful and angry.” Another headline, over a Washington Post article, asks “Was the victim in brutal Fresno killing a transgender woman?”

The other seven articles — some in reputable mainstream publications — all take the Caitlyn Jenner approach, mentioning how she “mourns the murders” of Kenton and another woman in Florida, India Clarke, a couple of days earlier. And how she “pays tribute to them” in her blog. And how she “shares a heartfelt message” about them . . . and yadda yadda yadda.

I’m not blaming Caitlyn for the way the media are playing this story. Caitlyn has done what many other trans people are doing: expressed her horror and sadness in her blog over yet more violent crimes against transgender people. But the aforementioned seven media outlets should be ashamed for capitalizing on Caitlyn Jenner’s name in this case.

The trans community is more than Caitlyn Jenner, and as The Guardian points out, trans people in Fresno are on “high alert” now. The killer hasn’t been caught, and the case has yet to be called a hate crime. Many trans people are afraid to venture out of their homes at night.

That’s the real story here, along with the fact two families are mourning the deaths of two people.

— Jillian Page, LGBT Perspectives editor

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“Let harmlessnes be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey

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