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Thu Jul 23, 2015, 09:45 AM

We're Failing Trans Women of Color

For the 10 transgender women who have been murdered in the U.S. this year, not even death can bring an end to disrespect.

On Tuesday morning, India Clarke, a 25-year-old black transgender woman and cosmetology student, was found lying on the ground near basketball courts at a community center in Tampa, Florida. Homicide detectives confirmed that she had been beaten to death.

But when local TV station Bay News 9 reported on the murder, they didn’t call her India.

They introduced her as “Samuel Elija Clarke, also known as India,” and only then used her chosen name. And instead of referring to India using female pronouns, they published a clunky piece of copy that fastidiously and obviously avoids the use of pronouns altogether: “violence to the upper body” and not “violence to her upper body,” for example.

It’s a pattern that has been tragically repeated too many times in 2015: A transgender woman, most often a transgender woman of color, is found murdered but the media still fails to respect her identity.


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