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Panel Aims to Educate Media on Trans Terminology

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An old photograph used in a newspaper or local nightly TV newscast might be flattering for some people. But for a transgender individual, it can be harmful and disrespectful.

“[When it comes to a male to female transgender individual] they may refer to her as male or they may publish an old photo that may not represent her identity. It’s antiquated, it’s harmful, it’s disrespectful,” said Emery Grant, a transgender man and director of programming and education at the Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Fort Lauderdale. “Many transgender lives are taken by violence. It’s not uncommon for these individuals to be misgendered in their local newspapers.”

To educate members of the media on the correct use of language and terminology when reporting on issues that involve the transgender community, Stonewall and The Society of Professional Journalists Florida will host “The Transgender Community and the Media,” a panel discussion at Stonewall’s Wilton Manors Gallery, 2157 Wilton Drive, on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.

Grant is one of the panelists. The others are SunServe case manager Tiffany Arieagus and transgender activist Rajee Narinesingh. The moderator will be Brendon Lies, a transgender man, SPJ Florida secretary, and South Florida Gay News art director. The panel was conceived by Lies.

“I’ve been interviewed as a trans person, as well as interviewed others who are trans, and both times I’ve experienced a lack of comfort and mutual understanding. My goal with this panel is to destigmatize the relationship between journalists and trans people, who both seek a world of justice and equality. Trans people need their voices heard, and journalists are the ones holding the microphone.”

Christiana Lilly, president of SPJ Florida and freelance writer for South Florida Gay News, said the panel is needed because of the increase of transgender actors and actresses in Hollywood, the military ban on transgender individuals announced by President Donald Trump, and other issues.

She said she sees a lot of reporters who aren’t familiar with the correct use of language.

“I see ‘transgenders’ and ‘transgendered’ all the time . . . We’re just trying to have an open conversation and let people learn from each other.”

The event is free but a donation of $5 is suggested.

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