US media watchdog says coverage of murder of trans woman in Philadelphia was 'sensationalized and inaccurately reported'
US media watchdog GLAAD has spoken out at the ‘sensationalized and inaccurate’ reporting of the murder of a trans woman in Philadelphia last week.
Diamond Williams was murdered last Sunday (14 July) in a house and her body was dismembered and scattered in a derelict lot.
Charles Sargent, who allegedly picked her up for sexual services, has been arrested and charged for her murder.
GLAAD issued a statement on Monday (22 July) saying that local Philadelphia media used the wrong name and pronoun and included irrelevant information about Williams’ past in their reports on her murder.
NBC Philadelphia was singled out for misgendering Williams and victim-blaming for suggesting she ‘was murdered following the supposed "discovery" that she was transgender’, GLAAD said.
The local TV station has now removed the offending video clip from their website.
‘One of the reasons we’re getting more combative about insisting on respectful media coverage for transpeople is because potential jurors that watch these misgendering and sensationalized reports are being poisoned with this slanted anti-trans coverage that could result in the murder victim at trial not getting justice and the alleged killer going free,’ said trans rights campaigner Monica Roberts.
NBC Philadephia’s coverage of a vigil for Williams held in Love Park in the city last night, was much more sensitive.
The piece, headlined Loved Ones Celebrate Life of Slain Transgender Woman, highlighted the issue of violence against trans people and quoted Williams’ sister Rachel Rose saying:
‘I don’t what them to think it’s another tranny who was killed and no one cares about. She had a family. She had friends. I don’t care if he [Sargent] knew or didn’t know [she was transgender]. No one deserves to die like that.’
Recent research from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) found that 73% of anti-LGBTQ murders in the US were people of color, like Williams.
Roberts has written a guide titled ‘How (Not) to Write About Black Trans Women’ on her bog, TransGriot.
Last April three transgender women of color were found murdered in the US in separate incidents.