A newspaper’s sensational reporting of a transgender woman’s murder has sparked outrage in Australia.
News Corp’s Courier Mail ran the headline ‘Monster Chef and the She-Male’ on its front page and ‘Ladyboy and the Butcher’ inside.
Melody Moore, coordinator of Trans Health Australia, described the splash as ‘soul-destroying.’
She told the Brisbane Times, ‘It’s disgusting, it’s just sensationalism, it’s dehumanising a trans woman.
‘She is the victim here and they are vilifying, stigmatising and dehumanising the victim, making her to look like she’s just as bad as her sick boyfriend.
‘Trans women struggle to be accepted as women and the term she-male is very derogatory.’
Hundreds of people slammed the paper on social media.
Czahn Armstrong wrote on Facebook, ‘An innocent person just lost their life to a maniac and you nail her coffin to the front page of your publication with such a salacious and unnecessary headline.’
The paper has since changed the headline to ‘Killed and cooked trans woman was high-class sex worker.’
Others questioned the paper’s decision to run photos of the deceased in a bikini.
Members of the trans community have started an online petition demanding a public apology and an explanation for the article’s transphobic words and focus on the woman’s gender and occupation.
The petition had more than 12,000 signatures at the time of writing.
‘I question how Mayang’s sex assigned at birth is relevant to her murder if not to sensationalise a horrific act?’, the letter read.
One signatory, Sean Leader from Queensland, wrote, ‘The Courier-Mail had utterly disgraced itself, this city and this state with it’s appalling transphobic, prurient and sensationalist "coverage" of this tragic episode: the epitome of yellow journalism.’
The Courier Mail has not responded to the criticism but a journalist at the paper, John McCarthy, tweeted, ‘It’s a great story. Grow up and join the real world.’
— Francis Kneebone (@FrancisKneebone) October 7, 2014
— Not Campbell Newman (@Can_do_Campbell) October 6, 2014
@couriermail Your highlighting of a domestic-murder victim’s gender, sexuality, or employment is unethical sensationalist nonsense.
— Jim Little (@JimLittle1) October 6, 2014