Actress and activist Laverne Cox expressed her dissatisfaction with the media’s coverage of an assault trial in New York involving a transgender model and her firefighter ex-boyfriend, in a piece written for the Huffington Post on Tuesday.
The trial, which centers on former America’s Next Top Model contestant Claudia Charriez’s allegations of assault by ex-boyfriend Taylor Murphy, a former FDNY firefighter, has been the subject of countless articles that are notable more for their defamatory language than their accuracy in reporting the case.
In her article, Cox argues that Charriez has been dehumanized and sexualized by the press, which has sensationalized and exploited the intimate details of the relationship now exposed due to the trial.
Yet, as Cox makes clear, there is a need for the media to instead bring attention to the startling amount of anti-transgender violence in the country. She notes that transgender women accounted for 40% of all LGBTQH murder victims in 2011 while only accounting for 10% of assault survivors. The sensationalist media, with its glare many times focused on the superficial aspects of crimes involving transgender people, greatly contributes to the fear many have of reporting violence or other offenses. Below are excerpts of Cox’s piece:
We can see why so many trans women fear reporting crimes against us, or going public in any way, for that matter. No one who has survived an allegedly abusive relationship should have to endure this kind of public objectification and dehumanization…
We must dismantle the systemic transphobia and transmisogyny that sanctions this kind of violence. When trans women have the courage to come forward, even in the face of profound objectification and dehumanization, like Claudia did, and when we as a society support women when they do, reaffirming their humanity and womanhood, those are good first steps.
Earlier this month in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, GLAAD released this resource publication for journalists reporting on transgender victims of crime. Laverne Cox’s full story on Huffington Post Gay Voices can be viewed here. Cox also recorded a video interview as part of GLAAD's "I AM: Trans People Speak" campaign, in which she spoke of her experiences in the trans community.