Oakland—In the aftermath of the tragic fire at the Ghost Ship artist community on December 2 that claimed the lives of more than 35 people, local authorities and media have continued to disrespect transgender victims by not honoring their correct names and gender identities.
The following joint statement was issued by Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force, Transgender Law Center and the Trans Assistance Project.
“As we continue to mourn the lives of those lost in the tragic Ghost Ship fire, it is essential that we do everything that we can to preserve the dignity of the transgender victims by honoring and respecting their names and gender identities.
Use of a transgender person’s birth name rather than their correct name is not only inaccurate, but is deeply disrespectful to the individual. In a time of tragedy, use of birth names, or ‘dead naming,’ is demeaning, offensive, and causes needless additional pain to those who are already suffering from the loss of those they loved.
We all seek to be seen and respected as our authentic selves and for who we truly are. We call on local authorities and the media to show respect and humanity to all by using the correct and true names of transgender individuals in all contexts, both for those we have lost and those still living.”
For guidelines on covering transgender people in the media, please visit GLAAD’s resource guide. To learn more about transgender community responses to this tragedy, please visit the Trans Assistance Project.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org