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The Media's Sleazy Treatment of Trans Women

Lorena Escalera's life as a performer and model was cut short, and the Times decided to mark that by sensationalising and exploiting her death.

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GLAAD has spoken out against the article, as have a number of prominent trans activists concerned with the treatment of Lorena in the media, and the handling of trans women in general.

It’s rare to see a trans woman at all, let alone a trans woman of colour, featured in the media for something other than something terrible that happened to her, like her death or  imprisonment. When trans women are in the media, usually the coverage discusses, at length, whether they are or were “ convincing enough” and the details of potential surgeries or lack thereof are subjects of gleeful supposition.

It makes  standouts like Janet Mock all the more remarkable, because they defy the narrative and demand better treatment for trans women. It’s time to see a trans woman featured in the media for something other than being trans and marginalised, and it’s time to see the media treating trans women with the same respect they’d accord to cis women.

An article about the death of a cis woman wouldn’t take care to note that her home was filled with women’s clothes and shoes.

s.e. smith is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Bitch, Feministe, Global Comment, the Sun Herald, the Guardian, and other publications. Follow smith on Twitter: @sesmithwrites.

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