News & Politics

A Transgender Woman's Death Was Demeaned After Media Reports Labeled Her a Man 'Dressed as a Woman'

Many insulting reports come from the way police discuss these cases.

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan

Media reports about the recent death of Sasha Garden, a transgender woman in Florida, misgendered her and demeaned her by mischaracterizing her gender.

As LGBTQ Nation reports, Garden's body was discovered Thursday by police. The authorities say her body showed signs of trauma, though they have not yet reported a cause of death.

Two local news outlets misgendered Garden in their initial reports, declaring her a man. Misgendering someone who is transgender is deeply disrespectful, and it can add to the stigma people who identify as trans face.

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WESH 2 reported the death with the headline: "Man wearing wig, dressed as woman found at Orange County apartment complex, deputies say." WFTV 9 said: "Man dressed as a woman found dead behind apartment near Orange Blossom Trail, deputies say."

LGBTQ Nation reports that both headlines have now been changed.

"Transgender people, and particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate violence," notes GLAAD. "Sadly, the tragedy of these incidents is often compounded by reporting that does not respect (or even exploits and sensationalizes) the victim's gender identity."

Mulan Montrese Williams, a transgender woman who often shelters sex workers in the area, helped identify Garden's body. She told LGBTQ Nation that cops are often responsible for misgendering victims. Local news reporters often write stories based solely on police reports.

“You know, when something happens, we don’t call police,” she told the outlet. “We don’t want to be judged by the police. We don’t want to be misgendered by officers – they still tell us, ‘We have to call you by your government name, what’s on your ID.'”

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.