There have been numerous reports of a body found in a retention pond near Cleveland, Ohio. As if that fact, in and of itself, isn’t terrible enough, the media reporting this news have completely and utterly insensitive and irresponsible. The woman found was identified as Cemia, or Ce Ce, or Ci Ci. She was a transgender woman who the media continually referred to as He, Him, or Man. This is unacceptable. Even in death this woman didn’t receive the respect she had been denied in life.
Some headlines include:
Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township pond identified – (216) 999-5000
Brutal slaying marks the end of Clevelander’s fight for acceptance – (216) 999-5000
- Police Identify Man Found in Pond – Email (216)432-4240
** I am including the contact info for these three media outlets in case anyone feels the need to express their disappointment (politely, of course).
Example of the terrible coverage : “Acoff was no stranger to police, arrested in the past for assault, inducing panic and disrupting public service. And neighbors said it was no secret Acoff was a cross dresser. When his body was found, he was wearing three black bras, a Betty Boop tank top and was nude from the waist down.” (THE ENTIRE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH IS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY TO THE ARTICLE!!!)
One story even contained this disclaimer: “This story has been edited since originally posted to bring it within the style recommended by the Associated Press involving transgender people.” However, the article still repeatedly refers to Acoff as “He”.
**If this Transgender woman had been born a woman, things would have been handled completely different. The “oddly dressed body” comment would never had been made. The fact that Cemia had no pants on would have sparked a rage in people because it would have been assumed she was raped! Instead this is, in my opinion, just being treated as “odd” behavior by an “odd” person.
Cemia’s family is just as guilty in all of this. In an interview, a family member refers to Cemia as he several times. “He ain’t deserve to die like this. They didn’t have to do him like this,” said Nicole Cantie, Acoff’s first cousin.
I am shocked and appalled by the disrespectful media coverage on this matter. Every LGBT Equality Organization is in an uproar over this (as they should be).
Quotes from some other sources:
Please, take a moment to mourn C. Acoff – and to remember that behind every death reported in sensationalist journalism, there is a human being with family, friends, and a life story. We are working right now to address the fact that this horrific murder was reported without any sensitivity to the victim and to our community. I will update you shortly with information on opportunities to mourn C. Acoff’s loss and to help us educate our state and our media on the lives and rights of transgender Ohioans. ~~Equality Ohio~~
When the media chose to highlight her arrest record, the charges against her only showed how transgender individuals are routinely denied a right to self defense, and access to adequate medical care. Her past is indicative of a desperate struggle for survival and lack of access to health care, not of a criminal nature. Yet the media attempted to spin it this way in order to minimize the empathy people might have for the victim. ~~-Brynn Tannehill, former U.S. Navy pilot and contributor, Outserve Magazine~~
The truth is, when someone like Cemia appears to identify as female sometimes and male other times, it’s because it’s still socially unacceptable (and often dangerous) to be transgender. The fact that some people in Acoff’s life didn’t know she sometimes identified as female, and the fact that her legal identification might not have reflected her gender identity, doesn’t change the fact that she was a transgender woman. ~~Glaad~~
More details will be shared as the become available. Follow @pghlesbian24 for updates also.