(Oakland, December 7, 2016)—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 statement was issued by Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Center for Transgender Equality, 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 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.