Jenner coverage elicits negativity toward trans community


The Appalachian Online

Lauren Burrows

Lately, the media has been up in arms about former Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner apparently preparing to come out as a woman. How the media has gone about this reveal, however, has become a concern and an offense to the transgender community.

News sources such as The New York Times, Al Jazeera and countless magazines have been wildly reporting on Jenner’s recent decision.

These sources have had an aim to expose this news to the masses, with how much of it for their own gain? There is no doubt the media has gained publicity, once again, over the personal life of a celebrity.

It is of some concern to wonder how Jenner is responding to all of this coverage, especially regarding their [Jenner’s] lack of response to any of it.

“The biggest issue is all we’ve heard is from outside sources,” said Parker Smith, the president of the TransACTION club at Appalachian State University. “There are three or four new names for Jenner published, and Jenner’s pronouns haven’t even been specified.”

The media has taken privilege to cover a subject they don’t have any business covering. The lack of respect toward Jenner’s personal decision – a very difficult one at that – is one that should be acknowledged and denounced.

InTouch Magazine decided to inappropriately Photoshop Jenner’s face to resemble a woman’s, along with the headline: “My Life as a Woman.”

In 2014, 226 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals were murdered worldwide due to how they identified, according to The Huffington Post. The article notes these 226 individuals are just a fraction of the total trans deaths because they often go unreported.

There is suspicion of the media playing a large part in this. Over the years, the media has taken a negative light toward the transgender community with sensational articles and leaked private material.

Smith said if the media does not get word from Jenner and clear the coverage up to align with the truth concerning their [Jenner’s] plans, this could negatively affect transgender youth – a group that is already in a threatening place.

What the media needs to do is only cover the private lives of others if there is consent, and do so in a delicate matter that does not approach the subject as unusual or strange.

For the sake of Jenner and the transgender and non-binary community, the media should step back from Jenner’s life until they have facts. Only then, the media should comment on the matter.

Burrows, a freshman journalism major from Mint Hill, is an opinion writer.

STORY: Lauren Burrows, Opinion Writer