Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Say no to "tranny"

(Unpublished - Straits Times, Feb 18, 2009)

I refer to the AFP syndicated report published on the Straits Times website, under the section Breaking News - Asia - Story, 'Convicted for tranny rape' (ST, Feb 18).

I feel the relevant editor has not exercised any discretion and thus allowed the derogatory term "tranny" to be featured in the headline.

The term "tranny" is disrespectful to members of the sexual minority community who identify as transgender.

May I suggest that since the local press are expected by the government to play a role in nation and community building, they (Straits Times included) should take the lead in promoting the use of politically correct terminologies that do not discriminate nor trivialise any minority community.

We already live in a society where there is social and institutional discrimination against sexual minorities in general.

The press has to play their role, directly or indirectly, in addressing the discrimination, rather than be complicit in perpetuating the marginalising and trivialising of people who identity as transgender.

In this case, a conscientious use of proper terminology is a small step.

Ho Chi Sam

Add: It's also important to note that there are transgender people, for example post-op transsexual people, who may not identify as transgender, but by their current/new/"true" gender identity and sex.

Essentially, we need to "create" our own education and make sure derogatory words aren't used (too often) or institutionalised.

6 comments:

Glass Castle said...

This is awful! I will be writing a strongly-worded letter too.

- Jolene

Glass Castle said...

Good news Sam - I received an apology from ST and a commitment to use the words 'transgendered person' in the future.

Small steps forward!

- Jolene (www.glass-castle.org)

Sam Ho said...

this is great.

somehow the straits times didn't respond to mine though.

but what's more important is that straits times acknowledges this and exercise some sensitivity.

Agagooga said...

Would you call Michael Jackson Black or White?

puzzled said...

michael jackson's "black", not caucasian. even the category "black" is a colonial category.

Agagooga said...

Yes, just like Obama is not Black.