Victoria Arellano

Posted by – August 20, 2007

I just happened to be catching up on my Feministing reading when I discovered a post by Jessica Hoffman about the death of trans inmate Victoria Arellano (or Arrelano) who was denied her AIDS medication and then Hoffman followed up her post wondering why this death hasn’t been covered.

It’s interesting time as just recently I’ve been bothered by a recent article in The Boston Globe about a doctor who transitioned with much of her life in tact – ironic since Arellano didn’t wind up with even her life in tact. Big article, no article.

& They say there’s no such thing as privilege.

Mind you, my complaints about the way various media outlets cover trans issues aren’t directed at the trans people who are often featured in these articles: their intentions are for the most part good, & they are trying, in their own way, to raise awareness of trans issues in general, all of which is much needed. It’s not that it was a terrible article in terms of The Big Picture, but I’m tired of journalists/media writing a piece that is pretty much like every other piece about a trans person (choosing someone professional, white, with a traditional narrative including surgery & the like) & presenting it as if it’s a revelation.

It’s not a revelation. I’d like to get the bar set a little higher, & to start pressuring media to cover more types of trans people, in more situations, with more of the kinds of issues that come up. Like what does a person like Betty, or others like her, do about the ID issue? What do people do when their license says one thing but they can’t get their passport changed? What are the issues for young transitioners, who are going to be dealing with discrimination from the outset of their careers? How is the expectation of not getting divorced changing what kinds of legal issues couples face? How does transness come into play with legal issues? What happens if a recent medical student comes out before she has a practice or an income or a family & established community?

I could go on. I won’t. Like I said, this is good for general use, but as someone who is “in the field” & who works with the media on a regular basis, I also feel I have a responsibility to pay attention to the way media coverage ISN’T changing at all, & how the struggle to represent the diversity of trans experience, from within the trans community, is or isn’t being reflected by the media, & maybe keeping an eye toward changing that, somehow.

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