Black Trans Man Demarkis Stansberry Killed in Louisiana ask reported by The Advocate.
While Louisiana’s Advocate included Stansberry’s preferred first name (albeit surrounded by quotation marks), it still nonetheless printed his former female name, contrary to journalistic best practices embraced by the Associated Press and GLAAD. The Louisiana publication’s story also relied on hard-to-verify social media comments for identification of the victim, quoting Facebook comments posted by Stansberry’s former classmates, who alternately identified him by male and female names.
These problems reveal an increasingly serious need for training in affirmative reporting about the lives and deaths of transgender individuals in mainstream publications. Advocates for equality insist that, even in death, an LGBT person or any person from a marginalized community can be further victimized by what is often called “spirit murder” — culturally disrespectful misidentifications that corrupt the presence of a person after their passing.
In the wake of such reporting, some advocates take to social media to perform a kind of cultural recovery, correcting problematic usages and identifications, seeking to humanize trans homicide victims. Just one example of such restorative efforts comes from Mitch Kellaway, a former correspondent for this publication: