Several news outlets in Virginia area have dishonored the memory of a murdered transgender woman by refusing to acknowledge her as such.
Thirty-year-old Lamia Beard was suffering from a gunshot wound when she was taken to Norfolk General Hospital last Saturday morning. According to reports where she later died at the medical facility due to her injuries. There’s no word on what led up to the shooting, and a rep for the Norfolk Police Department told AlterNet.com that there are no leads on who may have shot her.
Reporting on Lamia’s death has upset many in the transgender community as The Virginia Pilot, WAVY TV, and News Channel 3 have all referred to Lamia as a man at some point. However, it does need to be pointed out that News Channel 3 has changed up some of
“Another one of our sisters has been misgendered in the media,” Lourdes Ashley Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective told AlterNet. “Her life has been sensationalized with allegations of prostitution. They are already coloring this murder. They’re framing that our lives don’t matter when they do that. It’s no surprise that this is happening with this narrative because this is how they discredit trans people.”
Although authorities are aware that Lamia identified herself as transgender, they have used her birth name Floyd Beard because that’s how she is listed in their system and the FBI database. “If we discover any other name that has been legally changed, we will definitely update that,” the NPD assured. “But as for right now, we have not.”
Official police business is one thing, but Lourdes believes that the media should respect Lamia enough as a person to identify her as the name she chose for herself.
“The media’s obligation is not to the police but to report accurate news,” Lourdes argued. “If a person identifies as transgender, you would report that. It’s important that media accurately report the lives of trans people because, a lot of times, it’s where the discrediting happens. The police can say whatever they want. If the media does not print accurately, then the narrative has been shifted.”
That’s a fair point to make, especially in the case of a transgender victim as much of their identity is wrapped up in the gender that they have chosen for themselves and the journey they’ve gone through to achieve it. However, it should also be pointed out that as of press time, News Channel 3 has begun to identify Lamia as a woman in reporting on her death as well as acknowledging her chosen name.