Where are we now and how can we improve?
On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, a panel of trans and cisgender journalists and activists gathered at the LGBT Center in New York City. The panel of five planned to discuss how the media currently covers trans stories and how they can improve.
The atmosphere created by The Association of LGBT Journalists (NLGJA) was optimistic and empowering. Panelist LaLa Zannell of the NYC Anti-Violence Project delivered one Tweetable quote after another, promoting inclusion and education as the solution to inequality in the media. Zannell suggested the formation of a community space led by trans leaders who would be able to share stories this community could relate to.
The following Question and Answer portion of the event was intended to provide a candid discussion with the audience with the intent of strengthening the relationship between the Transgender community and the media. What actually took place? The moderator of the panel, Meredith Talusan, LGBT Staff Writer at BuzzFeed, concluded the event in tears, after an audience member scolded her for self-promotion as a journalist. Talusan expressed her willingness to discuss any topic and answer any questions, but pleaded for questions to be asked nicely.
When a community is constantly being beaten down or perhaps worse, ignored, it is expected they will fight back when given an opportunity for their voices to be heard. The audience left the LGBT Center full of discussion – the first step towards making change.