October 9th, 2009 16:15 EST
Response to Transgender Rights in Pakistan by Zofeen T. Ebrahim
Thank you for taking the time to review this letter. I would appreciate hearing back from you regarding a story that was recently released on one of the SOP outlets regarding Transgender Rights in Pakistan by Zofeen T. Ebrahim.
While I found the article to be informative about what exactly is going on legally for transgender folk in other countries Transgenders Get Recognition in Pakistan, I was EXTREMELY upset by the authors use of the phrase "with a scarf slung around her neck. Her freshly shaved and slightly made-up face barely hid the telltale stubble."
Usually in news writing the first paragraph of a story is where you will find the most essential details of the story... I`m unclear how this sentence has anything to do with the facts of the story, so from a strictly literary point of view this is a significant oversight. Beyond this literary oversight this specific sentence seems only to serve to lessen the readers ability to relate to this person... in other words, right off the bat the author goes out of their way to alienate their subject.
As a transgender woman I know first hand how the poor portrayal of transgender individuals by the media continues to show transgender individuals as less than human. This article in particular is no different, which is shocking to me as the subject is the coverage of positive changes towards the views and rights of transgender people. In a story which should be showing transgender people in a positive light, why then is it important to mention that the interviewee has stubble? How is that fact even remotely linked to the decision of the three justices?
I certainly don`t mean to write and complain without offering any constructive criticism, I would only ask that the author be made aware of their error and become familiar with the AP or New York Times Style Guide when writing any future articles. While it is true that the author used correct pronouns when referring to their subject, this small concession means little when the first paragraph contains such a grievous attack on said interviewee`s identity. In the future I would also suggest more stringent editing for articles pertaining to transgender individuals in order to prevent similar situations.
Owner/Chief Editor of GRISHNO.com