They just published another article about trans people, called "For Money or Just to Strut, Living Out Loud on a Transgender Stage." It's about young trans women of color on Christopher Street in the West Village in New York City. In the summer nights, some of them gather in this area. They enjoy the freedom to express their fashion sense and/or their desires openly. They do the usual activities covered under the rubric of "hanging out" for twentysomethings: talking, eating, dancing, arguing. Some of the women are sex workers.
I want to know more about the motivations of the women who moved here because they found it safer and more welcoming. I want to know more about the class conflict that they experience when they earn small money doing sex work in the vicinity of expensive condos. I want to know more about the daily lives of the women, activists and sex workers alike, who congregate on Christopher Street after dark.
And, thanks to the New York Times, I will never learn any of this from their coverage. I don't know where to start on how disgustingly problematic it is, so I'll start with the title. Calling the women's hang-out place a "stage" implies that their activities are false, untrue mimicry. Since the women in the article are, you know, living their damned lives, the use of theatrical terms suggests that their lives are trivial and second-rate…probably in implicit comparison to the lives of the owners of the extravagant mansions lining the street.
The rest of the article goes on and on about how the women look, how they style their hair, what they wear, even comparing them at one point to "flocks of exotic — if risqué — parakeets." Hey look — it's dehumanization! Where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, in the reprehensible NYT coverage on the death of Lorena Escalera, who shared some traits with the women in this article: she was a trans woman of color in her 20s, and she had done sex work in the past.
Time for another letter, calling out the NYT's racism and cissexism. I should really cancel my subscription.