Becoming Trans News

Becoming Trans News investigates the experiences of trans and gender nonconforming people who have appeared in news stories in 2018. What makes this research unique is we’re focusing on and interviewing “ordinary” trans people, meaning individuals who aren’t the usual people who appear in the news such as celebrities, politicians, prominent activists, etc. Thus far, there has been few studies conducted in which ordinary people shed a light on their experience in the news, let alone a group as underrepresented and so marginalized like the trans/gender nonconforming community.

The purpose of this research is to explore the experiences of trans and gender nonconforming people who appear in the news stories, and possibly the unique obstacles that the community may face being featured/mentioned in the news. Questions that we look to answer is why individuals agreed to be interviewed, how they felt their interaction with the reporter/s went, if they feel the story they were featured in were accurate, if there were any repercussions from being featured in the story, etc.

The goal of this research is for the greater good in the context of reporter-citizen relationships. This research aims to help journalists better their interaction when interviewing  and writing stories about trans people/issues by addressing the issues of language usage, questions that may be inappropriate, etc.  Another goal is to give a better understanding to the public about the interview process for a news story and the possible implications of being featured in the news, which is especially important for those who are trans/gender noncomforming or comes from a marginalized community.

Through ten interviews, six of which have already been completed, we expect to fill in any holes we can within the academic research community. Dr. Fink and I hope to learn possible unique positives or negatives trans and gender nonconforming people have from being interviewed and featured in the news. Six interviews in (which I’m transcribing), I can say that thus far, we have seen a common trend in which the people we’ve interviewed have expressed some displeasure with cisgender reporters asking questions or writing something in the article that they deem too personal or misinformed. And that truly speaks to what we look to achieve: to document an issue that if addressed, can better the media’s relationship with trans people and other minorities.

We’re using qualitative research method that includes 10 approximately one-hour interviews that will shed light on how it is to be an ordinary trans or gender nonconforming person making the news. The research form is applied research, with a case study being the research design.