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Cleveland 'Plain Dealer' Dehumanizes Horrific Murder of Trans Woman

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's coverage of the murder of Cemia Acoff, a transgender woman whose body was found tied to a block of concrete at the bottom of a pond after being stabbed repeatedly, is being denounced by LGBT rights organizations for its dehumanizing characterizations of the victim and transgender people.

TransmurderAn earlier piece on the murder had referred to Cemia as "it".

GLAAD writes:

GLAAD, Equality Ohio, TransOhio and Cleveland's LGBT Community Center are working to address anti-transgender local coverage of the story of a Cleveland transgender woman, Cemia Acoff, who was found dead earlier this month.

Throughout the day we have been in touch with all three local organizations and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the source of two highly problematic stories, currently titled "Brutal slaying marks the end of Cleveland man's fight for acceptance" and "Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township pond identified" (The latter had been previously said "Oddly dressed man.")

As of 3:05 PM, the Plain Dealer has updated its two stories to remove pronouns (except in the case of that one headline) and a few of the more sensationalized aspects of the stories. However, many problems remain.

Describing Acoff as "oddly dressed" is incredibly insulting.
Her murder did not "end her fight for acceptance," it ended her life. Period.
There is no need to describe what she was wearing at the time of her murder; she had already been identified at the start of both stories, describing her wardrobe only trivializes her murder.
Acoff's criminal record is almost certainly irrelevant to the story, especially when provided without any context concerning the trans community and law enforcement.
And removing pronouns doesn't fix much. Yes, the stories are no longer factually incorrect, but this tact still shows an unwillingness to respect the victim's gender identity and accept her as female.

Laurel Ramseyer at Pam's House Blend adds:

The journalist knew that Acoff was a trans woman because he reported that fact, yet he chose to not only mis-gender her, but he refers to her body as an “it”.  Corpses are generally referred to in the press as male or female, depending on the apparent anatomy or the determination made in the source police report.

Even mis-gendering the body would have been better than applying the dehumanizing “it”.

Violence against transgender people is at epidemic levels in the United States, with transgender African-Americans one of the hardest-hit subpopulations.  Pieces of dehumanizing garbage like these articles in the Plain Dealer (here and here) or this article at Fox 8 Cleveland only feed the flames of hatred and abuse.

Our thoughts go out to Cemia's family and friends.

Drunk Driver Crashes Through Barricade at Cleveland LGBT Fundraiser, Killing a Man: VIDEO

CrashA drunk driver crashed through "Dancin' in the Streets", one of Cleveland's largest LGBT fundraisers run by the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, on Sunday night, killing a man, NewsNet5 reports:

MetroHealth Medical Center said Mitchell Andelmo has passed away. Constance Pokorny is in critical condition. Officials said at least three others were injured.A message posted on Facebook reads: "Mitch was amazing and we will always remember him for his positive attitude and short shorts. We love you Mitch! Please keep his girlfriend Constance in your thoughts, as she was hit as well." Cleveland and Lakewood police departments said the driver, a 35-year-old Lakewood man, was drunk.

Watch a news report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Drunk Driver Crashes Through Barricade at Cleveland LGBT Fundraiser, Killing a Man: VIDEO" »

Float Driver Ditches AIDS Group in Gay Pride Parade Panic: VIDEO


A float driver for the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland fled the scene after he learned he would be driving a truck in the Gay Pride parade, FOX8 reports:

A local company offered its services – a truck and a trailer – to the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. However, things quickly changed once the driver arrived.

“When the driver realized that he was going to be driving for the gay pride parade, he then stormed off and drove away, leaving us without a float this morning,” said Judith Pindell, director of public policy for the AIDS Taskforce.
Allegedly, the driver had yelled obscenities before driving off.

The organization said the incident is a prime example of why events like this need to happen.

Watch their report, AFTER THE JUMP...

The organization posted the above photo on its Facebook page, writing:

One of the reasons we have Pride is to show the world that we are a beautiful, talented community that doesn't deserve the hatred and bigotry we have to face from ignorant people like Tim from Mr. Excavator. He refused to drive in the Cleveland Pride Parade and drove off leaving the AIDS Taskforce without a float (The Pic is him as he started getting nasty)

Continue reading "Float Driver Ditches AIDS Group in Gay Pride Parade Panic: VIDEO" »

Radio Personality To Father: Have Your Daughter Raped Straight

WMMSDOMINICDIETERX390Radio listeners in Cleveland received a rude jolt yesterday morning when Dominic Dieter of Rover's Morning Glory -- a talk show on the massively influential WMMS 100.7, "The Buzzard" -- told a father that his possibly-gay daughter should be raped straight.


According to the incident reports (and later confirmed to us by an executive for Clear Channel, the station's parent company), the anti-gay remark was made by Dominic Dieter, one of the "Rover's Morning Glory" cast members.  Responding to an e-mail from a father who (for reasons unknown) wrote to the station to say that he'd happened upon his teenage daughter kissing another girl. Deiter responded to the father, on-air, by saying:

"You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight."

This is not okay.  Not on any level, and not in any context.  We trust that the majority of fair-minded Americans will agree. Make no mistake, if this young woman is, in fact, gay - or if she's simply not interested in having sex with any of her father's friends, then what Dieter is suggesting is rape.

That's right, Dieter. Rape is not funny, and "corrective rape" happens to be a real and hideous thing

GLAAD's calling for Dieter's suspension, and for an apology, and for Rover's Morning Glory to produce "a segment speaking about the real harms that can come from parental rejection." If you'd like to let WMMS know your thoughts, the station's emailable at [email protected], and the general manager, Gary Mincer, may be reached at 216-520-2600. 

Cleveland Vows Marriage Equality for Ohio in Mass Ceremony: VIDEO


After a rally at Cleveland City Hall this weekend organized by Equality Ohio, more than 250 people exchanged vows at the Cleveland Galleria.

The Plain Dealer reports:

Hundreds of friends and relatives of the brides and grooms joined the celebration as eight priests and ministers recited marriage vows to couples of all ages. The afternoon ceremony followed more than an hour of speeches by activists on the steps of Cleveland City Hall, where a gay pride flag flew under the American flag. One speaker, Judy Benson of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, said the move for marital rights is not just cosmetic or symbolic...

...Promoters pointed out that even though Saturday's ceremony is not legal, it could provide some of the paperwork needed for obtaining a marriage license, if gay marriage is ever recognized in Ohio. it will provide some of the paperwork needed for obtaining a marriage license should gay marriage ever be recognized in Ohio.

Watch a great report on the rally from Vision Video and a report on the vows ceremony from FOX8, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Cleveland Vows Marriage Equality for Ohio in Mass Ceremony: VIDEO" »

Gay Couple Files Suit, Claims Cleveland Police Beat and Humiliated Them, Called Them 'Faggots': VIDEO


Jonathan Simcox and his partner Steven Ondo have filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming they were harassed, beaten, and humiliated by police in a series of events stemming from an argument with a neighbor who is an officer.

In the first incident, Simcox and Ondo said they were brought to jail in their underwear following an altercation with the neighbor. About a week later, another incident occurred:

According to the lawsuit, “6 or 7 members of the SWAT/and or Warrant Team” were on a sweep that day. Ondo and Simcox said officers then informed them they were wanted on a warrant that was issued for, “assaulting a peace officer.”
The men said each time they tried asking questions, the officers became increasingly violent.

“The officer in the glasses grabbed me by my shirt, and punched me twice in the face, after he punched me, he threw me up against the wall,” said Simcox.

Simcox says at the time of the arrest, he and his partner were wearing only underwear and t-shirts. When Simcox’s brother asked police if he could get them some pants and shoes, one of the officers allegedly responded by saying, “You can go get them shoes, but faggots don`t deserve to wear pants in jail.”

Watch FOX8's report on the charges, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Couple Files Suit, Claims Cleveland Police Beat and Humiliated Them, Called Them 'Faggots': VIDEO" »


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