I am the SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program Director at Pride Center of Vermont, and I am always honored to speak on behalf of our statewide LGBTQ+ community center about issues that impact us.
On May 27, I spoke with Times Argus reporter Eric Blaisdell about H.128. However, I was mortified to see that the article published in The Times Argus (“Legislature makes changes to criminal justice system”) attributed a paraphrase to me that implied trans women are not women. We know that trans women are women, and I do not assert or endorse the idea that some women are more “real” than others.
Once the editor and reporter were made aware of the harmful misquote, they revised the wording twice in the online version of the article to more accurately reflect my phrasing, although even the most recent revision is not accurate. I appreciate their swift response; however, while the online version has been revised, I am not aware if a retraction or correction was provided in the print version. Vermont’s trans community deserves a public apology by The Times Argus — published in the print edition — for this misstep.
Times Argus staff might benefit from a mini-education about identity: Identities consist of multiple intersecting factors, some of which are easily noticed (perceived race and gender), while other identities are not (disability, education level). Your identities impact the way society views and treats you, and the ways in which you interact with others and their surroundings. A Black trans woman might have a very different experience in a grocery store than a white cisgender woman due to the ways power and privilege affect how they move through the world, how others view them, and the behavior our culture might expect of them.
It is imperative that, when people and organizations who assess and report on others’ identities cause harm, they then course-correct, take accountability and apologize.
Kim Jordan lives in Winooski.
Editor’s note: In response to a concern over the word choices used in the article, we modified the article in consultation with the Pride Center of Vermont. We appreciate the consultation for more opportunities for discussion and education. We apologize for the harm our reporting might have caused. ~ Steven Pappas, editor