• Seth Canada

Together in our fight for liberation, on journey to healing

Updated: May 15

Welcome message from founder
Seth Canada (he/ him), TRANS Founder

I built this site out of necessity, and I'm glad you've stumbled upon it! Welcome to the safe space for all trans and gender nonbinary folks who love to read and/ or write.

By way of introduction. I have strong interests in journalism and law. I would not choose one over the other. I'm currently an intern with FreeState Justice, an organization providing direct legal services to low-income LGBTQ+ Marylanders and pushing for long-term changes in policies and laws that help improve and protect LGBTQ+ lives.

As part of my internship, I recently had the privilege of interviewing the parent of a transgender student who was denied access to bathroom and locker room that align with his gender identity. My email to the parent prior to getting an interview scheduled reads like this:

"I'm an intern with FSJ, and I'm in receipt of your email, forwarded by my supervisor, about your son's case, for which FSJ provided legal services. To give you a little bit of background about me, I am a trans masculine person, and not surprisingly, have personally experienced injustice on many levels."
"I'm sorry that your son had to go through what he went through at his young age, and I feel relieved that things got resolved. I'm reaching out to you to schedule a Zoom interview so that I could write a blog post for FSJ."

Long story short, I was a journalism major many years ago. One of the main points I took away from the required ethics course is that to never treat your story sources and subjects (those you interview and write about) as if they don't matter and to never use a subject or topic you write about just to advance your career, without giving a damn about them. Had I not told that parent that I'm trans, and by doing so, had I not given them assurance that I would not ask intrusive or insensitive questions (our trans community knows what they are) about the son that were not directly related to the issue, I don't think this parent of the trans kid would have opened up as much as they did during that interview.

Empathy, as I've learned from doing the work in the real world, is basic etiquette for any journalist having to talk to people who have been victimized or experienced injustice. When it comes to trans issues, cis journalists suck at empathy. Some of these journalists are the same ones responsible for having lost the public's trust in the mainstream news media in the last two decades. One other ethical standard, as I recall, is to not cause additional harm to already marginalized communities.

In my News Reporting class, the instructor talked about a true story of the consequences caused by a young male student interning at a newspaper who identified a rape survivor by her name (and HER ADDRESS, too) in a news story he wrote, sourcing from the police incident report on the crime. Somehow, this personal information escaped the editor's eyes (or perhaps the editor was indifferent because the issue didn't affect him directly). The story appeared in the paper the next morning, and then the rapist went back to the woman's house and raped her again.

Many news outlets, not all, for more than a decade adopted a strict policy of not naming sexual assault victims in their reporting, especially minors. News outlets, in most cases, wouldn't print the names of minors accused of a crime. Well, in 2020, The New York Times, among several outlets, printed Aimee Stephens deadname in her obituary. Later that year, outlets like NBC News included Eliot Page's former name in their headlines and photo captions, as if his face changed overnight. Several news outlets have been getting away with deadnaming murdered trans people who can no longer speak for themselves. My instructor for that course, who also worked as a reporter, reminded her students that, "Just because you have the power to obtain information doesn't mean you should always publish it," elaborating on how unnecessary information can re-victimize someone already harmed.

Sadly, the media's insinuating that we're not who we know ourselves to be by deadnaming us and using our incorrect pronouns are just the tip of the iceberg. The media's transphobia runs deeper beneath the surface. More importantly, people who don't personally know a trans person read, watch and listen to what the news and entertainment outlets assert about trans people and make their misinformed assumptions about all trans people based on what they hear about a few in the news and based on the trans characters played by cisgender actors in the movies.

I have been uncomfortable dealing with the press and felt that I had to be guarded when being interviewed by newspaper reporters. This is one of the reasons I built this site. We need a space of our own. Most of us need to heal from traumas.

For me, writing is one of the things I do that I find therapeutic. I look forward to reading your pitches and then finished pieces you submit! I encourage you to fill out this form.

You could also stay in the know by subscribing to our email newsletter (we're planning to send out weekly digests) and following TRANS on Facebook @TransNarrativesMatter. If you have any question. comment, suggestion or feedback, feel free to reach out to me by using the contact form at the bottom of the Healing page.

Some of my recent writings:

I Lost Almost Everything, Met a FreeState Justice Lawyer,

then my life changed for the better I April 30, 2021

Téa Ivanovic: Reporting on Issues Short of Coverage, Reaching Wide Public I Public Writing coursework I Mar 3, 2021

Story of the U.S. Media They May Not Want Told I A Post-Truth World coursework I Dec. 16, 2020

‘There’s No Alfredo Sauce’: Cultural Cooking Club Founded During Pandemic Thrives I The Hoya I Oct. 8 2020

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