by Andy Birkey • 11/20/08 • Just days after calling a trans man a “mutilated lesbian,” KTLK’s conservative radio host Chris Baker blamed the media — and by extension the transgender community — for the murder of Latiesha Green in Syracuse, NY, a crime authorities are planning to prosecute as a hate crime.
Baker said that because the media has become more accepting of transgender Americans, that people are becoming transgender and therefore a target for crime. Or, for comparison sake: because the media is accepting of gay people and more gay people come out, it’s the media’s fault if an out gay person is the victim of a crime because without that acceptance from the media, that gay person would not have come out and therefore not a victim of a hate crime.
Here’s the quote, courtesy of Media Matters, which has been doing a terrific job of documenting Baker’s lack of understanding of the transgender community:
“This guy is a murderer and should go to jail. … But I personally believe that by the media and all these other people out there enabling these people that they put people like this at risk, because they give them the boldness, the confidence, the — to decide, ‘Well, you know what? I’m a girl. Even though I’m not a girl, I’m a girl. And the media will call me a girl, so, therefore, I can walk into any party I want. I can go anywhere I want.’ …I believe the media and the rest of the enablers out there, they have this guy’s blood on their hands because they create this false sense of reality and they enable people who need serious psychological counseling.”
Baker’s ignorance of the realities of trans people is telling. Psychological counseling is most often the bedrock of a transition from the born gender to the target gender. A person’s transition is never something that is done lightly as it comes with great obstacles in virtually every facet of that person’s life.
Fortunately, the uproar over Baker’s statements has prompted some activists to go on his program to talk through the issues. Minneapolis-based Soulforce Q, the young adult arm of Soulforce, is an organization dedicated to confronting spiritual violence against the LGBT community through nonviolent civil disobedience. Soulforce has gotten preliminary permission to go in studio with Baker to have a reasoned discussion of the issue. Let’s hope kindness and thoughtfulness will prevail and that Baker and Soulforce can have a serious discussion of this important issue.