TV station refers to Associated Press Stylebook in trans shooting story and still gets it wrong

spencerTHE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Progress? I’m not so sure. The writer still called the victim a “22-year-old man” even though at the end of the article on a Tampa, FL television station website was this disclaimer:

Editor’s Note: Although the victim is biologically male, Coko identifies as a transgendered person, and we have decided to use the pronoun that is preferred by the individual, per The Associated Press Stylebook.

Apparently, the powers that be at the station, WTSP, decided they would use ‘her” as per the AP style book but still call the victim a “man” anyway. I’m not so sure this is what the Associated Press has in mind — most certainly it’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card for transphobic-leaning reporting.


The victim of the shooting, Coko, is recovering from her wounds and the shooter, 16-year-old Spencer Tavares in jail is being charged with a hate crime as an adult. Police say Tavares is showing no remorse.

[Trigger Warning] Tampa teen Tavares Spencer charged with hate crime for shooting transgender woman |



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Categories: Law Enforcement, Police, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans, Transphobia, exploitation, dehumanizing, violence, hate

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11 replies

  1. The press will print anything, including defamation, if it will bolster their readership and sell more add space. No different than the tabloids.

  2. We could just remember that when we were finding our self we were in between social constructs. This reporting to me reflects this. Maybe this is true reporting of a time snapshot of a transition, Guess this is wishful thinking but I think back and if a picture was taken of myself while I was struggling with my identity and the “roles” I was being shoved into I could reported as both male role and female role.

  3. The article may be marginal but the video shows exactly what they think. “female impersonator” are you f-ing kidding me?!

  4. Ok, read the article, I think it had to be written just as it was. The fact that the crime was motivated because the perpetrator felt deceived by victim’s gender presentation required making that point clear to the reader. I believe the author did a good job here in keeping with the AP style where they could. The side comments from the neighbor Bernice was extraneous, and problematic. Additionally, we are not seeing her birth name here like with the Cleveland PD article about Cemia Dove, where that was one of the most modern egregiously botched articles in a long time.

    • Erica, question for you. Should the media be reporting whether or not a cis woman was shot because the perp found out she wasn’t a virgin, or perhaps her vagina wasn’t quite suitable? Or perhaps because she was in the midst of her period?

      The web article did use her birth name.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • seriously? I just re-read it,no I didn’t see her name, only the perps name Tavaras Spencer and they only referred to her as Coko. And frankly, whatever the motivation for the crime is newsworthy, please spare me dramatic hypothetical situations. Sorry you I think you are overreacting on the media on this one, The actual story itself is tragic and needs to be told and the violent offender exposed as you do so brilliantly here on the blog!

  5. They (the media / public) use any kind of information and suspect for calling someone male and present it in a bodyfashistic, sexistic way that humiliates the respect of a person´s gender/sex.


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