LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — During the research for an article about a golf putter invention for Grantland, writer Caleb Hannan uncovered a detail that wasn’t quite related to the story he was pursuing — the inventor was transgender. And like many writers of that ilk, he choose to go down the exploitation road with the article, milking it for all it was worth.
Noteworthy to the article is the fact the inventor of the putter, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, committed suicide during the writing of it. Hannan contacted Vanderbilt and they agreed to ‘talk about the product, not the person’. But along the way, things went wrong. There was talk about suicide. Then there was an actual suicide.
Did Caleb Hannan’s article trigger Vanderbilt’s suicide? This appears not to be a instance where the press ‘hounded a trans person to death’ as was case for a UK teacher last year. Certainly Vanderbilt knew that success for her invention depended on the amount of publicly she and her colleagues could generate for it — this is simply Marketing 101. The chances of a writer eventually uncovering her trans status and going to press with it was quite high. As a promoter for her invention, Vanderbilt had to know this. The article may have indeed been a trigger, but there is something more going on here I suspect.
In Hannan’s article however, the inventor’s trans status did not have anything to do with the golf club she invented. It was at that moment Caleb Hannan crossed a line. And to keep going down that road, spilling all the details along the way, Hannan’s set to join Richard Littlejohn in the Trans Exploitation Hall of Fame.
Think Progress gives Caleb Hannan a 10-point smack down: http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2014/01/19/3183711/grantland/
Caleb Hannan’s article: http://grantland.com/features/a-mysterious-physicist-golf-club-dr-v/
Tip of the hat to Laurelai Bailey.
Here’s a transgender feature film that I’d be honored if you watched: “Lexie Cannes” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332
THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/