N.J. Trans Woman Murdered, Media Misgenders Victim

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com September 26 2013 5:09 PM ET

A 26-year-old transgender woman was murdered in New Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday — and local media outlets are once again misgendering the victim and calling her a man. 

Several independent LGBT outlets have confirmed the stabbing death of Eyricka Morgan as well as the arrest of Devonte Scott, a man who lived in the same city boarding house as Morgan. Police reports confirm that Scott, 21, was arrested shortly after Morgan was declared dead at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Scott is being held in a New Brunswick jail on $1 million bond. 

Morgan was a former student at New Jersey's Rutgers University and was involved with the North Jersey Community Research Initiative, according to Elixher, a magazine dedicated to queer women of color. Elixher also notes that Morgan was featured in a 2011 Rutgers article about queer people in Newark, where she spoke about her family's disapproval of her gender identity. 

Mainstream media outlets, including the Star-Ledger, referred to Morgan as a man and used her given name, despite journalistic standards endorsed by the Associated Press and GLAAD that suggest reporters use a transgender person's preferred name and gender identity when reporting on them, especially in instances of violence. The Star-Ledger report made no mention of Morgan's transgender identity or gender expression, and local police seem to have avoided the topic in their comments as well. A 2012 report from the National Coaltion of Anti-Violence Programs determined that 73% of anti-LGBT homicides that year were people of color, and 53% of those murders were of transgender women. 

The New Brunswick Police Department is investigating Morgan's death and asked anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Det. Kenneth Adobe at (732) 745-5200 or Middlesex County investigator Jose Rodriguez at (732) 745-3300.