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Bagley All Over Again?

June 6, 2014

Another criminal prosecution arising from abuse in a kinky relationship.  There are so few facts thus far that I won’t write much, but this is on my radar.

I don’t know why the report even notes that she’s trans.  In fact, after the first paragraph, they follow the sensible rule for avoiding shitty trans coverage tropes:  if it’s irrelevant to the story, don’t bring it up.  But that fact, her trans status without more, appears in the headline and first paragraph, perhaps for no reason other than clickbait, or because while the style guidelines say that trans women are women, some reporter or editor couldn’t bring themselves to apply that without an implied asterisk.  At least after mentioning it they left it alone, so that’s progress because the bar of better-than-usual is pretty low.

I’ve said before that the only way kink-abuse cases get prosecuted is if there is hospitalization or video; reading between the lines, I think we’ll find out that video evidence was seized.

There are screeds coming.  In the course of this, as more facts develop, I expect I’ll write about the slave register site and the positioning of 24/7 and TPE within BDSM communities and spaces, like I do.  I expect I’ll write about the application of trafficking laws to situations where people are literally not free to leave.  I expect I’ll write about press coverage of her trans status, though I hope I don’t; maybe if it’s not relevant as the story develops, they could just leave it alone?  Perhaps, but I doubt it.  All these conversations will wait until the factual record is more developed.

I’d rather not write about this.  It’s not exactly fun.  I’d rather not, but the things I expect I’ll say, I’m not counting on anyone else to say.  So I will.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Courtney permalink
    June 6, 2014 12:14 pm

    I can see bringing up the fact that the victim is transgender if you are discussing things like how that fact may have made it harder for her to seek help or how she is being treated by the justice system after reporting the crime. Throwing it in the headline & first paragraph for no reason is just silly. But, yes, this sadly represents progress.

  2. Jay permalink
    June 6, 2014 12:41 pm

    The second you actually stop being able to leave, it’s not a BDSM relationship anymore. BDSM is *consensual* kinky practices. Although the TPE, 24 hour Master/Slave relationship is put on a pedestal a lot, there’s still always the understanding that the slave can freely walk out the door and end the relationship. When that stops being a possibility, consent can no longer be given, and it’s not BDSM.

  3. Katharina Bucher permalink
    June 7, 2014 5:06 am

    Since trans individuals actually face violence and abuse much more than cis individuals, I can see why it would be noted. Statistically, it is important that this not be overlooked.

  4. Ellesar permalink
    June 14, 2014 8:35 am

    I do not understand your use of the term ‘kinky relationship’, as none of the details seem to point to that. Yes, a ‘contract’ was made, but it does not sound like any kind of relationship at all, just the horrifying abuse of a vulnerable woman.

  5. June 16, 2014 4:42 pm

    I agree with the prior posters, I think that the fact that a *transgender* woman was kept as a slave and abused is very, very relevant. Transgender people in general are an incredibly vulnerable population, women more than most, and I wonder what her race is as transgender women of color are severely oppressed. (I suspect that if this woman were black, it would have been mentioned) They’re dehumanized so severely that it’s very possible this couple would never have treated a *cisgender* woman the way they treated her.

    It’s also incredibly relevant because this is being treated as serious. These people are suffering consequences for hurting a transgender woman. Given the way many transgender people are hurt by the police, it wouldn’t surprise me if the wrong officer would have found an excuse to arrest HER and let these two go without so much as a slap on the wrist. While the crimes are horrifying and heartbreaking, that this woman is being treated with dignity is amazing. Which, I mean, is awful, this should be standard- but in a world where a child can be held in prison for over 2 months just because she’s transgender, it is so so wonderful that this woman is apparently being treated with dignity given the circumstances.

    The article handled it very well. They aren’t sensationalizing it, they just state it. They don’t misgender her, they don’t imply that she deserved it, they don’t say anything to insult her or malign her character or suggest that this was some BS “trans panic”. This is exactly how stories about transgender people should be written. While it might be nice to lay out the reason that this is relevant, pointing out that transgender people are a vulnerable population, the writer of the article may not have known how to do it appropriately.

    I don’t know enough to know if The News Star has a particularly bad history or anything like that. I don’t know if their target audience just happens to be abnormally trans-aware, but it may be. The only reason this is at all questionable is because there’s too much ignorance about transgender people, so many readers won’t understand the importance of the point or even what a transgender woman truly is.

    I’m not sure I understand why you’re so opposed to the news acknowledging that transgender people exist when we’re not actively doing trans-y things. You have no problem with the news acknowledging she’s a woman, even though her gender is equally ir/relevant. (this should be just as horrific if it happened to a man, being a woman makes her more vulnerable and is part of broader cultural messages) By all rights, you should be objecting to the fact that the news acknowledged this person as anything more than just being a human being.

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