UPDATE: GLAAD said that when they reached out to the New York Times, they were given the statement below and told, this “will be all there is from us on this.”
New York Times Metro Editor Carolyn Ryan stated: "We typically try to capture the personal stories of those whose lives are lost in a fire, and we sought to do so in this case. We certainly did not mean any disrespect to the victim or those who knew her. But, in retrospect, we should have shown more care in our choice of words."
GLAAD isn't satisfied, however, saying the Times' response "reveals a lack of understanding of how serious this problem is."
"Unfortunately, the problem with the Times’ article on the death of Lorena Escalera, a transgender woman of color, is bigger than their “choice of words” or with their attempt to “capture” her story," wrote GLAAD today. "It’s their failure to recognize trans-women as women."
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation eviscerated a New York Times article today about a transgender woman who died in a fire.
Lorena Escalera, 25, died Saturday in an early-morning fire in Bushwick. She was reportedly a dancer with the stage name "Lorena Xtravaganza" and performed in city clubs.
The group slams the newspaper for including details like Escalera being "curvaceous" and "known to invite men for visits to her apartment," which were both mentioned in the first sentence of the article.
The article also mentions that she was "called Lorena," later mentioning that the police reported her name as Lorena Escalera.
The group asks if she were not transgender, whether such details – including "wigs, women's shoes … makeup, hair spray, handbags" found in debris outside the apartment – would be included:
Would the New York Times ever describe a woman who is not transgender, who had died in a fire, as "curvaceous" - in the first sentence, no less? Would it carefully note that her apartment contained makeup and "women's shoes?" Would it say that she was "called" whatever her name was - especially if police later identified her by that name?
The group said many people complained to them about the article.
Colorlines.com also wrote about the story, with the headline, "Transgender Woman Dies in Fire, So Of Course the News Is About Wild Sex."