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Major Ohio Newspaper Refers To Transexual Hate Crime Victim As “IT”

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A body  found in a retention pond  has been identified as a 20-year-old from Cleveland who was reported missing March 27.

Carl Acoff was identified this morning through DNA obtained from relatives, police said.

Acoff had been stabbed, tied with a piece of rope attached to a block of concrete and dumped into a pond on MacKenzie Road north of Cook Road.

The body was clad in a red Betty Boop tank top, three black bras on top of one another, and a light black hooded jacket. It was naked from the waist down, police said at the time. The rope was tied from the back and also attached to a steel pipe.

Acoff had identified himself as a woman to RTA officials, according to records.

This folks is Ohio.  Small minded, misinformed, and bigoted.

The AP Stylebook guidelines has guidelines in how to RESPECTFULLY report on a transgender person

Transgender: Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

These guidelines have been in effect since 2001.  Which means they’ll finally reach the midwest in about 10 years.

Now Cleveland, OH is not a podunk city by any means and the story did not only pass from the writers to the copywriter it also passed through many other hands at the Plain Dealer before it was ever released and not one of them caught the bigoted slam or the fact that they took away any dignity in death CEMINA Acoff could have.

GLAAD, Equality Ohio, TransOhio and Cleveland’s LGBT Community Center are all now involved with rectifying this story at the moment, but the trouble is not only the story its the state of Ohio and other parts of the midwest (except for Chicago) itself where people have never evolved because they have never had the chance or the education to.

I have yelled and screamed at conferences until I have been blue in the face that out national organizations ignore the midwest and to be more proactive and do outreach in the Midwest on LGBT equality and acceptance instead of leaving it to local organizations that are ill-equipped, staffed and severely under funded to no avail.

And this is the result.

I mourn the death of CEMINA Acoff and not only am I am not only pissed as hell with the Cleveland Plain Dealer but also with HRC, GLAAD, The Task Force and other national LGBT “professional advocacy groups who stay behind their ivory walls while those of us who do not have the luck or the money to live in Washington DC,  New York City, or San Francisco or L.A. have to fight for dignity and respect on a daily basis while they throw parties and beg for money.

May CEMINA Acoff rest in peace.

And may Gay Inc. get off their fat well tailored and overpaid asses and finally travel west of the beltway to actually help the members of the LGBT community that need it most.

Rant over.



Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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2 thoughts on “Major Ohio Newspaper Refers To Transexual Hate Crime Victim As “IT””

  1. it was a reference to THE BODY itself NOT the individual/person. anybody who watches true crime shows would be able to tell you that. you went off the deep end for common forensic description.

    1. No good on that argument. This was published in a news paper, not an internal report. “Acoff had identified himself as a woman to RTA officials” is the writer making a choice of what pronouns to use, and the wording was not a quote from a report making this, again, the writer’s choice of wording. I deal with people, not TV shows.

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