Andre Edwards trimumphs over transphobic discrimination

2 08 2009

In the UK two months ago transwoman Andre Edwards, 51, was fired from her job as a cab driver because she was wearing nail polish and skirts on the job.  Leyland Taxis, the company that fired her, claimed that colleagues and customers could not deal with her “unorthodox lifestyle” and “bad attitude”.

Edwards then went to Eco Cabs, another cab company, and was hired as a driver because of her high level of experience and competency.  There, her supervisors and colleagues support her and treat her with respect and dignity.

The article reporting this story is problematic, however.  For starters, it places a lot of emphasis on her transition: her pre-transition life, when she knew she wanted to transition, her current operation status, etc.  This is voyeuristic and objectifies transgender individuals by reducing them to their body parts.

The fourth paragraph of the article starts off with, “Andre, who was born a man but now lives as a woman…”  Doing the whole “she was born a man, but now is a woman” or the “he was born a woman, but now is a man” when talking about transgender people reinforces a gender binary and essentialist notions of gender.

Towards the end of the article, the author writes about how Edwards knew that she was “not like other children when she was just 10-years-old”.  This kind of language continues to otherize and marginalize the transgender community.

I find it also problematic how the article frames the story as Edwards getting a “second chance”.  The title is Transgender cabbie gets second chance.  The issue however is not about Edwards getting a “second chance” but rather, her triumphing over transphobia and transphobic discrimination.


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