Morgan was a former Rutgers University student. She was involved with the North Jersey Community Research Initiative according to the queer women of color magazine, Elixher. She was also featured in a 2011 Rutgers article about being queer in Newark which is currently offline and in which she talked about her family's lack of support for her gender transition.
Eyricka Morgan, 23, a transgender Newarker and Rutgers student, remembers when family members told her “all gay men have AIDS’’ and forbid her from dressing like a woman.
--Rutgers 'Queer Newark' Conference Paints Portrait of LGBT Community, Past and Present
I had to make a decision. Either I be myself or let others control me. So at 14 or 15, I packed up all my stuff and I left.
Mainstream media outlets have uniformly misgendered Morgan, both referring to her as a man and using her birth name…despite AP journalistic guidelines which say it should not be done. The Star-Ledger reporter Sue Epstein
has been the worst case. After several commenters corrected Morgan's name and gender, all Epstein could manage was:
I have seen all of the comments, emails and read all of the tweets. I have asked for two days for anyone who knew Eryicka to please call me, tweet me, or email me at email@example.com, so we can talk, on the record, about her. No one has done so. Please feel free to call me, email me or tweet me with your name and contact information so we can talk. I want to learn as much about the victim as I can.
Tammy Allen wrote a cogent response:
Why do you need someone that knows her to contact you to fix your article? It is apparently obvious that she was transgender and yet you choose to ignore those facts because you want someone to who "knows" to tell you? I thought journalism was about facts and it appears you did get the facts, just not in the way you wanted. You should have some respect for the dead, she lived her life the way she wanted to and you have taken that identity away with your pen because you choose not to accept the facts given. My [daughter] is transgender and I know what she goes through every day of her life just to live the way she wants to and I would never want someone like you reporting on her because you choose to ignore the facts given because it is not what you want to hear.
Janet Mock wrote the following:
I will go on record, as an activist who knew the victim, Eyricka Morgan. She was a transgender woman of color and an advocate in the community. She went by she and her, and her identity should be respected even after her passing, despite what records may or may not say.
As a journalist who worked for mainstream media (I previously worked for People.com), I know that reflecting the truth of people’s lives is vital. The misgendering and erasure of Ms. Morgan’s identity does not only hurt her life and legacy, it also hurts an entire community of marginalized and often stigmatized people who are grappling with discrimination on many levels in our country.
Please fix this careless error and stop requiring that our lives need proof. We are who we say we are.
As of the time of my writing this, the article has still not been corrected.
Monica Roberts also wrote about the situation on Thursday at TransGriot: Another Day, Another Dead Black Transwoman Misgendered by the Media.
Every time you law enforcement or media peeps misgender a murdered trans female as a 'man', you are not only pissing our community off with your insensitivity because this crap happens far too often around the country to transwomen of color, you are sabotaging the wheels of justice in the case by misgendering that person.
GLAAD contacted the reporter
In many cases we in the trans community only know trans women by their feminine names, so hearing their old male names will only register blank stares to the people who currently know them as the female bodied person they interact with.
but has gotten no response.
The staggering amount of violence perpetrated on transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, must stop. When media outlets disrespect transgender victims by refusing to acknowledge their true identities, it perpetuates the ignorance that leads to such violence. Journalists have a responsibility to recognize transgender women as human beings worthy of respect - even in death.
--GLAAD national spokesperson Wilson Cruz
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