USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate)


Karlynd June

First Advisor

Bernardo Motta, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Deni Elliott, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Ella Schmidt, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available


Publication Date


Date Issued



Transgender murder victims are routinely mis-identified, misgendered, misrepresented in news media. GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the main media watchdog for LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy, reports that transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate violence and these tragedies are often compounded by reporting that does not respect (or exploits) victims’ gender identity [misgendering] (2016b; June, 2016).

This project is a qualitative framing analysis of digital U.S. news media representations of transgender and non-binary (bn)/gender non-conforming (gnc) murder victims. The framing analysis was informed by a general content analysis of the artifacts. This project consists of the 27 reported transgender homicides of 2016, through the lens of online news. A total of 106 artifacts were gathered. Eighty-nine percent of the victims killed last year were of color (reported as Black or Latino). Seventy-seven percent of the artifacts are from these cases.

This is an exploratory academic research project to begin looking at how news media are reporting transgender and non-gender conforming murder victims. And to provide insight on what the problems are, and the solutions. Ultimately, the intent of this work is to better inform news media and institutions like law enforcement, to then accurately inform their audiences. Simultaneously, it is intended to create a space and direction for a more robust academic body of research on trans representations in news media – a newly recognized field of research.


A thesis submitted in the partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Journalism and Media Studies College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida St. Petersburg, March 21, 2017.

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