Victims of the Oakland warehouse fire are being misgendered in reports
Victims of the Oakland fire are still being misgendered after their death.
The fire, which happened in Oakland, in a warehouse party, killed 36 people.
Three of the victims of the fire were transgender, and after their death friends and families are fighting to settle their gender identities.
Feral Pines, 29, was one of those who died in the fire. Relatives knew Pines by her middle name Riley, but friends of Pines said she identified under the name Feral.
Only one of the three transgender people who died in the fire had legally changed their names, making legal documents with the correct name increasingly more difficult to obtain.
Scout Wolfcave, executive director of the Trans Assistance Project and a friend of Pines said: “It takes an immense amount of labor on the part of an individual trans person to get people to recognise who you are and to respect who you are.
“Names given at birth may be something you try to leave behind, and to have people drag that up in a moment you can’t defend yourself it’s painful. It’s painful for friends.”
Alex Schmider, senior strategist for GLAAD said that naming transgender people properly after their death is crucial because it validates their gender identity.
“Yet that may not always be easy when friends disagree on acceptable names, or parents insist on another name even if they accept their child is transgender.
“It is a complicated issue. It’s a case-by-case basis, and we don’t always have as much information as we would like.”
Costs to legally obtain a name change can cost over $450 for the complicated process.