As I was strolling past a quiet apartment block, located in an inner Brisbane suburb a few months ago, I was shocked at the beauty and serenity of the Brisbane River. I was blind to the horror that was to occur there, in a matter of months. The apartment in which this horror was to occur, was owned by Mayang Prasetyo and Marcus Volke. Two names which have been recently circling the Australian media outlets, for all the wrong reasons. Ms. Prasetyo was an Indonesian transgender model and cabaret performer, who was allegedly murdered and dismembered by her boyfriend Marcus Volke. This man killed himself after reportedly being caught, "cooking," her remains. The gruesome case was sensationally reported in, "The Courier-Mail," owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. Their front page headline on the following Tuesday read, "Monster Chef and the She-Male," featuring a picture of Ms Prasetyo, 27, in a bikini. Inside there was a story headlined, "Ladyboy and the Butcher." .
Ms Prasetyo was a victim of a brutal murder. She was described with derogatory terms, "she-male," and, "ladyboy," which not only dehumanizes Ms. Prasetyo herself, but the whole transgender community. As outrage spread on social media following the report, a petition was launched under the name of the Brisbane Trans Community, demanding an apology from the newspaper, for the front page story. The newspaper's editorial code of conduct requires it to, "not make pejorative reference to a person's race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, age or physical or mental capacity.".
The coverage seemed to focus on her being transgender, being a sex worker, and hailing from Indonesia, which are three factors that had nothing to do with her death. If Ms. Prasetyo was a nurse, the headline might have been, "Young nurse slain by deranged chef," instead of being labelled with derogatory words.