Bil Browning

WOIO: Men 'posing as women' are 'freaks'

Filed By Bil Browning | December 03, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: bad reporting, Cleveland, Frederick Lamar, Quinton Harris

Crime stories are always the most problematic for reporters to get right when it comes to LGBT people, but this story from CBS station WOIO entitled Bosom buddies busted after tricking kid into having sex takes the cake for not even trying to be an impartial news story.

stupid-people-shut-up.jpgThe story identifies "two men posing as women" who had sex with a teenage boy. The article paints the story as two men deliberately tricking the boy into sex - including using male names. It's not clear if the two are transgender women or not. One of the suspects has been charged with rape and the other with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

According to a police report, a kid thought he was meeting a girl whom he met on Facebook, at the ritzy Inter-Continental hotel by the Cleveland Clinic.

Instead, police say the perverts who passed themselves off as women, where there waiting for him.

The freaks even sent a limo to pick him up.

After meeting, the boy thought they were two girls and police say once they started having sex it became clear the she's, were he's.

Sex crimes investigators are now wondering what else those two bosom buddies have been doing.

You can find contact information for the station here to complain about the completely unprofessional reporting in this piece. I've sent the item on to GLAAD and I'll update the post with their response.

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It does sound like the reporting was based on prejudice and ignorance, but if the two knew that they were having sex with a minor, then their crime is a severe one, whether they are trans or not. There is also something seriously wrong with the implication that adult women having sex with a male minor is somehow less heinous. That implication demonstrates how much of a double standard there is, and how much prejudice and bias in society.

Kathleen O'Neal | December 3, 2010 1:25 PM

I don't get it. It sounds like these people really were perverts that were out to entrap a minor. I don't really feel it's worth getting upset about if they were called out on their bad behavior. I get that some people may think that the reporting was transphobic, but it's hard for me to argue that there is anything wrong with it in light of the bizarre and perverted nature of the situation.

Because professional reporting is professional reporting - no matter what an alleged criminal has done. "Freak" and "pervert" are not professional - no matter if they are trans or not. If they weren't "men posing as women," would they have been given derogatory names like that? Probably not.

Amen to that, Bill! I put a comment on the story, slamming the authors for their immoral, and totally unprofessional way the story was written.

I said it stank of Fax News, or especially the British tabloids.

I suggested the reporters go back and attend legitimate journalism classes, and the editors be fired.

Here's my full comment, which is the ONLY one so far! Get with it, bloggers and get those comments on the story!

I dunno who wrote this lurid piece of crap, but this looks like something from Faux News, or a British tabloid.

Using the words "freaks" and "perverts" to equate with cross-dressing (not for one nanosecond condoning what these two did!) is irresponsible, and unprofessional!

Whomever wrote this story needs to go back to a legitimate journalism classes, and the editors need to be fired.

There are more professional ways to describe the crimes these two people allegedly did without stooping to the depths of slime and perversion WOIO did with this story!


Transphobic reporting isn't a function of trans people breaking the law and getting their just deserts, it's because of the bigotry of those who own news organizations and reflected in people doing the reporting, editing, and producing. This type of reporting happens equally when trans people haven't done anything wrong.

If this is a case of trying to have sex with a minor, then they deserve to be tried for it. I'm seriously wondering if there isn't much more to it than it looks on the surface because of the limo, and extremely expensive hotel... it's not a typical "let's hook up from Facebook" situation.

It doesn't become okay to be bigoted just because the targets of one's bigotry did something wrong. Would you imagine racism, homophobia, sexism, etc should be justified if the targets are criminals?

And even if you do believe that, there's the problem of disproportional treatment. Why should trans criminals face more intense (and extra-legal) punishments than cis people committing the same crime?

And finally, the transphobic journalism is a problem because it obscures the facts and makes it unclear what exactly is happening. How can we even judge if unfair treatment is justified if we can't trust the reporter to be accurate about very basic facts of the case.

Kathy Padilla | December 3, 2010 2:19 PM

I'm willing to bet there's more to this story than we know just yet. Given the previous times meeting people at a Hotel to party - the minor may have responded to an ad more than them specifically & knowingly targeting a minor. Though it does seem they may have left some things out of any ad they may have placed.

"Quinton Harris, who is a transsexual also known by the name "Chanel," testified that he was a friend of the victim's who met the defendant on MySpace. Harris testified that although he never met the defendant face- to-face, he saw a picture on defendant's MySpace page of the defendant with a gun:"

According to the prosecutor's office, the indictments and two of the suspects, this is what happened: Saunders knew one of the three victims and thought he was a woman, who invited him to the hotel for a party. The victims, Darnell Nash, 26, of Garfield Heights, Frederick Lamar, 40, of Dayton, and Henry Elmore, 21, of Cleveland, dress as women.

The defendants entered the victims' room and discovered they were men. Saunders became angry, went into the bathroom and emerged with a gun. He demanded money and threatened to kill the victims.

"One of the victims ran out and went to a security guard who called police," prosecutor's spokesman Ryan Miday said.

The suspects left with two lap tops, a pink purse, a victim's financial document, cash and a cell phone.

The victims identified themselves to police as women. Court records indicate they are men. Henry now spells his name Henery.

Nash earned national notoriety for committing voter registration fraud during President Barack Obama's campaign. Nash was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to six months in jail for three counts of false registration. Using fake names and addresses

Between the actions of the players and the press, everyone failed.
The parents failed, the ‘kid’ failed, the two in the hotel failed, the press failed.

Now I’m just pissed.

If you don't at least change your name legally and seek out changing the legal markers of male/female and then get in trouble with the law. In my mind they don't deserve to be called Transexual or women. I do not hold press responsible for reporting the facts.. what is bad is how they report and add in the slurs.. But then again pedophile person who cross dress, or any level of transgender ,are a serious black eye to transpeople every were.

And I hope they throw the book at these guys.

There is no guarantee that any of the people involved HAVEN'T legally changed their names, given the media's propensity for treating trans people's legal names as nicknames at best or outright ignoring them in lieu of their birth-assigned names.

Regardless of the severity of one's crimes, dehumanizing them, throwing bigoted slurs at them, and ignoring their identity -- especially on the basis of a standard as arbitrary as whether they wanted or were even capable of navigating the treacherous waters of transitioning their legal names and status -- is repugnant behavior that should be avoided in all cases.

I can't change my legal sex, no matter how many surgeries I get or how much I want to, because it's illegal to do so where I live. Does that prevent me from being a true enough transsexual for you?

Mouse, hate to break it to you, but there are lots of trans women who have legally changed their names, had SRS and legally changed their gender, were the victims of crimes not the perpetrators and are still referred to by some in the press by their birth name, still referred to with male pronouns and still inappropriately pathologized by 'journalists.' Even when you change your name or gender, no matter what state officials claim, your original information remains on police databases. If the cops want to misgender you, they will and if media has that information and wants to do a number on you (which is has to many trans victims of crimes even, yes, those who weren't sex workers) they will do so. That's the issue at hand whether you wish to believe it or not. Sorry, your respectability won't save you.

No but you can change your name. Everyone can do that. In the western world. And yes the haters will always use the best they can come up with to be mean. But is it mean to call them what they are LEGALLY called? I don't thinks so .. If one is serious about being who one claims, then it is rudimentary to do all one can to change all they can to fit that.

As to were you live not allowing changes I dont see were it prevents one from changing the name.. and these guys didnt even bother to change their names.. and before the Poor lil unemployed transgender victim model is thrown out these guys were arrested in the High end Hotel.. not some run down motel six in the red light district..

So this to me and i am probably wrong. But no change of name etc.. and inviting underage youth to Hotels for purposes of sex or hopes there of, make them nothing more then predators of the worst kind.. An will fuel the FEARS of the FUNDIES of the Men in bathroom wanting to peek over the stalls ... and to in anyway let them identify these jokers with being transexual is a Major FN mistake IMHO ..

Mouse, you're making an awful lot of assumptions based on virtually no verified information.

I agree, Gina! Mouse is making a ton of assumptions, and we all know what happens when one assumes.

As to Mouse's assumptions regarding the alleged criminals' income status, just about anyone with the correct amount of money (no matter how they obtained it, or were planning on skipping out) can rent a hotel room in the swanky part of a city.

As to your denigration of poor transfolk, Mouse -- realize that there are FAR more poor than there are middle class, let alone upper income transfolk.

These folks should be allowed to transition in prison, including SRS if they choose. Once they get their gender and head straight they can then be paroled and serve as role models for transgender youth and adults contemplating criminal activity.

I agree that the article is really unprofessional. The reporters don't know what happened in that hotel, and there hasn't been a conviction yet. All they have is the police report, and the police are notorious liars. But where's even the "alleged" in this article? They're already "perverts" according to the paper.

They appear to be trans, and it's unclear if the journalist even tried to contact them or their attorney for comment in this case.

I'm not prone to buy the usual "They did something bad so now we're allowed to treat them like shit" stuff people like to use to justify their own bad behavior (isn't logic great when it allows us to behave like children?). And I don't even think that mentality applies here unless we get a better understanding of what went on.