There’s a rather nasty crime report doing the rounds right now which, sadly, is an easy bandwagon for internet transphobes and armchair “real men” to leap on to. To a lesser extent, it is a vehicle for trans fears, which I think is right, but not necessarily for the reasons enumerated.
A tabloid tranny tale
Yes folks: an expat businessman has murdered his bride after discovering she was a tranny! So many clichés. So much presumption! The story follows a vaguely predictable arc, with the most sensational and rabble-rousing assertion in the lede. What follows just about hangs together. Some stuff that looks suspiciously like police report. Some family comment. A friend observing, worriedly, that the perpetrator, Mr Chris Collier – who was living with his partner in Kusadasi, Turkey – might not survive the 24 years in a Turkish prison to which he has now been sentenced.
Perhaps he has watched Midnight Express!
And a teeny bit more substance to that “wife’s a trans” allegation. Ah. It was a comment made on an internet forum by someone claiming to be Mr Collier, that the police were investigating. OK.
The piece looks whole, but if you write for a living you tend to spot the joins. It looks cobbled together. In every paper where its appeared to date – the Sun, the Mail, the Metro – apart from GayStarNews,where a healthy dose of scepticism is introduced.
A history of non-investigation
So. Let’s dig a bit more. The same story, almost identical apart from the fact that the guy has merely been arrested for the crime, appears in a local Staffordshire rag (Mr Collier comes from Staffs) back in December 2010. Same facts. Same quotes. Only difference: not a hint that the wife is trans.
A day later, still in 2010, it is the Star that reveals the key fact…the thing that clearly is the most important bit of this story:
Police are examining postings in an internet forum used by expat Brits from someone claiming to be Collier.
One said: “I paid for my wife and then moved to Kusadasi in my rented apartment.”
The blogger added that Julia “used to be a bloke”.
Aha! There we have it. Proof positive. Which is odd, because a day or so later, the Turkish papers are quoting the Star as introducing an interesting angle to the case, so they didn’t know, and…two years later, the combined journalistic intelligence of the Mail, the Sun, the Star, the Metro – and no doubt one or two others – has quite failed to determine whether this allegation is true or not. Presumably the Turkish police are still investigating.
Slow work, Turkish detecting.
Or maybe no-one on that assortment of great newspapers has had the nous to pick up a phone to the local police press office and ask what their conclusion was.
A poisoned source
But hang on. The Star must have got their quote from somewhere. And lo…turn the clock back ANOTHER four years, to mid-2006, and here is a bloke posting a drunken rant in a local expat forum. Yes. His nick is Chris Collier. He makes the allegations later repeated. He also owns to having drunk too much. He further adds a tale about how he was arrested for threatening a bunch of youths with a gun.
And other posters don’t entirely believe him.
So if this is the real Mr Collier – and there’s no proof whatsoever that it is – then the real story goes something like this: Violent man with history of drinking murders his wife.
And poisonous outpourings
Ah. But that is SO much less interesting than man murders trans wife. Or better still, man murders wife BECAUSE he discovered she was trans. There is no evidence whatsoever for making that leap in the forum postings. After all, if it was Mr Collier, he took another four years before he actually took the plunge. But it doesn’t stop the papers from speculating.
No. The truth here is that this is utterly shoddy pisspoor journalism. One writer, the Star’s crime correspondent, finds something back in 2010. Its interesting. Its definitely worth investigating. And he does at least have the goodness not to quote the trans wife thing as gospel.
Two years later, the pack follow. No-one has followed up on anything. No-one has checked. No-one has updated the story. Or rather, they have updated it without, as I can see, any evidence, to add the idea that transness was a motive.
Was she really trans? We don’t know.
Was she murdered because she was trans? We don’t know?
Has the press pack just printed a load of unchecked speculation that has acted as springboard for vile comment along the lines of “don’t blame him…”
Yep. Sadly, the evidence for that is plastered across the websites of almost all today’s tabloids.