No More “Firsts”

Danica Roem is the first openly transgender state legislator in the USA. Not the first. Althea Garrison was the first transgender state state legislator in 1992.

It’s important to celebrate firsts. They show progress to, hopefully, a better country. I was going to say world but I think many places have beat the USA to many of the “firsts” we celebrate. By saying “this is the first time this has happened” we plant a flag in history but the USA has a bad history with planting flags where they don’t belong.

The new news article is the headline. Whole stories are condensed into a single sentence. Then as often happens with online media someone writes a new article off of the first. They can’t use the exact same headline so they change it. “First Openly Transgender State Legislator” becomes “First Transgender State Legislator” becomes “First Trans Person Elected Ever”.

It’s a game of telephone played by “journalists” and bloggers for sensational news. I see it happen every time a “First” is announced. “The First” is a story but maybe it shouldn’t be. Firsts are great but they aren’t and shouldn’t be the start and end of a story.

“Trans Woman Elected to State Legislator” is a rare enough event that it doesn’t need to be the first. This is news. This is history. This is what should be reported. Clear factual articles. Remember headlines are the new news articles.

“Firsts” are flag waving and we’ve had enough flag waving in the past year.

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