Wife or Transgender Wife – Does the Category Matter? Your Responses Requested! April 6, 2009Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: Chris Mason, death by exercise, James Mason, transgender
A couple of months ago, I noticed this creepy headline:
I read the article and found the case stunning and bizarre: “A woman pleaded guilty to reckless homicide for exercising her 73-year-old husband to death in a swimming pool.”
A month passed, and I noticed another headline:
Having read the fine print of the first article, I knew immediately that this headline was referring to the same case. But I don’t understand why the “transgender” part of the story became headline-worthy. After all, the most interesting (read: disturbing!) part of this story is that the wife (Christine Newton-John, also known as Chris Mason ) exercised her husband (James Mason) to death.
There are plenty of details besides Chris/tine’s transgender identity that seem unrelated to the story, but which were nevertheless reported and may as well have been included in the headline, such as:
- Chris/tine was 32 years younger than her husband.
- James was living at Chris/tine’s family’s house as a boarder when (s)he was born.
- Chris/tine used to be a “crack cocaine user.”
- The couple moved in together while Christine was still Chris. (S)he was 18; he was 50.
- They lived together for 10 years before the Chris became Christine.
- They lived together for yet another 13 years before getting married.
- According to Chris/tine’s mother, Chris/tine and James often had violent fights.
So, Copious Readers, WHY does the second headline make mention of the Chris/tine’s transgender status? Is it because the editors decided that throwing the word “transgender” in there would add to the story’s sensationalism (like it’s not sensational enough)?! I’m so confused…