Where is Sage Smith?
by: Daryl C. Hannah
Unless you’ve been following the work of Monica Roberts, The Opposing Views and David Lohr over at The Huffington Post, you probably don’t know that a trans teenage girl from Charlottesville, Va., has been missing for nearly 20 days. By flipping through mainstream newspapers or watching the evening news — both nationally and locally — you wouldn’t know that Sage Smith, 19, was reportedly last seen by her family on Nov. 20, and police, despite allegedly “working daily on the case,” haven’t been able to locate a suspect, a man whom they had previously interviewed. You also wouldn’t know that her family and friends have had to organize their own search-and-rescue missions, because by most estimations the police aren’t doing enough, and judging by their comments to media, they have little if any respect for transgender individuals.
Since Sage Smith was first reported missing on Nov. 22, there has been virtually no mainstream media coverage of her abduction. There has only been one local story produced, and in it reporters consistently use the wrong pronouns to identify her, and the story only mentions the name she lives by once, as though it were a nickname. Even worse, the local authorities who are spearheading the search for her have reportedly lost their suspect without much hope of finding her.
“I can’t brag on Charlottesville when my little 19-year-old cousin is missing,” Kenneth Jackson, Sage Smith’s cousin, told members of the Charlottesville City Council on Monday, adding that the FBI and state police should be called in to help with the search. “Chief, the police department has not done what it’s supposed to do to find our child,” Jackson said.
As the search for Sage continues, so do the questions about the police investigation, including how they managed to interview the main suspect only to have him slip away without any trace. There’s also something to be said for the lack of attention Smith’s story has garnered both locally and national.
To call the mainstream media’s silence on Sage Smith’s story deafening would be an understatement. Really, it’s bigger. That someone’s son or daughter, trans-identified or not, can go missing from their family for nearly 20 days and there be no national or even local outcry is more than enraging; it’s terrifying.
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