Inside Edition has hired Zoey Tur as a part-time special correspondent, a move the program boasts makes her "America's first transgender television reporter."
"They took a chance on me. They were worried, but CBS and syndication are overjoyed," Tur tells The Advocate.
The 54-year-old, who rose to fame as a helicopter reporter covering O.J. Simpson's 1994 Bronco chase, will make her Inside Edition debut on Wednedsay interviewing Dana Vahle, another transgender helicopter reporter who covered the infamous car chase. But Tur insists she was not hired to just report LGBT stories. "I am not covering stories as a transgender reporter," Tur says. "I'm a reporter who is transgender. Otherwise it would be like having a black reporter only cover stories about blacks or a Hispanic reporter covering stories about Hispanics."
"I came out to be on television as a person, as a woman," she adds. "And this can be a great thing for my community."
Tur is following in the footsteps of Janet Mock, who hosts the pop culture program So POPular! on MSNBC's streaming service Shift and who appears regularly on MSNBC, as well as Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox, who regularly co-hosts The View. "Those are my heroes," Tur says.
However, the reporter says that her position at Inside Edition is an even bigger step forward for the transgender community. "This is not some little trial balloon thing like MSNBC is doing streaming Janet Mock. They've made a commitment to me and let's just say there are bigger things in Zoey's future. ... The doors are now open to other transgender journalists."
But that was not always the case. When Tur began taking hormones to transition 20 months ago, "Janet Mock didn't have a show, Orange Is the New Black wasn't yet on Netflix. There was no visibility," Tur says. "I was told I shouldn't transition, and if I did I'd never work again. That really bothered me."
But everything changed last week when Tur met Charles Lachman, the executive producer for Inside Edition. "And I said, 'Charles, do you want to make history?" Tur recalls. Upon Lachman learning there weren't any transgender TV reporters in the country, he hired her on the spot. "The whole thing took three minutes," Tur says.
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