At 4:30 this afternoon on Inside Edition (seen locally on KCAL), viewers can tune in to the maiden helicopter voyage of Zoey Tur, as America’s first transgender TV news correspondent lifts off from Orange County and sweeps above downtown Los Angeles. Throughout the segment, Zoey demonstrates the kind of self-assurance at the controls one might expect from a woman who was formerly Bob Tur, the most celebrated helicopter newsman in television history. (“Becoming Zoey,” in Los Angeles’ January 2015 issue, chronicles Bob’s lifelong struggle with gender dysphoria, and the 18 months during which Bob disappeared and Zoey become a woman in full.)
Though Bob Tur managed to capture the 1992 L.A. riots at its flashpoint and was the first to get OJ’s fleeing white Bronco to a world audience, Zoey believes she’s a better pilot than he ever was. “I’m so much more at ease now than when I was flying as Bob,” Zoey says. “Then, I was OCD about everything, always checking and looking for things. But flying as a female is effortless. I’m still checking traffic, instruments and the radios, but it’s easier to multitask, and flying is fun. Flying as Bob, there was always stress involved.” She can be herself on air, she says, the way Bob, the macho pilot who was female to his core, never could.
Zoey’s daughter, Katy Tur, is a foreign correspondent for NBC News. Their relationship was strained during the years Bob became overwhelmed by the depression and anger that came with his gender dysphoria. During Zoey’s transition, they hardly communicated. They re-established contact last fall after Zoey returned from facial feminization and sexual reassignment surgeries in Thailand. Earlier this week, after the first segment of Zoey’s Inside Edition segment aired, she heard from her daughter. “Katy sent a nice text from London,” Zoey says, “She congratulated me on my new job. She also said she thought I looked very pretty.”