Media Still Have Much to Learn on Trans People

Jos Truitt: Please stop questioning their right to exist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2014 1:44 PM CDT
Media Still Have Much to Learn on Trans People
Laverne Cox of 'Orange is the New Black.'   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

A recent media brouhaha shows just how much mainstream outlets have to learn when it comes transgender people, writes Jos Truitt at the Guardian. The mess actually started on a positive note, when Time put transgender actress Laverne Cox of Orange Is the New Black on its cover. The piece is "imperfect," writes Truitt, "but it's also the best example of a positive, educational article on trans people and issues in such a high profile space." But then came an opinion piece by Kevin Williamson at the National Review in which he argued that "sex is a biological reality, and it is not subordinate to subjective impressions," and therefore, Cox is a man.

The Chicago Sun-Times reprinted the Williamson piece over the weekend, before pulling it from its site amid a barrage of criticism and apologizing in a statement obtained by GLAAD. It reads in part:

  • "The column failed to acknowledge that the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have deemed transgender-related care medically necessary for transgender people. It failed as well to acknowledge the real and undeniable pain and discrimination felt by transgender people, who suffer from notably higher rates of depression and suicide. We have taken the post down and we apologize for the oversight."
It's good that the Sun-Times pulled the column, but "editors, columnists and reporters need to stop wasting space questioning trans people's right to exist," writes Truitt. "We're here, we're living, and we deserve to have our humanity recognized and represented." Click for her full column, or to read Williamson's criticism of the Sun-Times' decision. (More transgender stories.)

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