Gabrielle Union, Tommy Dorfman, More Accuse NYT of ‘Harmful’ Coverage of Trans People
In a letter addressed to The New York Times, celebrities and LGBTQ+ organizations are calling for an overhaul in the publication’s approach to covering transgender people, calling their current practices “dangerous.” Gabrielle Union, Judd Apatow, Tommy Dorfman, Jonathan Van Ness, Margaret Cho, Jameela Jamil, Lena Dunham, Joey Soloway, Wilson Cruz, and more are among the signees.
“The Times has repeatedly platformed cisgender (non-transgender) people spreading inaccurate and harmful misinformation about transgender people and issues,” the letter published by GLAAD reads. “This is damaging to the paper’s credibility. And it is damaging to all LGBTQ people, especially our youth, who say debates about trans equality negatively impact their mental health, which is a contributing factor to the high suicide rates for LGBTQ youth.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis added: “We have had enough. The Times’ inaccurate, biased coverage has been cited in legal documents used to justify discrimination and targeting of trans people. This is chilling, and it should give every reader and every leader of the New York Times pause. It’s time for the Times to stop this relentless misinformation disguised as disingenuous ‘just asking questions’ reporting and ridiculous and harmful opinion pieces that do not represent the reality of trans people’s experiences.”
Ellis continued: “It is time for the Times to listen to trans people and LGBTQ community members who are appalled at what is unfolding in the world and inside the Times. It’s time for the Times to hire more trans and nonbinary people. It’s time for the Times to see trans people as people, report on their lives as they would any other human being, and not as a ‘side’ in political debates.”
“We must protect trans lives,” Cho wrote in a separate statement to Rolling Stone.
The organization states that it reached out to the Times on multiple occasions to remedy the situation before bringing it to the public. Looking towards the future, the signees have also requested that the publication agree to meet with transgender leaders and community members within the next two months and round out their staff with the addition to at least two trans people in the opinion section and two on the news staff within the next three months.
“We won’t stand for the Times platforming lies, bias, fringe theories, and dangerous inaccuracies,” the letter reads. “We demand fair coverage, we demand that the Times platform trans voices as both sources and full-time writers and editors, and we demand a meeting between Times leadership and the transgender community.”
LGBTQ organizations such as GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, Women’s March, National LGBTQ Task Force, PFLAG National, the Transgender Law Center, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund also signed the letter.
“From the front page to the opinion page, readers are too often getting an inaccurate view of transgender people, with poor reporting that elevates harmful opinions from known anti-trans voices and so-called ‘concerns’ over the fact that every leading medical organization affirms healthcare for trans youth as safe and necessary,” said Ellis via GLAAD. “And even more dangerous, politicians are using biased Times’ articles to justify support for anti-trans legislation.”
A number of journalists and New York Times contributors also signed a separate letter echoing the same sentiments. Among them are Roxane Gay, Jia Tolentino, Muna Mire, Sean T. Collins and Jo Livingstone, Cynthia Nixon, Parker Malloy, Hunter Harris, and more.
The complete letter zeros in on particular articles published by the Times, including one that referred to a trans child seeking gender-affirming care as “patient zero” and another that omitted information about the role of anti-trans hate groups in the legal pursuit to require schools to out trans children.
“A tiny percentage of the population is trans, and an even smaller percentage of those people face the type of conflict the Times is so intent on magnifying,” the letter read. “There is no rapt reporting on the thousands of parents who simply love and support their children, or on the hardworking professionals at the New York Times enduring a workplace made hostile by bias—a period of forbearance that ends today.”
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