Here's exactly how to make amends for past biased reporting on transgender people

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/21/heres-exactly-how-to-make-am.html

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In particular, I conjectured that Brandon’s long-term sexual abuse …had led him to abjure his “female” genitals and breasts.

Gender politics aside, that’s just crappy journalism. How can you speculate what’s in another person’s mind… and especially speculate that what they really feel is the opposite of what they say they feel?

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This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so stupid.

You want to make amends?

Stop prefixing people with “transgender”, it’s offensive. Really.

You don’t qualify someone with a prefix as if it’s “the other” or “lesser than”.

People’s lives aren’t about being transgender, it’s a part of them, and if they have transitioned, then it’s not like they are in a process, they either are a woman or they aren’t, pick one. (Unless they are saying they are fluid, gender-queer etc. where it’s part of their identity but most reporting is not about such people).

Stop using the word “trans” as an abbreviation, especially in formal reporting or articles. This might be the most offensive despite how innocent it might seem.

Even just the headlines are offensive.

Yes it’s cumbersome to say “people who are transgendered”. That’s the point. They are people first and you need to recognize that.

I realize I am being upset with people who are trying to make things better and not worse but don’t fall into the trap of just doing political correctness, think about how you express something and why you are saying it.

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  1. The GLAAD Media Reference Guide uses the term “transgender people.” https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
  2. The GLAAD Media Reference Guide uses the term “trans.” https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
  3. The GLAAD Media Reference Guide recommends avoiding the term “transgendered” with the extraneous “-ed” on the end.
    https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
  4. FYI I am a transgender person.
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I botched it! :wink:

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What?
:wink:

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I’ve been a fan of Donna Minkowitz’s work for a long time. She’s very good, and this mea culpa just increases my respect.

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That is a really solid piece. Great apology without dodging blame and a good job of setting the record straight.

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I’m going to preface this as I speak for no one but myself. I’m a trans woman and I take much exception to what you’re assuming and saying.

When talking about trans issues it’s important to be clear, so often it is needed to be stated. Especially when talking to a cisgender audience. I, for one, do not find using my term and the term for my community at all offensive. Sure it can be used in offensive ways, but so can just about anything. Under normal circumstances it, though, is not offensive.

You’re making a lot of assumptions here. I, for one, along with some of my trans friends are out, visibly, and loudly trans. Because we can. Because we have to be. We are trying to increase visibility and acceptance. I would not have accepted myself without having trans folks around me to show me that the stereotypes in the cis-biased media only cover a small part of trans people’s experience. This whole bit reads to me like you’re telling people like me to shut up, be quiet, and blend in. No. I will not.

No. Trans is a perfectly valid contraction of transgender. I am trans. Every trans person I know uses the term. I’m really not getting where you think it’s offensive.

And now you get to what is offensive. The (grammatically incorrect) word “transgendered” is pretty much exclusively used by TERFs, evangelicals, and other bigots who are trying to invalidate trans people. Every trans support organization I know of says in no uncertain terms to not use that word.

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Well, this is a start. If and when gay and lesbian reporters can learn how to talk about people outside their own community in an honest, curious way… It moves things just a little bit closer toward sexual sanity.

There’s an assumption frequently made, that as sexual outsiders, they are perfectly placed to make judgements about any other sexual outsiders they see.

Someday, eventually, it’ll be those with the hangups about deviance that are made to feel outsiders, and those who can be themselves without hurting others who will be inside.

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Oh yes, the whole “it’s really the people who have been historically oppressed who are the real problem here” argument. /s

Read some Foucault and try to understand the construction of oppression and subjectivity, will you please…

foucault

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I was living a closeted existence in 1993. I remember the group think of hatred of trans women from my own queer cis lovers. My own pain stops me from hearing her apology.

Her article lead to suicides of gender non conforming children. She should feel more than a little shame.

GLAAD doesn’t speak for all people who are transgender, they weren’t elected, they appointed themselves?

If you go around celebrating you are transgender and often mention it to people, then you’ve created a third (or forth) gender. That is not the point of transitioning, it’s the exact opposite.

Transgender isn’t a day-to-day part of identity unless someone is purposely making a statement (nothing to be ashamed of, support, etc)

This is the huge problem with lumping together people who are transgender with people who are gay or lesbian and have a “lifestyle” they take pride in.

Sure you CAN make transgender part of your identity and for many people it’s such a huge taxing process before and after they feel a relief to do so, imitating the pride of the gay/lesbian community.

But don’t go lumping together people who are gender-queer with people who are transgender. There is a huge difference.

Other than online with reasonable anonymity I’ve never told anyone in real life and never will unless I have to for medical or personal reasons. It’s not something I am proud of. Not actually ashamed either, just something unfortunately I had to go through to fix what nature got wrong. It’s done.

We aren’t drag queens, transitioning has a start and end. Once your journey is over either you are the gender or you are not, it’s not a “forever process” or you’ll never find peace.

Or, you know, you can be celebrating the fact that you get to be who you are. Not to mention the importance of visibility, or the simple existence of NB trans folk.

Let’s not ignore the huge intersection of trans folks who either do or did in the past identify as some flavor of LGB. And I sincerely hope you’re using “lifestyle” in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

I can’t help but think how much of a difference it would have made for me if I’d known just one openly trans person when I was in my teens and struggling through depression caused by wrestling with my identity in a conservative family with no resources available to me. Right now, I don’t have any choice anyway, and I’m well aware of my privilege in living where I do, having a supportive spouse, etc., but I’m gonna be out and visible. I’m certainly not gonna shit on folks who go stealth for reasons of safety, mental health, etc. Plenty of reasons to go stealth, plenty of reasons to maintain visibility.

Ultimately, my gender is an important part of my identity, but my struggles with my gender have shaped me in ways that are also hugely important to my identity. Both halves of “trans woman” are part of who I am and anybody who gets to know me is going to find out about both.

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GLAAD’s guidelines are based on community and journalistic consensus.

Despite being a transgender sublebrity, I find I spend a lot less time thinking about being trans than many of my friends and readers who are stealth. Jumping from one closet to another often leads to some pretty unhealthy attitudes about being trans, especially about those who are “doing it wrong.”

I encourage you to be a little less rigid and authoritative in your pronouncements.

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Thank you. Please, I’m super sensitive right now because someone I love dearly has transitioned (and is also gay) and now is dealing with severe depression and a physical addiction to alcohol and I’m still dealing with the pain on my end from knowing how much they’ve hurt themselves. The lack of support from the gay community is heartbreaking. It’s tearing me out from the inside to know they’ve been hurting this much. They need community, they need identity, and no not everyone can fit into the binary. It’s just not possible. Fuck I can’t even fit into it and I have all the natural cis privilege one can possibly have. When every person who has transitioned can be accepted no matter how they look, no matter what surgeries they have or have not done… when that happens you have a point. Until then, don’t fucking take support away from people in your effort to save your own skin. I’m too emotional to talk right now because of the above situation but for God’s sake no… it is a life that you live and it is something that sets you apart from others. If you have passing privilege good for you.

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Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and keep describing myself as trans forever. I’m transitioning, but it’s MY journey so I get to call myself what I want. Once that whole physical process is finally done I’ll be a trans-woman, not a cis-woman and I’m fine with that; as female as I can get. I’m aware that some people might nit-pick that but YMMV and that’s fine.

TL;DR I’m of the opinion that people get to describe and/or label themselves however they like; nobody else gets to do that for them.

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Do you?  

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It’s a good thing you’re here to help the poor, misguided people of the internet figure out what labels they are supposed to use and to tell them they can’t be trans. /s

I’m cis but I know for sure that all my trans friends are completely different in how “out” they want to be, whether they want to be publicly identified as trans or not etc. Some people don’t have a lot of choice in whether they’re out. Some people want to be actively engaged in raising awareness online and anonymously but in person are not out. There’s no right and wrong way to be.

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ALL OF THIS!

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