One month after a coalition of GLAAD and more than 100 coalition partners sent a letter to The New York Times demanding fair, accurate, and inclusive trans coverage, transgender community leaders are responding to the Times unresponsiveness.
The coalition has not received a reply from the Times about the demand to meet with trans leaders within two months, or the letter in general.
“I don’t believe publications with an historic reputation like The New York Times should spend energy and resources on distributing damaging speculation that is aimed at blocking Americans of all ages from access to healthcare, fair housing and employment just because of how they identify,” said actor and activist Peppermint, in part. “Our ideals and identities are inseparable from our humanity, and the attempts to separate us from that humanity are a heartbreaking signal that The New York Times is not interested in surviving into the next century. We will send flowers.”
“If The New York Times is unwilling to take an hour out of their day to meet with leaders from the transgender community, we are bringing important insights and messages from these leaders directly to The New York Times, on a big screen outside of their headquarters in Manhattan,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD. “Our coalition set the clock at two months for this meeting. It’s been one month and we have not heard back from the Times at all, much less to schedule this important sit-down. It is shameful that the Times appears to be refusing to acknowledge this ask and ignoring the voices of the community they are consistently misrepresenting in front page coverage. Our concerns are not going away. Our coalition is only growing. Our voices are only getting louder.”
Oklahoma State Representative Mauree Turner says, in part, “Oklahoma is advancing dangerous bills that would particularly harm 2-spirit, transgender and nonbinary residents, and which would take even stronger measures to prohibit us from accessing lifesaving medical care and the ability to participate in everyday life. The New York Times and other high-profile outlets have a responsibility to ensure coverage that centers our lived experiences and does not cause further harm.”
We are back outside @nytimes this morning highlighting statements from trans community leaders and asking the Times:
Will you meet with trans leaders?
— GLAAD (@glaad) March 15, 2023
Statements and photos from trans community leaders will be showcased on a video billboard truck all day today outside of the Times headquarters in New York City. Additional statements in full below:
Chase Joynt; Director, Writer (He/Him): “Journalists have a responsibility to their subjects and their readership to take seriously the consequences of their curiosity. Asking questions under the guise of concern without adequate attention paid to historical context spreads misinformation which is then assumed to be truth. What remains fact is that transgender people have always existed and news outlets should follow the lead of those most impacted by their reporting.”
Erin Reed; Researcher, Content Creator, and Activist (She/Her): “The New York Times needs to step up and take responsibility for its transgender coverage and take a meeting with community leaders about their reporting on transgender lives. I have tracked 430 bills targeting the trans community this year, and I have seen New York Times articles referenced in numerous hearings. Accurate and sensitive coverage from The New York Times is of paramount importance. They need to hire more trans staff, allow trans people to cover the biggest stories that relate to our care, and take responsibility for ensuring their coverage is respectful and accurately portrays the scientific consensus around gender affirming care. I hope to see a real commitment to engaging with the community in the coming days.”
Joelle Espeut, Programming Director, The Normal Anomaly Initiative (She/Her): “Words matter. And often, the violence inflicted upon women and people who identify outside the binary starts with stigmatizing language. The Times must know that they have the power, in allyship with the trans community, to help end anti-trans violence with accurate reporting that provides meaningful representation and visibility of the transgender community to the world.”
Jay Brown; Senior Vice President, Programs, Research & Training, HRC (He/Him): “The New York Times has a responsibility to report on issues accurately and fairly. Their reporting on the transgender community has been anything but accurate and fair. Gender affirming medical care is widely supported by every major medical association—representing more than 1.3 million doctors—but they’re platforming anti-trans extremists whose only goal is to push us all back into the closet. They aren’t experts and shouldn’t be treated as such. This isn’t a matter of giving equal time to two sides of an issue. It’s about giving radicals a platform that has been used by politicians to harm transgender people—and trans youth in particular. The Times must do better and they should listen to those of us who are transgender when we are telling them their reporting is dangerous.”
Minnesota State Representative Leigh Finke (She/Her): “2023 is the fourth consecutive year marked by a record-breaking number of anti-trans bills seeking to block trans people from receiving basic healthcare, education, legal recognition, and the right to publicly exist. In this legislative session alone, 446 anti-trans bills have been introduced across 43 states—412 of which are still actively being deliberated.
“States are using any means necessary to take away our community’s fundamental rights, even from children. Six states have banned gender-affirming care, more are seeking to do so at this very moment. Florida used its state medical board to do the same. Texas is investigating families and clinics in a sick use of government power to root us out. The result is that families with trans kids are now fleeing these states, effectively becoming refugees in their own country, looking for safety anywhere they can find it.
“The most recent quote to make headlines was that trans people ‘must be eradicated from public life entirely.’ Statements like this are shocking and alarming, and they put our lives in danger. It is not easy for us to hear that there are political movements in this nation that seek to have us all ERADICATED. But it’s true. For some portions of our society, there are only two acceptable spaces for queer people to exist: in the closet or in the coffin.”
Peppermint; Activist, Actor, Singer, GLAAD Board Member (She/Her): “I don’t believe publications with an historic reputation like The New York Times should spend energy and resources on distributing damaging speculation that is aimed at blocking Americans of all ages from access to healthcare, fair housing and employment just because of how they identify. It’s troubling that an outlet with such prestige that was earned in a previous generation would willingly align itself with people who openly state that instead of focusing on support and validation for our humanity they are focused on our ‘eradication from public life entirely.’
“Every time you and your writers print a misleading and harmful story about the transgender community you are simultaneously slashing and eroding any connection this paper has to the notion of relevance. Transgender people are born into this world and into your very families. Our ideals and identities are inseparable from our humanity, and the attempts to separate us from that humanity are a heartbreaking signal that The New York Times is not interested in surviving into the next century. We will send flowers.”
Raquel Willis; Writer, Activist (She/Her): “How The New York Times covers transgender and nonbinary people will be a major historical subject and it will be quite an enormous blemish unless true accountability shines through. I am forever inspired by how generous and courageous NYT contributors and employees involved with the letter have given of their time, energy, heart, and belief of potential that our media landscape can serve as a catalyst for change. I am also grateful for the numerous organizations that have bolstered the efforts of our journalists in a time when not just facts, but empathy continues to be left on the cutting room floor.”
Shakina; Actor, Writer, Producer (She/They): “The New York Times can’t hide behind ‘both-sides journalism’ when one of those sides is so blatantly rooted in organized efforts by nationally recognized hate groups to demonize the most vulnerable members of our population. Transgender people, and in particular trans youth, need The New York Times to lead by example and establish a journalistic ethic that respects our human rights and gives credence to the research and recommendations of medical professionals, feminist thinkers, and spiritual leaders around the world who have affirmed our existence for generations.”
Tori Cooper; Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, HRC (She/Her): “Every day, I wake up nervous about what the news will say about my identity as a Black, trans woman. So many in our community live in fear right now, because discrimination and violence are a reality for so many of us right now. When The New York Times prints irresponsible attacks on my community, and gives a megaphone to extremist anti-transgender activists as if they’re experts, they put us at even more risk. This dangerous reporting has real world impact: more stigma, more discrimination, and more violence.”
Tatiana Williams; Executive Director, Transinclusive Group (She/Her): “As a community, we are already marginalized and left vulnerable by systems of oppression. Yet we continue to wake up to new attacks, inequalities, threats to employment, and a growing lack of access to life-saving healthcare. Major media outlets hold great power to inform, educate, and speak truth to power. Continuously uplifting voices who present transgender people, our rights, healthcare, and existence as an unsettled debate causes real harm to our community and perpetuates the idea that human rights are just a matter of opinion.”
Oklahoma State Representative Mauree Turner (They/Them/Theirs): “I’m passionate about doing what I can in my role to protect 2-spirit, transgender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and other LGBQ+ people in my community. Oklahoma is advancing dangerous bills that would particularly harm 2-spirit, transgender and nonbinary residents, and which would take even stronger measures to prohibit us from accessing lifesaving medical care and the ability to participate in everyday life. The New York Times and other high-profile outlets have a responsibility to ensure coverage that centers our lived experiences and does not cause further harm. When you only report that our nation’s leaders are writing and signing into law policy that has a blatant disregard for our lives, and not telling the real consequences that Americans are suffering because of it, then we allow people to think it’s okay because our national leaders are engaged in destructive policy. I would welcome a conversation with them about what I’ve heard from my constituents, my personal experience about what our community is going through, and how we can advance safety and acceptance for all.”
Excerpt from the coalition letter signed by 100+ organizations and leaders:
“For those of us who truly treasured the Times’ coverage for so many years, it is appalling to see how the news and opinion pages are now full of misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous ‘both sides’ fearmongering and bad faith ‘just asking questions’ coverage. We won’t stand for the Times platforming lies, bias, fringe theories, and dangerous inaccuracies. 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.”
Demands from the 100+ organizations and notables signed onto coalition letter:
- Stop printing biased anti-trans stories, immediately.
- Listen to trans people: hold a meeting with trans community leaders within two months.
- Hire at least four trans writers and editors within three months.
Some of the direct negative impacts of irresponsible Times coverage for trans people and their families and medical providers includes the state of Texas quoted a June 2022 report to further target families of trans youth in court documents over their private, evidence-based healthcare decisions; the Arkansas Attorney General citing three biased Times articles in her amicus brief supporting an Alabama law that criminalizes doctors and parents for ensuring trans youth can access necessary medical care; and justification for anti-trans healthcare legislation in a Nebraska legislative hearing using the Times’ reporting on trans youth and its reputation as the “paper of record.”
Full list of signers to the coalition letter at www.glaad.org/nytimes.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.