Over 200 New York Times Contributors Sign Open Letter Complaining About Paper’s Coverage of Transgender Issues

Over 200 New York Times Contributors Sign Open Letter Complaining About Paper’s Coverage of Transgender Issues

Over 200 New York Times contributors have signed an open letter complaining about the way that the paper covers transgender people and issues.

The letter was addressed to Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at The New York Times.

“We write to you as a collective of New York Times contributors with serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting on transgender, non⁠-⁠binary, and gender nonconforming people,” the letter began.

“Plenty of reporters at the Times cover trans issues fairly. Their work is eclipsed, however, by what one journalist has calculated as over 15,000 words of front⁠-⁠page Times coverage debating the propriety of medical care for trans children published in the last eight months alone,” the letter continued.

The reporters at the Times do not think procedures that can sterilize and mutilate children is worthy of debate.

“The newspaper’s editorial guidelines demand that reporters ‘preserve a professional detachment, free of any whiff of bias’ when cultivating their sources, remaining ‘sensitive that personal relationships with news sources can erode into favoritism, in fact or appearance.’ Yet the Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources,” the letter continued.

The letter then blasted individual stories and reporters that they deemed to be problematic.

“For example, Emily Bazelon’s article ‘The Battle Over Gender Therapy’ uncritically used the term ‘patient zero’ to refer to a trans child seeking gender⁠-⁠affirming care, a phrase that vilifies transness as a disease to be feared. Bazelon quoted multiple expert sources who have since expressed regret over their work’s misrepresentation. Another source, Grace Lidinksy⁠-⁠Smith, was identified as an individual person speaking about a personal choice to detransition, rather than the President of GCCAN, an activist organization that pushes junk science and partners with explicitly anti⁠-⁠trans hate groups.”

The contributors continued, “you no doubt recall a time in more recent history when it was ordinary to speak of homosexuality as a disease at the American family dinner table—a norm fostered in part by the New York Times’ track record of demonizing queers through the ostensible reporting of science.”

“Some of us are trans, non⁠-⁠binary, or gender nonconforming, and we resent the fact that our work, but not our person, is good enough for the paper of record,” the letter concluded. “Some of us are cis, and we have seen those we love discover and fight for their true selves, often swimming upstream against currents of bigotry and pseudoscience fomented by the kind of coverage we here protest. All of us daresay our stance is unremarkable, even common, and certainly not deserving of the Times’ intense scrutiny. 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. 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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Author: Cassandra MacDonald