Journalists: Commit to Fair and Accurate Coverage of Transgender People, including Pvt. Chelsea Manning

GLAAD Press Release:

September 4, 2013

Over 40 organizations call for improved media coverage of transgender people


Rich Ferraro
Vice President of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011

The media has a long and poor track record of reporting on transgender people, and the coverage surrounding Private Chelsea Manning has brought that lack of fair and accurate coverage into sharp focus. The coverage that we have seen thus far has relied on stereotypical images, contrived confusion over names and pronouns, and an obsession with surgery. Examples include:

  • USA Today displaying a graphic that outlines several of the surgeries transgender women may elect to undergo, overemphasizing and sensationalizing the role of surgeries in the life of a transgender person.  A transgender identity is not determined by medical procedures.
  • The New York TimesWashington PostCNNNPRNBCFox NewsReuters, and a host of other outlets wrote articles that outlined the “struggles” that media outlets faced in referring to Private Manning as Chelsea or choosing a pronoun. The Washington Post, Fox News, and CNN still refuse to honor Private Manning’s preferred name and pronouns.
  • CNN’s Jake Tapper conducted an interview with a close friend of Manning, continually referring to Manning as Bradley, and also referring to his guest as a “gay man” when she is a transgender woman.

The media disrespected and insulted all transgender people by using phrases like “choose to be a girl,” and CNN panelist Richard Herman saying that Manning will “get good practice” as a woman in prison. Fox News offensively teased a broadcast segment on Private Manning by playing Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady).”

Transgender people face tremendous levels of discrimination and violence. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 53% of anti-LGBT homicide victims in 2012 were transgender women – most were transgender women of color. According to the report “Injustice at Every Turn”:

  • Transgender people experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.
  • 90% of transgender people report experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.
  • 22% of respondents who have interacted with police reported harassment by police, with much higher rates reported by people of color.
  • Almost half of the respondents (46%) reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
  • 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.

We, the undersigned organizations, call on journalists and media outlets to cover all transgender people with the dignity they deserve as human beings. Private Manning issued a public statement, read by her lawyer, that explicitly and unambiguously stated that she should be referred to as Chelsea and to use female pronouns. The Associated Press and TheNew York Times have both announced that they will refer to Chelsea as she requested, and other media outlets should do the same.

The Associated Press Style Guide states that when referring to a transgender person, to “Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals.” GLAAD’s full Media Reference Guide on reporting on transgender people may be found here.

The following are commonly accepted guidelines for covering a transgender person:

  • Always use a transgender person’s preferred name.
  • Whenever possible, ask transgender people which pronoun they would like used.  
  • Do not put quotation marks around either a transgender person’s preferred name or the pronoun that reflects that person’s gender identity.
  • Avoid pronoun confusion when examining the stories and backgrounds of transgender people prior to their transition. In Private Manning’s case, she may simply be referred to as Private Manning.

Private Manning’s story presents an opportunity for the media to do a better job of telling the story of everyday transgender people who are simply trying to live their lives. The media has an opportunity – and the responsibility – to improve its reporting and accurately reflect the lives of transgender people.

If your organization wishes to sign the statement, please email

Gay Veterans’ Spouses To Receive Benefits After DOJ Announces It Won’t Enforce Marriage Definition

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has cleared the way for the spouses of gay veterans to receive military benefits, with the Justice Department declaring it will no longer enforce a provision of the law that states only heterosexual married couples are eligible.

Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congressional leaders on Wednesday stating that the Justice Department had determined the Supreme Court’s rationale in a decision overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act should also apply to Title 38, the part of the U.S. code that governs veterans’ benefits. The benefits include health care, disability and survival benefits, and burials in national cemeteries for military spouses. Title 38 currently defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Holder said last year that the Justice Department would no longer defend Title 38 in court. But Wednesday’s announcement went even further, with DOJ finding that the legal basis laid out by the Supreme Court in the DOMA decision should nullify the marriage definition in the provision. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said just last week that the spouses of gay veterans weren’t eligible for benefits because no court had found Title 38’s definitions to be unconstitutional.

“Decisions by the Executive Branch not to enforce federal laws are appropriately rare,” Holder wrote in the letter, adding that in this case it was appropriate given that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives had withdrawn from pending litigation challenging the constitutionality of Title 38’s constitutionality.

“The decision of the Supreme Court in Windsor reinforces the Executive’s conclusion that the Title 28 provisions are unconstitutional,” Holder wrote. Continued enforcement of Title 38 “would likely have a tangible adverse effect on the families of veterans and, in some circumstances, active-duty service members and reservists, with respect to survival, health care, home loan, and other benefits.”

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Christo-Nazi Bryan Fischer Spews Yet another Blood Libel

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Love Me I’m a Liberal

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And Then There Was One

From Tom Dispatch:

Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower

By Tom Engelhardt
September 3, 2013

In an increasingly phantasmagorical world, here’s my present fantasy of choice: someone from General Keith Alexander’s outfit, the National Security Agency, tracks down H.G. Wells’s time machine in the attic of an old house in London.  Britain’s subservient Government Communications Headquarters, its version of the NSA, is paid off and the contraption is flown to Fort Meade, Maryland, where it’s put back in working order.  Alexander then revs it up and heads not into the future like Wells to see how our world ends, but into the past to offer a warning to Americans about what’s to come.

He arrives in Washington on October 23, 1962, in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a day after President Kennedy has addressed the American people on national television to tell them that this planet might not be theirs — or anyone else’s — for long.  (“We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth, but neither will we shrink from the risk at any time it must be faced.”)  Greeted with amazement by the Washington elite, Alexander, too, goes on television and informs the same public that, in 2013, the major enemy of the United States will no longer be the Soviet Union, but an outfit called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and that the headquarters of our country’s preeminent foe will be found somewhere in the rural backlands of… Yemen.

Yes, Yemen, a place most Americans, then and now, would be challenged to find on a world map.  I guarantee you one thing: had such an announcement actually been made that day, most Americans would undoubtedly have dropped to their knees and thanked God for His blessings on the American nation.  Though even then a nonbeliever, I would undoubtedly have been among them.  After all, the 18-year-old Tom Engelhardt, on hearing Kennedy’s address, genuinely feared that he and the few pathetic dreams of a future he had been able to conjure up were toast.

Had Alexander added that, in the face of AQAP and similar minor jihadist enemies scattered in the backlands of parts of the planet, the U.S. had built up its military, intelligence, and surveillance powers beyond anything ever conceived of in the Cold War or possibly in the history of the planet, Americans of that time would undoubtedly have considered him delusional and committed him to an asylum.

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Obama’s Strategically Incompetent, Useless and Nonsensical War Push

From The Nation:

Bob Dreyfuss
on September 3, 2013

In the midst of President Obama’s reckless push for war—a strategically incompetent, useless and nonsensical attack on Syria—the International Crisis Group has put forth a useful counterpoint, namely, a path toward a diplomatic solution. However remote that might be, at this stage of the game, it’s the only way out, and it’s good that it’s been developed by an establishment organization whose leadership includes many former US and foreign diplomats.

But it’s too late, since Obama—with the able assistance of the Israel lobby, pro-war neoconservatives, and hawks of all kinds (liberal and conservative)—is all but assured of getting Congress to approve his wrath-of-God strike. Obama assures the public and Congress that his aims in attacking Syria are limited, and that he isn’t seeking regime change in Syria, but I don’t believe that for a second. You’ll recall that in March 2003 President George W. Bush, who at least had the crazed courage to declare his intent of forcible regime change in Iraq, jumped his own gun by launching a strike at Baghdad a day or two before the war officially began because the United States had intelligence, faulty as it turned out, that Saddam Hussein was in a specific location in the Iraqi capital. I expect that today the crack US intelligence spotters are once again hoping that they can kill President Bashar al-Assad via a cruise missile strike, thus decapitating the regime.

For Assad’s sake, let’s hope that his elegant and sophisticated wife, who—before it was decided by the powers-that-be that Assad was worse than Hitler was profiled by Vogue—has squirreled away a secret cellphone on which to call her family, since undoubtedly if the CIA doesn’t have the number to trace her location using it, Vogue’s helpful, national security–minded editors will happily provide it to the agency.

Trying its best to remind Obama and the world that might-makes-right isn’t the best solution in Syria and that the top priority is to remember to do what’s best for the people of Syria, the International Crisis Group says:

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War Drums: Obama Hints at a Much Larger Attack in Syria to Order to Win Over Republicans

From Alternet:

President suggests missile strikes could lead to longer-term mission after political negotiations in Washington.

By Dan Roberts, Spencer Ackerman
September 3, 2013

Barack Obama portrayed his plans for US military action in  Syria as part of a broader strategy to topple  Bashar al-Assad, as tougher White House rhetoric began  to win over sceptical Republicans in Congress on Tuesday.

While stressing that Washington’s primary goal remained “limited and proportional” attacks, to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and deter their future use, the president hinted at a broader long-term mission that may ultimately bring about a change of regime.

“It also fits into a broader strategy that can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic, economic and political pressure required – so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability, not only to Syria but to the region,” he told senior members of Congress at a White House meeting on Tuesday.

Obama has long spoken of the US desire to see Assad step down, but this is the first time he has linked that policy objective to his threatened military strikes against Syria. It follows pressure on Monday,  from senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to make such a goal more explicit.

The apparent change of emphasis appeared to resolve some of the political deadlock on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, as House speaker John Boehner and a series of other Republican leaders announced that they would back the president’s call for military authorisation from Congress.

There was more good news for Obama when secretary of state John Kerry and defence secretary Chuck Hagel got a relatively easy ride when they testified later to the Senate foreign relations committee, convened in special session to discuss the issue of military authorisation.

The endorsement of GOP leaders could be important in winning over the Republican-controlled House, where Obama has failed to win any support since his re-election in November. But even the Republican leadership has struggled to control Tea Party radicals in the House, and an anti-interventionist wing in the Senate led by Rand Paul remains a substantial challenge for the White House.

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