GLAAD, Celebrity Activists And Other Groups Call Out New York Times Coverage Of Transgender Community; Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham Among Those Protesting “Irresponsible, Biased” Stories

A coalition of LGBTQ groups, celebrity activists, journalists and New York Times contributors are protesting what they call the media outlet’s “irresponsible, biased” coverage of the transgender community.

Judd Apatow, Ashlee Marie Preston, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Jameela Jamil, Jonathan Van Ness, Lena Dunham, Margaret Cho, Peppermint, Shakina, Tommy Dorfman and Wilson Cruz are among those who signed on to a letter, which is calling on the Times to stop platforming anti-trans activists and presenting them as “average Americans without an agenda.” They also are calling on the Times to hold a meeting with transgender community members and leaders and invest in hiring of transgender writers and editors, among other things. Read the open letter here.

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GLAAD, HRC, PFLAG, the Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the Women’s March are among the groups signing on to the letter.

“The New York Times has long been the standard for excellence in journalism: A media outlet that New Yorkers, Americans, and people around the world looked to for ethical, thorough reporting, and thoughtful opinion pieces.” the letter read. “But for more than a year, the New York Times has stood for something else: irresponsible, biased coverage of transgender people. The Times has repeatedly platformed cisgender (non-transgender) people spreading inaccurate and harmful misinformation about transgender people and issues.” They blasted what they called “misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous ‘both sides’ fearmongering and bad faith ‘just asking questions’ coverage.”

Another group of more than 100 New York Times’ contributors sent their own letter to the Times, writing, that the Times has “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.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, pointed to the Times coverage that reports “concerns” over “the fact that every leading medical organization affirms healthcare for trans youth as safe and necessary.” “And even more dangerous, politicians are using biased Times’ articles to justify support for anti-trans legislation,” she said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Times did not immediately return a request for comment.

Among other things, the LGBTQ groups and activists are pointing to coverage from the Times Science Desk, which has featured stories on medical care and support for transgender youth. They pointed to a piece published this week that cited doctors’ observations of a potential correlation of “tic disorders” with gender identity. The groups say that the Times did not include that such “social contagion theories” have been withdrawn in academic research journals. They also cited an array of other coverage, including stories on transgender people in sports, as well as the hiring last month of columnist David French, a former attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has attacked LGBTQ rights. The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the organization an LGBTQ “hate group,” but French has called that characterization an “absurd claim.”

The groups cited instances when state authorities cited Times coverage in court. The state of Texas, for instance, referred to a story last year — The Battle Over Gender Therapy — in its effort to target families of transgender youth who receive gender-affirming care.

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