Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MAGNET's Panel on 'Accurate Coverage of Transsexual, Transgender & Intersex Issues' at the NLGJA Convention Sparked Dialogue about Misrepresentation

Last Friday MAGNET gave an education presentation at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) Convention entitled ‘Transforming the Dialogue: Accurate Coverage of Transsexual, Transgender & Intersex Issues’. Following the presentation MAGNET organizer Ashley Love moderated a panel which included Eden Lane (hosts programs for PBS, was ‘outed’ as transsexual when she was covering the Democratic convention), Kimberlain O’Driscoll (expert on the transsexual medical condition) and Sarah Blazucki (editor of Philadelphia Gay News).

Session description:

Transforming the Dialogue: Accurate Coverage of Transsexual, Transgender & Intersex Issues

Transsexual, transgender and intersex (TTI) communities are finally coming into the media full time. As the last five years have shown, a steady bombardment of images, regular TV characters, frequent news stories and mainstream transsexual celebrities have made their way on to prime time. This revolution of visibility is an exciting crossroads for these communities. However, many mistakes in reporting are still made. A major concern is the misrepresentation and undermining of the transsexual medical condition by transgender sociopolitical ideology. This session will celebrate our growth and then address concerns.

The first half of the session Ashley gave an overview of the terms transsexual, transgender, intersex, gender queer, cross dresser, transvestite and drag queen and explained why grouping all these extremely diverse groups into one label “transgender” is problematic and intellectually dishonest. She explained why this reservation ideology ignores and endangers the unique social, political and medical needs of transsexual and intersex people. The topic of ‘misgendering’ was discussed, as well as the unethical trend of many media outlets (both LGB'T' and mainstream) of using transsexual people’s ‘pre-transition’ name, which is a form of misgendering and invasion of medical history privacy.

The second part of the session Ashley invited the panelists up. Eden Lane discussed how she was ‘outed’ during the Democratic Convention years back, how her agent dropped her and how she sometimes “becomes the story”, when she is actually just trying to “cover the story”. She talked about how GLAAD’s media guide could be fairer to transsexual people. Eden discussed why it’s important to not mislabel people who are transsexual “transgender”.

Kimberlain O’ Driscoll, an expert on the medical condition transsexualism and who has been a nurse for over thirty years, said in her presentation:

“…Although the portrayal of transsexuals in the media has improved, there is still confusion over the difference between a transsexual who is an individual with an identified chromosomal medical condition and someone who enjoys cross-dressing or performing on stage…… Cross-dressers, transvestites, stage performers and those who refer to themselves as gender queer have been placed under one collective group known as the transgender umbrella. Those with the transsexual medical condition do not belong in this group, yet their portrayal in the media rarely makes note of this. Men and women with the transsexual medical condition are struggling to survive. Insurance companies and lawmakers refuse to assist them because they do not understand the difference between someone who has this particular chromosomal anomaly and someone who perhaps cross-dresses for an evening and returns to their regular life the following day. Accurate and compassionate media portrayal can help correct this.”
Sarah Blazucki was asked about a recent quote given in Curve Magazine concerning Mark Segal, the owner and publisher of the magazine that Sarah is editor at, Philadelphia Gay News. A Philadelphia based trans activist was quoted in Curve saying,

“Last year, at the Pride parade, the out-of-touch owner of the Philadelphia Gay News stood up in front of hundreds of people and asked how many ‘gay and lesbian’ people were in the crowd, but failed to mention the B or the T. I stood there, annoyed and shocked. To be honest, carving out a place for the T in LGB space continues to be a struggle, and Pride month is no different.”

Sarah’s reply to that was that the Segal “was just not thinking”. However, the issue is the problematic practice of ‘T’ erasure in LGBT settings, and the use of “gay community” by many gay and lesbian people as the umbrella term for the LGBT coalition.

Ashley then discussed with Sarah about why transsexual women are feeling slighted in the newer transgender ideology movement, and explained why NLGJA’s current revision of the definition of transsexual is inaccurate, and a subtle attempt to co-opt transsexualism into the transgender ideology agenda.

Justin Tanis, a former employee of NCTE, kept on heckling the entire session. He was upset that the moderator pointed out the inaccuracies and anti-transsexual sentiment in the alleged survey “Injustice at Every Turn”, which Lisa McDonald, a transsexual activist, calls “Inaccurate at Every Turn”. The survey seeks to appropriate and misgender people with transsexualism, and erase their medical legitimacy. Since Tanis was one of the writers of the “survey”, he had personal interests in attempting to discredit anyone or organization that unveiled the intellectually dishonest and manipulated data that was concocted into this survey. Whereas Tanis believes in the “gender deconstructionism umbrella” theory, transsexual people do not.

At the end MAGNET asked people to remember that whenever a colony seeks to emancipate themselves from those who misrepresent and oppress them, that there is sure to be a push back from those who want to keep them co-opted and silenced, which is why some transgender and LGBT opinion leaders and bloggers have been so militant in trying to vilify and discredit those in the transsexual community who are resisting the erasure and misrepresentation of their medical condition's narrative and legitimacy.

The good news is that the toothpaste is already out of the tube....and there is no going back. Now all the transsexual community has to do is organize, educate and correct the misinformation that is currently being distributed by non-transsexual people.

MAGNET is grateful that the NLGJA allowed a session in their programming that went against the grain, and we hope we can aid them in clearing up a lot of the misinformation about the transsexual medical condition in journalism, TV news shows and in both GLAAD's and NLGJA’s media guide defintions of transsexual.

Monday, August 15, 2011

MAGNET Protests Adam Carolla’s Transphobic Comments; Rejects His "Apology”

Adam Carolla adds to his long resume of offensive and prejudice/fear based outbursts with a new podcast where he went on a rant against people who are transsexual and transgender. He asked "When did we start giving a sh-- about these people?" He adds that the LGBT community should "shut up" about speaking out for equality because they are "ruining his life", when in reality, his fear and hate mongering is what is “ruining people’s lives”. He advised the LGBT community to exchange the acronym LGBT ("Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender") for "YUCK.", again, the only thing “yuck” is Carolla’s transphobia, homophobia and sexism.

Carolla recently made his defintion of an apology: “I’m sorry my comments were hurtful. I’m a comedian, not a politician.”

Ashley Love, an organizer with Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET), comments on Carolla’s comments:

We reject Adam Carolla’s excuse of “being a comedian” as to why he was promoting transphobia, sexism and hate speech. We know many successful comedians who don’t use fear mongering and transphobia in their material. This propaganda endangers the well-being, understanding, lives and rights of people born with a transsexual medical condition. Carolla should know there is an epidemic of unemployment, violence and marginalization in the transsexual and transgender communities due to the ignorance and fear he is promoting. The networks, advertisers and listeners associated with Carolla now or in the future should know that transphobia and hate is not funny or acceptable.”

Eden Lane, known as “the first transsexual broadcast journalist” on mainstream television, and host of 'In Focus TV' (program on PBS affiliate KBDI),responded to Carolla's defamatory remarks about her community. She tells MAGNET:

I was deeply disappointed to hear the degrading anti- transsexual remarks Mr. Carolla made on his recent podcast. Mr. Carolla might benefit from some kind of training so he understands the injury he can do to young people not only of a transsexual or transgender experience, but to his young fans who now may think Carolla’s “comedy” is an acceptable reaction to people who are born different.“

Eden Lane speaks out against Carolla's transphobic comments

Saturday, May 21, 2011

After the Public Outcry against GLAAD Mislabeling Janet Mock’s Medical Condition, GLAAD Edits Their Inaccurate Term “Transgender” to “Transsexual”

May 21, 2011

Shortly following MAGNET’s outreach to GLAAD and MAGNET organizer Ashley Love’s open letter to Marie Claire magazine, GLAAD concedes and edits their inaccurate labeling of Janet Mock as “transgender” and replaces it with “transsexual”.

Janet Mock, an editor for People.com, opened up this week about her transsexul history
In a public comment made yesterday by Janet Mock on her fan page that she addressed to Ashley Love, Janet writes:
"Hi Ashley - I read your open letter and was so so intrigued. GLAAD graciously contacted me this morning to ask how I wanted to be identified and amended their headline to Transsexual."
This week Janet Mock, an editor for People.com, disclosed her transsexual medical condition in an op-ed in Marie Claire magazine. Both in her article and on her website, JanetMock.com, Janet only uses the term transsexual to refer to her condition. However, in a blatant disregard for Janet’s testimony, GLAAD mislabeled her as “transgender” in their coverage, which provoked numerous LGBT news sources to follow the inaccurate labeling as well. The appropriation of Janet’s transsexual condition by gay and transgender politics sparked a public outcry by many transsexual advocates and organizations, who demanded that GLAAD cease and desist from rewriting the transsexual narrative into a gender queer and cross dresser agenda. Transsexual advocates explained that trangenderism is about deconstructing gender, activities, behaviors, lifestyles, fetishes, drag queen stage acts and or/ dismantling the gender binary. Janet is absolutly none of these identities or lifestyles. She is a heterosexual woman who was simply born with a medical condition in which she had corrected and treated ten years ago. She is not a “3rd gender” or gay male drag queen. She is a woman. Period. We ask GLAAD, the gay establishment, transgender ideology and the far right to respect this.

On Thursday, May 19th MAGNET reached out to GLAAD asking them to retract their inaccurate labeling of Janet because the transgender term misgenders and objectifies women born transsexual, jeopardizes their medical legitimacy, impinges on their civil rights, confuses the public, gay appropriates them and invalidates their womanhood. GLAAD continued on with their misrepresentation.

On May 20th, with GLAAD still choosing to enforce transgender ideology onto Janet, MAGNET organizer Ashley Love wrote an open letter to Marie Claire thanking them for doing right by Janet and other Americans born with transsexualism, which she posted on Marie Claire’s website under Janet’s article and on Love’s blog Trans Forming Media.

Later that morning GLAAD contacted Janet to ask her the name of her condition, although she had already said in multiple media outlets that she was of transsexual experience. Janet again told them she was of transsexual experience, after which GLAAD edited their website to accurately refer to her as such.

Ashley Love responds to GLAAD’s edit,
“MAGNET applauds GLAAD for admitting their mistake by editing their coverage to respect the reality of Janet Mock’s medical condition transsexualism. We hope this development leads to GLAAD reforming their media guide to accurately represent Americans with transsexualism, for as it stands now, the guide co-opts, misgenders, de-medicalizes, offends and invalidates their reality. We acknowledge GLAAD’s small step forward, though much work needs to be done changing the problematic way the gay and transgender establishments depict transsexualism. We ask people to keep their sociopolitical agenda out of the doctor’s offices and narratives of human beings with transsexualism. “
MAGNET asks people with transsexualism to please contact GLAAD executive director Jarrett Barrios to thank GLAAD for finally making an effort to satisfy the thousands of Americans with transsexualism who protest being called transgender. Contact Jarrett Barrios: barrios@glaad.org

We are confident that this new development will lead to more discussions which will bring about the authentic and non-sociopolitical representation of the transsexual medical condition by the LGBT establishment.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Anti-defamation Group MAGNET Demands Apology from NBC/Comcast for Dehumanizing SNL "Trans-Face" Skit

Saturday Night Live Mocks & Dehumanizes the Medical Condition Transsexualism

On Saturday night, Saturday Night Live (SNL) aired the most horrifying and dehumanizing mocking of women who are born with a transsexual medical condition. The segment, called ‘Estro-Maxx’, ridiculed the medical transition that women with a transsexual/and or intersex birth challenge go through. NBC/Comcast has yet to reply to the human rights advocates who are outraged that they would allow the writers of SNL to create and air this hateful propaganda towards such an alienated minority group.

SNL trans-face recap (WARNING: extremely offensive and dehumanizing): http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/estro-maxx/1279560/

Ashley Love, an organizer with Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET), explains, “For NBC/Comcast to allow SNL to ridicule human beings born with a transsexual and/or intersex medical condition in such a dehumanizing media assault is equivalent to how racist white men used to paint their skin black and perform “black face”, in which they stripped away the humanity and dignity of African Americans. Likewise, allowing the “trans face” skit to air is just as cruel spirited, appalling and will no doubt incite misunderstanding, fear, marginalization and violence (in that order) onto Americans with a transsexual and/or intersex condition. I’m shocked and disappointed that NBC/Comcast could be this socially irresponsible by allowing such bigotry on their platform. It’s 2011, not the medieval times; it’s unbelievable that such a tele-hate-vision crime would air on a public network.”

Instead of showing the female characters as women who were legitimately undergoing medical transition to have their mind in alignment with their body, they were blatantly mis-gendered and depicted as “men in dresses” and transvestites. Note: a transvestite is a man who wears women’s clothes for either a lifestyle or a sexual fetish (which is how the characters were shown to be), whereas a woman with a genuine transsexual (and/or intersex) medical condition is actually a woman who was born in the wrong body, and therefore takes medicine and has gender affirmation surgery to correct her birth defect.

MAGNET asks NBC/Comcast to apologize for their poor judgment in allowing such transsexual-phobic and dangerously stigmatizing content to air on their station, and to remove the segment from the future airings and Internet. Dozens of Americans with a transsexual and/or intersex birth challenge are murdered annually due to the fear and violence that messages like the ‘Estro-Maxx’ skit provokes. At this time the transsexual, transgender and intersex communities are desperately seeking human rights, acceptance, safety and understanding. Unfortunately, a highly visible media attack on their humanity like this skit is a major set-back, therefore we feel it’s not too much to ask for compassion and accountability. An apology and an edit would be simple to do, but would give hope to many. NBC/Comcast: It’s never too late to do the morally right thing.

For questions, media or to get involved in MAGNET's anti-defamation projects, please contact:
Ashley Love, MAGNET Organizer: magnet_right_now@yahoo.com

Join the Facebook group: "Demand NBC/Comcast to Apologize for SNL 'Estro-Maxx' Trans-Face Skit": http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1735278775162&set=a.1473220223862.2062968.1034352207#!/home.php?sk=group_150560178333091

Please Contact NBC and let them know your concerns, (but be more polite to them then their SNL skit has been to us, it’s always best to be the bigger person and be professional):

NBC Entertainment
Rebecca Marks: Executive Vice President, Publicity
818-777-3030 Rebecca.Marks@nbcuni.com

NBC Universal
Kathy Kelly-Brown
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & Media Relations
212-664-3457 Kathy.Kelly-Brown@nbcuni.com