Archive for March 4th, 2007

NY Post Follow-Up, Revisited

This post has changed since I originally posted it, after I was made aware of certain edits to my published NY Post letter; see below.

It’s been a busy few days, so I haven’t gotten to write much or respond to many comments. Over the next few days, I’m going to be catching up on those comments, especially those posted on my most recent post on gentrification, which has gotten quite a few.

The NY Post letter writing campaign has really taken off since Thursday, with many people sending in their letters and reposting it on their blogs. Thank you to everyone who’s participated and supported this effort.

As for the effects of our efforts, well, it’s not certain what those effects are or will be. the NY Post is notorious for its generally conservative slant and crappy treatment of topics related to oppression and discrimination, and I don’t think that the letters, numerous as they are, will really make them stop being transphobic. Nevertheless, I think that it’s important that we’ve hopefully made it clear to them that a whole lot of people think that transphobia is unacceptable, so much so that they’re willing to take time out to let the Post know. Who knows, maybe it actually will make some sort of difference to individual writers and editors there. Positive change can add up, even if it comes in small, slow steps.

A visible, public outcry is also important, whether or not it has an effect on the Post, as a show of solidarity with and support for Mariah Lopez and the wider trans and genderqueer community, and as a general condemnation of transphobic prejudice and discrimination.

The Post hasn’t published any of the letters, which is not surprising. They did publish a letter that I shot off earlier in the week, after reading the first article and before they published the even-worse editorial. But – and thanks to Holly for pointing this out – they edited my letter in such a fashion that it wound up coming off as fairly transphobic and disrespectful in and of itself.

When will The Post and its reporters learn to be respectful towards trans people?

Calling this woman a “wannabe” and a “he-she” is disgustingly disrespectful, not only to (old name here) “Mariah” Lopez, but to all trans people.

It’s not so hard to respect trans people – it’s a matter of a tiny bit of education and just being nice.

Would you rather try to sell newspapers through crude sensationalism or through respectful, decent journalism of actual substance and quality?

My original wording: “Calling this woman a ‘wannabe’ and a ‘he-she’ is disgustingly disrespectful, not only to her individually but to all trans people.”

I have no idea how I missed their change when I originally copied and pasted the letter to this blog. Using a trans person’s old name against their will, and putting their current, true name in quotation marks, as if to say it’s less valid or just a nickname, is just wrong for reasons that should be obvious. And the way they edited my letter makes it look like I did so on purpose. I don’t really know what to do about it; I just wrote an irate letter “strongly requesting” that they change the version on the website, but they say that they reserve the right to edit letters, so who knows if they’ll even pay attention.