ACTION ALERT: Tell the NY Post to quit its transphobic “reporting”

3/2/07 Update: I’ve been kind of busy since posting this, so I wanted to post a quick thank you to everyone who’s written to the Post, and to everyone who’s reposted this. I didn’t expect such a great and large response, and it’s wonderful. Please keep reposting!

NOTE TO OTHER BLOGGERS: Please link to or repost this!

An important victory was recently won in the struggle for trans rights, specifically around health care. Judge Sheldon Rand of the Manhattan Family Court found, for the second time, that the City of New York is obligated to pay for the sexual reassignment surgery of Mariah Lopez, a young trans woman of color who was denied this important and necessary medical care while in the care of the NYC foster system. The City is constitutionally required to provide adequate medical coverage for all children in its care, and SRS is a medically approved procedure, one that is often necessary for trans people. In the decision, Judge Rand wrote: “Mariah L. should be treated in order that she may go on with her life and be in a body which blends with the gender with which she identifies.”*

Fortunately, Judge Rand was far more understanding and respectful than most of the media coverage, which has ranged from iffy to downright disgusting. (This article from is the most respectful one I’ve found thus far.)

Worst of all has been the coverage from the New York Post. Now, anyone who’s familiar with this sorry excuse for a newspaper should know that it’s usually chock full of shoddy, sensationalist, decidedly conservative-leaning rubbish that they attempt to pass off as journalism, so racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are all par for the course. But the two pieces that they’ve run on this story – an “article” entitled “Free To Be He-She” and the even worse editorial, “Justice Isn’t That Blind” – are really just awful and enraging. Not only are the articles thoroughly transphobic, but the editorial also falsely paints her as a “sociopath” due to her criminal record, completely ignoring her history of activism and community service and the fact that she and other trans women of color are targeted and abused by the NYPD (see Holly’s comment on this post for more.)

The New York Post needs to be sent a strong message: quit the transphobic “reporting”! Show some respect, some decency, and some attention to journalistic standards.

I ask all of you to join me in writing to the Post and giving them a piece of your mind. Below is a letter to the Post. You can copy and paste it as is, or you can add your own touches to it or write something completely new. Whichever one you choose, send it to and (the writer of the first article.) (It would be great if you also commented here, so I can get a gauge of how many emails they’re getting.)


SUBJECT: NY Post: Quit the Transphobic Reporting!

I was angered by the Post’s coverage of the recent Manhattan Family Court decision in favor of Mariah Lopez (“Free to be he-she,” February 25, and “Justice isn’t that blind,” February 27). Both articles were deeply disrespectful of Ms. Lopez’s gender identity. By referring to her as a “he-she,” a “wannabe woman,” and, in the editorial, using her old name and incorrect pronouns in direct violation of AP style guidelines, the Post has clearly demonstrated that it is more interested in playing to societal prejudice towards transgender people than in following good journalistic practices and treating trans people with the respect that they deserve.

Additionally, the articles’ sensational treatment of this story ignored the fact that the ACS is required by law to provide medically-approved treatment to children under its care, and that Ms. Lopez was indeed a child under the care of the ACS when she initially sought transgender health care, including sexual reassignment surgery. Ms. Lopez was denied access to a necessary treatment that is widely approved by the medical community. Judge Rand’s decision will hopefully ensure that no other child, trans or not, will be denied treatment in the future simply due to prejudice.



* Partly in anticipation of certain questions, I’d like to clarify that I don’t believe that SRS is always a necessary part of a trans person’s transition. Transition can mean all sorts of things, many of which are not medical or surgical; it’s all about what one feels is right for them. I think it’s important, actually, to get away from a medicalization of trans-ness, because that often leads to people passing judgment on who’s “really” or “fully” trans or not based on their medical history. Which is, of course, complete bullshit, given that not everyone chooses – or can afford or access – the same treatment.

41 Responses to “ACTION ALERT: Tell the NY Post to quit its transphobic “reporting””

  1. 1 Holly

    Some more information that I think is pretty important related to the Post’s attacks on Lopez in their editorial, painting her as a “sociopath” due to her criminal record. The thing is, Mariah Lopez’s experiences with the police are already a matter of public record and press coverage, because she herself has been outspoken about the ways that the NYPD has targeted and profiled her and other young trans women of color.

    The NYPD has falsely charged any number of trans women with prostitution or loitering with intent to prostitute (and later had to drop charges, in some cases) when their only real crime was “being in public while a trans woman of color” or better still “being in someone’s apartment while a trans woman of color.” (Not that I even think sex work should be criminalized.) On top of that, Mariah’s experiences with the NYPD and the New York Department of Corrections have been chronicled by, among others, Amnesty International:

    The really absurd and shameful thing is, these documents can be found just by Googling Lopez’s name. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Post read them in researching her; it’s even easier than looking up her record in a police database. And yet somehow all trace of her activism, her outspoken voice working for the safety of her community despite her injuries, her struggle against brutality — is erased and converted into libels about how well, she must be a sociopath if she’s been arrested for those things. This is a very telling process of manufactured reality: don’t you dare resist, or the right-wing, Murdoch-owned press will have even more fodder to lie about you with.

    It’s already been a matter of public record, but with these attacks on her integrity it needs to be moreso: Mariah Lopez is an activist, a proud member of a community here in NYC that is pushed to the brink by discrimination, harassment, and police brutality, things that she’s been on the receiving end of and continues to struggle against. She’s worked with a bunch of amazing local organizations including the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, FIERCE, People of Color in Crisis, the Audre Lorde Project, etc. Don’t believe the lies.

  2. 2 Jay Sennett

    sent my email!

    Thanks for doing this.

  3. 3 emily

    OMFG. Thank you for posting this. I didn’t bother reading the editorial because if I read too much hatred in one day I get hives, and I have hives already and don’t need more.

    The only nice thing is that they quote her mother supporting her some. But in an awful context. It doesn’t really mediate the awful. Just one of those moments when the hegemonic discourse allows a counterdiscourse to peek through, only to crush the life out of it.

    Email sent.

  4. 4 Maegan la Mala

    Since I avoid the post like the plague gracias for posting this. I will send off an email and am going to link to this story on VL

  5. 5 Conor Malone

    Email sent – good work!

  6. 6 Kate

    Thanks. I e-mailed the post and the original author.

  7. 7 danny

    emails sent

  8. 8 SR

    Emails sent – Thanks bunches Jack, and thanks to SRLP listserv for passing this on.

  9. 9 Charles S

    Thanks for publicizing this.

    Email sent.

    I think it might be worth incorporating part of Holly’s comment concerning Mariah’s criminal record in the cut and paste letter.

  10. 10 Emily O.

    Thanks for the alert…two angry e-mails sent.

  11. 11 Wesley

    Email sent. -Wes, New Orleans

  12. 12 Dylan

    Excellent entry and letter. Also, thank you for contacting me by email about this. I have sent the letter onward and hope change results. An apology at the very least.

  13. 13 A.J. Luxton

    Thanks for doing this. I’ve written in, using your email body and the subject line, “Crossing the fine line between sensationalism and hate speech.”

  14. 14 bean

    I sent my email, and I know that at least 2 of my readers have as well. Thanks for getting this campaign going, Jack, and don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help!

  15. 15 Rebka

    I have sent my email and have posted your action alert on by blog. Thanks for getting the word out about this.

  16. 16 S Aakash Kishore

    Email sent!

  17. 17 Anna

    Sent emails to both addresses. Thank you for this, and thanks for this amazing & constructive space on the web.

  18. 18 Yeny

    Sent! Keep up the good work, it’s totally needed.

  19. 19 Lorraine Fontana

    as a former NYer and ally I’ve also sent an email to both. we’ll get justice some day…especially with activists like yourself.

  20. 20 Mystique L

    Please eveyone of us transpersons must come out so we can be seen and heard . Most important seen so they know we are among them! Just coming out and being counted is activism in its purest.

  21. 21 rachel w

    sent the email! nice work all!

  22. 22 Sid Lewis

    i’m excited by the ruling, but frustrated by the media response. much of that is to be expected, but the ruling itself is an important step.

  23. 23 D Scout Rose

    Letter sent! Congrats to Mariah for the court ruling… Shame to NY Post for the sensationalism and disrepect it displayed in their converage. I’m going to let everyone at my Trans Empowerment Group know about this letter campaign, so they can speak out against this BS too.

    Thanks, ya’ll.

  24. 24 Christina

    I sent an email to the address. Thank you for this.

  25. 25 KSW

    i just sent the note to the “news” paper by email. i’m from MA and am so angry that some foster children can be even possibly seen as eligible for med care and others not-is this my country? go judge rand!

  26. 26 M.C.

    Thank you so much for making the public aware of this issue! Since the only main news journals I recieve are feminist one’s and the Socialist Review, I often miss out on important things in more mainstream papers. This issue appaled me on the deepest level and I will defiantely be speaking out about this at my college campus next week! I cannot believe how much this system fails to not only postitively recognize and benifit trans individuals, and individuals of colour, but how openly hateful supposedly unbais news journals can be towards sensitive issues. Labeling maria a “sociopath” is just wrong and another example of how patriarchy disbenifits us on a daily basis. Thank you so much for yr blog! You never fail to inspire me.

    Love Peace Equality Revolution,

  1. 1 Tell the New York Post to Stop Transphobic Reporting « The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum
  2. 2 Jay Sennett
  3. 3 a bird and a bottle
  4. 4 Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » ACTION ALERT: Tell the NY Post to quit its transphobic “reporting”
  5. 5 Women of Color Blog » Trans Hate Confronted
  6. 6 links for 2007-03-02 at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture
  7. 7 Women of Color Blog » Links
  8. 8 Tell the NY Post to stop Transphobic Reporting « Ranting and Rejoicing
  9. 9 Feministe » For Shame, Ann Coulter!
  10. 10 » Blog Archive » Tell the New York Post to stop its transphobia
  11. 11 Link Roundup: 5 March 2007 « Vox ex Machina
  12. 12 Feministe » Who deserves health care?
  13. 13 Jay Sennett » Action Alert: Tell the NY Post to Stop Transphobic "Reporting"
  14. 14 Feministe » A Thanksgiving Story
  15. 15 Sanesha Stewart, Lawrence King, and why hate crimes legislation won’t help at AngryBrownButch
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