blurry Thanksgiving #feministselfie
Femme even with the shortest of hair.
Dirty Dancing: Tatooine Nights.
C-3PO: “Excuse me, sir, but I believe this is my dance space.”
Nobody puts Jabba in the corner.
I am a lifelong listener and a contributing member of four local NPR stations — KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska (where I grew up), WBEZ in Chicago (where several of my favorite shows are produced), Yellowstone Public Radio (because I love their logo!) and WFCR in Western New England (where I currently live).
I am writing because I was disappointed to read in yesterday’s article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/business/media/he-she-news-media-are-encouraged-to-change.html) that NPR is disregarding Pfc. Chelsea Manning’s specific request to be referred to as Chelsea and use female pronouns.
Trans* individuals face enormous prejudice in almost every aspect of life, and of course Manning’s life is complicated by the fact that she is so much in the public eye. It is common courtesy to use the pronouns a person desires, and clearly other news agencies such as the Associated Press, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post have gotten that message. I hope that NPR will correct its policy and give Chelsea Manning the same respect it would give anyone else in the news.
Specifically, spokeswoman Anna Bross’s comment that “Until Bradley Manning’s desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him,” ignores the fact that since Manning has been sentenced to prison for the next 35 years, she has literally no control over whether or not she will be able to physically transition, for example by taking hormones or having surgery.
Further, not all trans* individuals have financial or logistical access to hormones or surgery — and not everyone wants them. It is absurd that NPR (or any other agency) would be able to set a benchmark that must be reached before respecting an individual’s gender identity. What if Manning was able to take hormones? How long would it take before she would be considered a woman? Would she still need surgery? What kind of surgery? These are not questions that anyone is qualified to answer except the person in question.
Trans Media Watch has produced a style guide for the media on how to respectfully represent trans* individuals. It is available here: http://www.transmediawatch.org/Documents/Media%20Style%20Guide.pdf
I love NPR. I have several close friends who work as reporters and hosts, and it is the only radio pre-set in my car. I talk about NPR with my friends, family, and co-workers all the time. Unfortunately, now one of the things I will talk about is how NPR is lagging behind on trans* issues. I want to remain a contributing listener, so I am asking — please change your policy so that trans* individuals are referred to by their preferred name and preferred personal pronouns, regardless of their stage of physical transition.
A faithful listener
All covers copyright their respective copyright holders, all parody rights belong to me (as does the pup).
Vintage Ovaltine advertisement.
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