Published on July 25th, 2012 | by Wild Gender1
Trans People and Allies Demand Change from the New York Times
Article courtesy of the Trans/Gender Identity Media Advocacy project
NEW YORK, N.Y. — In response to a New York Times article called “For Money or Just to Strut, Living Out Loud on a Transgender Stage,” published online on the evening of July 24 and in the print edition on July 25, the Trans/Gender Identity Media Advocacy project (TIMA) is calling on all trans/gender-variant individuals and allies who are angered by insensitive, sensational reportage to action.
The article is part of a “summer nights” column series wherein New Yorkers and their nighttime hangouts are profiled by the paper. This particular piece follows the “T-girls” of Christopher Street from the perspective of author Sarah Maslin Nir, who paints a picture of “beauty,” and “buttocks-revealing shorts.” The article exoticizes the gender and sexual identities of its trans-women subjects, while alluding to a stratification between the presence of these women (who the column touts, are “mostly prostitutes”) and the neighbors who rent nearby studios for “$3,700 a month.”
“That Carolyn Ryan, Metro desk editor for (The New York Times) green-lighted a fluff piece on trans women, without even scratching the root causes for why these women find themselves susceptible on Christopher Street (in masculinized night space), does nothing to escalate the urgency of protecting New York’s most vulnerable citizens from material harm, from systemic discrimination, and from institutionally-sanctioned ridicule,” said Patience Newbury, community activist and editor of the Cisnormativity Blog.
“From this, The New York Times willfully fails to produce a humanizing climate for trans people, which in turn, vets a template for other local American papers to perpetuate against trans people and, egregiously so, trans women of color,” Newbury continues. “We are not amused.”
This is the second time in several months that the New York Times Metro Section has published a dehumanizing, patronizing account of the life of transgender women. In May, the paper published an article on the life and death of trans performer, Lorena Escalera, profiling her as a “curvaceous” curiosity rather than beloved daughter, friend and human being.
In response to outrage by the trans community, Ryan released a statement on behalf of the paper, saying that the NYT did not “mean any disrespect to the victim or those who knew her. But in retrospect…should have shown more care in our choice of words.”
The paper issued no redaction or correction and has yet to issue a response regarding “For Money or Just to Strut.” Clearly, there is a pervasive lack of understanding by the Times regarding the problematic nature of this type of reporting. As such, TIMA is calling on all trans/gender-non-conforming people and allies to contact the paper, write emails and call, inundate their inboxes with our voices. Let’s help encourage sensitive, accurate reportage of gender variant identities as expressed more regularly by the New York Times and all publications.
Call a representative at the Metro Desk through the NYT’s office of journalistic integrity at 212-556-7652 (press 3 for the Metro Desk)
Email the Arthur Brisbane, in charge of journalistic integrity at the NYT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email the Metro Desk directly: email@example.com
Email Carolyn Ryan directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email the managing editor: email@example.com
Email the Executive Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org