Search Results for: transgendered
This week’s news about the status of transgender members of the military makes this a good time to review some of the language that should and should not be used when we’re reporting.
For instance, we don’t say someone is changing or has changed gender. As NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists puts it, gender is “an individual’s emotional and psychological sense of having a gender; feeling like a man, woman, both or neither (gender nonconformity). Does not necessarily align with an individual’s sex at birth.”
Just as we respect people’s wishes about how they identify themselves, their names and the pronouns they use, we respect that their gender and the sex they were assigned at birth may not be the same. They may be going through a transition (don’t refer to it as a “sex change”), but they are not changing their gender or the fact that they may be fluid.
We can’t prevent public officials or our guests from mixing the words “gender” and “sex.” But we can be careful about our usage.
Other things to note:
- Do ask what pronouns a transgender person uses and then explain that we’re respecting that person’s choice. The clearest subsequent references, of course, may simply be the person’s name.
- Someone is “transgender,” not “transgendered.”
- You may have noticed in recent months that we’ve been OK with adding “Q” to “LGBT.” It’s clear that LGBTQ is increasingly accepted, but do be aware that “queer” is still a word that many find offensive.
- NLGJA’s stylebook is here. We don’t necessarily agree with everything in it, but it has good guidance.
- Our previous “Memmos” on this subject are here.
(“Memmos;” March 27, 2018)
The words to use and not use when reporting about transgender people have been the subject of several notes in recent years. We’ll link to them below.
This note is a recommendation. Today’s Morning Edition piece about D.C. police Sgt. Jessica Hawkins is worth a listen, read and look (for the photos) because of the way Gabriela Saldivia and her editors simply and sensitively told the officer’s story. It’s also a model for how to handle gender references, names and pronouns in such reports.
One of our core principles is “Respect.” The story does exactly what we aim to do: treat “everyone affected by our journalism … with decency and compassion.”
Along with Gabriela, the team included:
- Morning Edition‘s Andrew Jones
- Story Lab’s Michael May
- Digital’s Heidi Glenn
- Photo intern Raquel Zaldivar
(“Memmos;” Oct. 6, 2016)
Several times we have said the so-called bathroom bill in North Carolina is about whether transgender people should be able “to use the public bathrooms of their choice.”
In this case, “choice” is a loaded word. Proponents of laws restricting bathroom access to the sex on someone’s birth certificate say transgender people want to “choose” which bathroom to use, which also implies that being transgender is a “choice.” But transgender people say choice isn’t involved; that that this is about people using the bathrooms that match the genders they identify with. They say being transgender is who they are, not a choice.
We look for neutral language. One way to talk about this subject is to say it’s a debate over whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms “based on their gender identities or, instead, what’s stated on their birth certificates.”
As for “gender identity,” the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association defines it as “an individual’s emotional and psychological sense of having a gender; feeling like a man, woman, both or neither (gender nonconformity). Does not necessarily align with an individual’s sex at birth.”
We’re going to be using “gender identity” again. It could help our audience understand the phrase if we take a moment when possible to explain it, perhaps simply as “the way we feel about ourselves.”
(“Memmos;” May 16, 2016)
As we report about the administration’s letter to schools, the HB2 law in North Carolina and related stories, here’s a reminder: Someone is “transgender,” not “transgendered.” And it’s “transgender people,” not “transgendered people.”
Vox has written about the difference between “transgender” and “transgendered” here: http://www.vox.com/2015/2/18/8055691/transgender-transgendered-tnr
The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association has helpful language resources here: http://www.nlgja.org/
(“Memmos;” May 13, 2016)
Bruce Jenner’s appearance Friday on ABC-TV may generate news we want to report. If you’ll be involved in the coverage, it’s worth revisiting our guidance on gender identity.
The key points:
– People define their gender identities and we respect their decisions.
– We respect their wishes if they change their names.
– We respect their wishes on whether to be referred to as “he” or “she.”
– If they have been in the public eye in the past, we remind listeners/readers about their histories. Chelsea Manning’s story is a recent example.
The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association adds that if someone, such as Jenner, “has not publicly announced a gender identity, the best practice is to refer to [them] by name rather than using pronouns.” The NLGJA has some useful resources here.
Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: Someone is “transgender.” Do not write or say “transgendered.” There’s a good discussion of the difference here: http://www.vox.com/2015/2/18/8055691/transgender-transgendered-tnr
(Memmos; April 23, 2015)