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Notes

Recommended Reading, Listening & Viewing: ‘For D.C.’s LGBT Community, A Police Liaison Who Can Relate’ #

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

Earlier guidance:

- On Gender Identity
- ‘Choice’ Is Not The Word To Use
- Reminder: It’s “Transgender,’ Not ‘Transgendered’
- Guidance On North Carolina’s ‘HB2′

Related:

- NLGJA’s stylebook

(“Memmos;” Oct. 6, 2016)

Notes

‘Choice’ Is Not The Word To Use #

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.”

Related:

Reminder: It’s ‘Transgender,’ Not ‘Transgendered’

On Gender Identity

– NPR Issues New Guidance On Manning’s Gender Identity

(“Memmos;” May 16, 2016)

Notes

Reminder: It’s “Transgender,’ Not ‘Transgendered’ #

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/

Related posts:

–  On Gender Identity

–  NPR Issues New Guidance On Manning’s Gender Identity

(“Memmos;” May 13, 2016)

Notes

On Gender Identity #

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)