The Post-Gazette And KDKA Both Need GBF’s Pronto!

I’m pretty disgusted over this. I don’t even really care that the PG will probably never again call me for a story. I should read more magazines anyway.

When I read this article about non-discrimination legislation in Pennsylvania, I was pleased with how thorough the reporter was – she covered personal stories, recent court cases, spoke with various authorities and even included the depressing fact that even with so much support, the legislation is probably not going to even get out of committee.

Assuming we are talking 3-4 years for the marriage equality court case (s?) to be resolved through the higher levels of appeals, that gives us 2 more elections to do what’s necessary to change this scenario – change the composition Pennsylvania House. It is just ludicrous that 72% of Pennsylvania residents support non-discrimination legislation and our House won’t even bring it to a floor vote.

That being said, I have to say – what the hell is going on with the Post-Gazette? Their coverage of LGBTQ issues is all over the place. Some pieces are quoting the same people over and over again, others (like this editorial) show no understanding of the concept of anarchy and then there’s the language. Ah, the language …

NOTE I realize that reporters are not in control of headline so in that regard let’s just say that inconsistency is the most common factor.

The article on non-discrimination focused exclusively on sexual orientation with only a passing reference to gender identity or gender expression. That’s a serious error because inclusive ordinances are critical to equality – we don’t as a community tolerate the idea that we leave transgender people behind to wait their turn. Yes, transphobia is a serious issue within the community, but in terms of advocacy – its inclusive or its not going to happen. That’s just selective reporting or poor information.

The article also made another huge mistake – using the term “transsexual” in lieu of transgender. When I addressed this with the Post-Gazette, I was told they were sorry my feelings were hurt. Really? You think this is about my feelings? My feelings are hurt when mainstream media outlets describe trans victims of murder by their birth name, their assigned gender and/or their mug shot – but those feelings are anger and outrage. I get called a fat dyke and cyberstalked by pissed off trolls on a regular basis – you do not hurt my feelings, you make me angry.

In this situation, transsexual is WRONG. It is inaccurate and unfair and simply not acceptable. Transsexual identified persons are typically part of the transgender community, but transgender is the umbrella term. Think of it this way – lesbians are part of what’s often called the “gay community” as an umbrella term, but lesbian would never be used as an umbrella term to describe gay men, right?

The Post-Gazette and KDKA have outright refused to consider implementing an policy or adopting a style guide for LGBTQ issues. The editors and the producers – and the owners, right? – don’t care about fairness, accuracy or consistency. It is fine if the anchor leads into a story with “The LGBT community …” and the reporter picks up with “homosexual activists are angry …”

It is certainly not for lack of trying. I’ve tried to have conversations either with local advocates or with GLAAD. No response. I’ve addressed specific incidents with folks like Tony Norman, Sally Kalson, Jon Delano, Jory Rand and Mary Robb Jackson. They don’t believe me, I guess. The fallback answer is either “i’m an ally” or some twisted logic that rationalizes throwback concepts like ‘homosexual sex’ or “sexual preference” or describing someone as mentally unbalanced because they wear dresses. That’s 1980s’ journalism folks.

To be fair, some folks do get it. Reporter Michael Fuoco worked with GLAAD on a story involving a transgender couple a few years ago. Kimberly Gill is excellent. And Jory Rand listened to me and I think tried to understand. When I wrote about WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh, their program staff contacted me to discuss in more details and they’ve been pretty consistently using LGBT or even LGBTQ ever since. And Mike Pintek and Marty G on KDKA radio actually do pretty well, too.

The fact is – this is not my opinion or my preference. It is the current standard in journalism. There’s an AP Style Guide. There’s the GLAAD Media Guide. The Washington Post and the New York Times have clear directives on what language is appropriate. The AP even revised language on marriage equality after recent court decisions.

APStyleGuide

This “la la la la” my best friend is gay/sensationalistic approach to describing my life and the lives of people in my community is ridiculous and only reinforces the lack of young folks consuming your content. There’s an entire generation of people who understand themselves as queer – they won’t touch your content because its completely irrelevant to their lives.

Frankly, I’m tired of beating my head against a wall. If the Post-Gazette and KDKA want to refuse to meet a basic journalistic standard, who am I to argue? So go ahead – homosexualize your sexual preferences with your crazy transsexuals doing their homosexual sex acts while quoted by the same 3 gay white men. Your content makes about as much sense as that clause, but I guess making sense is forever trumped by making cents?

I’m going to switch the channel and read another paper. Because I’m starting not to like any of you – when I think about the travesty of how Philly and Cleveland media outlets handled the brutal, violent murders of transwomen, I’m starting to think how your stubborn resistance tacitly supports that violation. And I’m starting to believe that you actually don’t respect LGBTQ people.

FWIW, GBF = Gay Best Friend. Since you aren’t willing to listen to GLAAD or other professionals, perhaps you could hire some gay interns and ask them what they think? Maybe you can pay them with trinkets and pretty baubles.

Takei
George Takei might help you figure some of this out.
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