Does The Post-Gazette Just Not Like Transgender People?

Pittsburgh LGBT Gay

The Post-Gazette editors are up to it again – shoddy reporting on LGBTQ issues. Not reporting, opining actually.

This time, they give Governor Tom Corbett “half a loaf of credit” for supporting HB 300 which would extend non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has announced his support for two bills with bipartisan support that would ban employment and housing discrimination against gays and lesbians in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Corbett explained his change of heart as a misunderstanding. He mistakenly thought federal law already covered discrimination based on sexual orientation, but now he recognizes that House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300 are needed. So do many lawmakers — the House plan has 93 co-sponsors, the Senate plan 25.

Unfortunately, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, refuses to advance the bill in his committee, imagining that it would discriminate against Christians. This is prejudice dressed up in the robes of piety — with no care that discrimination against gay people of any faith is allowed to flourish.

 

Except the Post-Gazette missed the gender identity part. It is not about discrimination against “gay people” and that’s not an acceptable generalization in this context. The legislation specifically includes gender identity (and expression) which is very important because not every state does. According to what I’ve read about Corbett’s actual statement, he supports the legislation which is inclusive and he did not specify that he supported it for just sexual orientation.

And I think he deserves credit for it even while calling upon him to show leadership on the issue.

I do not understand why the Post-Gazette editorial board is so insistent on this biased, inaccurate and unfair coverage of the LGBTQ community.  This is a snip from a (probably outdated) piece on their own website explaining the process.

Readers wonder why newspaper editorials traditionally have no bylines. It’s not that the writer is ashamed to have his or her name attached. The reason is he or she is writing for the editorial board, not him or herself — and the opinion represents the view of the Post-Gazette as an institution and as a citizen of long standing in the community.

Who is this mysterious editorial board? Well it’s no mystery at all. Its members are John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Post-Gazette; Editorial Page Editor Tom Waseleski; Deputy Editorial Page Editor Reg Henry; and associate editors Susan Mannella, Tony Norman and Dan Simpson. Together, almost like a court, they discuss and determine the positions that the newspaper will take and they write the editorials that you see daily on the page.

Ours is a collegial group in which everyone’s opinion counts. But it’s fair to say, as with many newspapers, that in cases of disagreement the publisher’s vote trumps all others.

Reg Henry just used transvestite in a column and was sad that I didn’t think it was funny. Tony Norman doesn’t agree with me about the need for a style guide and believes that the changing understanding of language makes this a unique challenge. Susan Manella seems to use “gays” in lieu of the more accurate “LGBT” which is the mildest of the offenses to be sure.

But it is telling that the editorial board which endorsed Tom Corbett and Jack Wagner is one where “the publisher’s vote trumps all others.”

So, really, my ongoing attempts to dialogue with the individual reporters are somewhat fruitless. It is John Robinson Block who decides. And apparently he’s decided to allow the reporters to use whatever language they want to describe Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community, with no accountability to standards of fairness and accuracy.

Well, let me point out again that the transgender community (and the bisexual community) deserve much, much better. The public deserves better. We all deserve fairness and accuracy. Repeat it with me.  Being an ally, champion and friend means you use fair and accurate language – whether you are chatting or in a professional setting.

And, yes, I’ve suggested trainings, send links to style guides, and so forth and so on. The publication does not care. Somewhere along the line the staff got the message that they get to use whatever standards they like when it comes to the LGBTQ community – there is no accountability, no responsibility and no concern for professionalism. It is an ongoing appalling display of stripping an entire community of it’s dignity and humanity.

The Post-Gazette is probably beyond hope at this stage.

But still I read …