Last week I stayed in London for three important speeches. It also follows what I believe to be one of the most horrific acts of trans hate ever to be publicly reported in the United Kingdom. Brianna Gay, 16, was killed when two 15-year-olds stabbed her multiple times in a park. Police immediately said it had nothing to do with her being trans. If that wasn’t enough, the mainstream media didn’t report it as an anti-transgender attack, and the government, because of its anti-transgender laws, got her gender wrong on all investigative documents, including her death certificate, because she were not allowed by law to change the birth certificate.
Here in the US, we are not talking about the 400 anti-trans laws that have been passed in the US. The issue is so divisive in the UK that there is literally the possibility of the UK breaking up if Scotland votes on whether to leave the union. So in each of the speeches I felt compelled to bring up her name, Brianna Gay, and give her what she deserved, an identity that her parents supported but not the British government and the mainstream media.
And we in our transgender health and legal support community seem to only want to engage in discussions on just about any transgender health and legal issue. The reality is that most of the anger is directed at those who agree with trans health policies, not those who fight against trans people.
We all agree that trans people and children have a right to their health and due respect from governments. We all agree that politicians, mostly Republicans, are adamant about anti-broadcasting issues.
In the middle of all this, GLAAD decided to start a debate over a New York Times report on the issue. They accused the NYT of “irresponsible, biased coverage of transgender people” and created a petition against the publication. These actions are why we are losing this issue and it is very sad that our national organization that is supposed to understand the media is just proving that they don’t. While GLAAD’s action will help their fundraising, it adds to the discourse that distracts from the real fight.
You cannot begin to fight injustice until you understand how those who support injustice are fighting. In this case, they allow us to struggle with ourselves and divide ourselves, and GLAAD has facilitated that. Here’s ONE simple point these Republicans use: They claim that medical treatment of trans children “harms children.” They are using the same debate that Anita Bryant had in Florida in the 1970s. Then it was Save Our Children. It’s a simple message, and it calls for a simple counterattack. But instead we get into the weeds and discuss all the health care and legal issues and attack the New York Times as the main culprit. Is this like Trump and fake news? The New York Times is not the enemy, Republicans.
GLAAD’s main talking point is that the NYT didn’t just print one side of the transgender issue, but talked to people they wouldn’t approve of. This is called censorship. In the end, the NYT will either find you out of place or publish a general statement that they learned from the experience. GLAAD raised more funds and we all wasted time that could have been spent fighting the real enemy.
My friend and fellow journalist Chris Johnson, formally of the Washington Blade, wrote an important one a piece on the matter, titled “Why the crusade against the New York Times shows that LGBTQ groups have outlived their purpose.” It’s a good piece, and it reflects how far groups like GLAAD have come, and how far they’ve strayed from their original purpose.
Ron DeSantis is the enemy. Greg Abbott is the enemy. Moms For Liberty is the enemy. Republican state legislators are the enemy. Don’t forget about it.
Column courtesy of Philadelphia Gay News via the National LGBTQ Media Association. The National LGBTQ Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a combined audience of over 400K readers in print and over 1M+ online. Learn more here: https://nationallgbtmediaassociation.com/