NLGJA, The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, held its annual convention this weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., closing the event Saturday with the news that the organization had installed its first African-American man — CNN senior editor Sharif Durhams — as president. That positive news was soon sullied when an emcee made an offensive joke that riled many attendees, especially those who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming.
Ohio meteorologist Marshall McPeek welcomed guests to the closing event, where The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow and The Advocate's Diane Anderson-Minshall were being honored, saying hello to "Ladies and gentlemen, things and its."
The comment was not heard by everyone in the noisy convention space, where hundreds of journalists were carrying on conversations. But it was not lost on Monica Roberts, the trans writer and activist behind the website TransGriot.
According to LGBTQ Nation, Roberts quickly shouted back, "Oh, no, he did not. There are no ‘things’ or ‘its’ here."
The event continued, with the awards given out to Farrow and Anderson-Minshall (who were not in attendance) and the announcement of Durhams's hire. But later, McPeek went up to the stage and apologized for his comments. A day later, NLGJA announced on Facebook that he was no longer part of the organization.
Read more on Roberts's take on the incident and NLGJA's response here.