The New York Times has brought on an anti-LGBTQ+ columnist, David French, a former National Review editor who was once an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Timesannounced French's hiring Tuesday, calling him "an expert on the law, faith and politics." But GLAAD is pointing to his "deep history of anti-LGBTQ activism." GLAAD also notes that he joins the Times after the paper ended its relationship with acclaimed trans writer Jenny Boylan last year and brought on another anti-LGBTQ+ columnist, Pamela Paul.
"It is appalling that The New York Times hired and is now boasting about bringing on David French, a writer and attorney with a deep history of anti-LGBTQ activism," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release. "After more than a year of inaccurate, misleading LGBTQ coverage in the Times opinion and news pages, the Times started 2023 by announcing a second anti-transgender opinion columnist, without a single known trans voice represented on staff. A cursory search for French turns up numerous anti-LGBTQ articles and his record as an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group that actively spreads misinformation about LGBTQ people and pushes baseless legislation and lawsuits to legalize discrimination, including just last month at the Supreme Court. The Times left out these facts in its glowing announcement of French's hiring, and also forgot to mention his work as a co-signer on the 2017 Nashville Statement, which erased LGBTQ voices of faith and falsely stated 'that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism.' The Times had the gall to claim French as a 'faith' expert despite this known history.
"The Times' opinion section continues to platform non-LGBTQ voices speaking up inaccurately and harmfully about LGBTQ people and issues. This is damaging to the paper's credibility. The Times opinion section editors' love letter to French yesterday shows a willful disregard of LGBTQ community voices and the concerns so many have shared about their inaccurate, exclusionary, often ridiculous pieces. Last year, the Times ended popular trans writer Jenny Boylan's column, leaving the opinion section with no trans columnists and a known lack of transgender representation on its overall staff. Who was brought on after Boylan? Pamela Paul, who has devoted columns to anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ disinformation, and David French. This reflects a growing trend on the news and opinion pages of misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous 'both sides' fearmongering and bad faith 'just asking questions' coverage. The Times started 2023 by bragging about hiring another anti-trans writer, so LGBTQ leaders, organizations, and allies should make a 2023 resolution not to stay silent as the Times platforms lies, bias, fringe theories, and dangerous inaccuracies."
In the past few years, French has written columns with anti-LGBTQ+ and, often, specifically anti-trans opinions. "The sexual revolutionaries are moving on from the cause of gay marriage to recasting and rethinking law, culture, religion, and biology for the sake of indulging the troubled fantasies of a tiny, disturbed population of transgendered, or 'genderqueer,' Americans," he wrote in 2015 in National Review.(Being transgender and being genderqueer are not the same thing.)
The Nashville Statement, issued in 2017, was drafted in that city by a coalition of conservative Christian leaders called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, whose website says it "exists to equip the church on the meaning of biblical sexuality." Part of the statement reads, "We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness."
Last year, French actually praised the Respect for Marriage Act, which wrote marriage equality into federal law while assuring that it won't interfere with religious liberty. The act "doesn't solve every issue in America's culture war (much less every issue related to marriage), but it's a bipartisan step in the right direction," he wrote in The Atlantic.But in the same article, he noted that he filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case recently heard by the Supreme Court involving a web designer arguing that she has the right to refuse service to same-sex couples; he sided with the designer. And GLAAD points out that he has never repudiated the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the designer, one of its many anti-LGBTQ+ clients over the years.
Paul became a Times columnist in 2022. Her contributions so far include one objecting to the use of "LGBTQ" rather than "gay" or "lesbian" and another asserting that trans-inclusive language around pregnancy and birth erases women.