A group of young intersex writers and advocates Monday issued an open letter to Fox News — and anyone else who doesn't know about their gender identity and the challenges they face in society — in the wake of Fox commentators' dismissive comments.
Two weeks ago, Facebook announced more than 50 new gender options for user profiles, a bold move intended to embrace the diverse gender identities of its 1.23 billion users. Alongside "male" and "female," a "custom" option was added, offering users the choice of such terms as "intersex," "transgender," or "gender fluid." The change, applauded by many LGBTQ advocates and allies, was met with laughter at Fox News and other conservative outlets, where commentators were quick to deride the new options. Fox & Friends cohosts Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Tucker Carlson, and Clayton Morris spent their Valentine's Day episode openly mocking Facebook, with Carlson denigrating the term "intersex, whatever that means."
Published on GLAAD's website, the letter seizes on the Fox incident as a "teachable moment" that "biological sex is a spectrum."
"Every individual should have the right to accurately (and comfortably) represent themselves as they see fit on a social media platform," the letter reads, in defense of Facebook's broadened options.
"People who are intersex face challenges everyday," the letter states, citing the difficulty of choosing either "male" or "female" on forms that only present gender as a binary. The letter further asserts that intersex conditions are routinely "misunderstood and fetishized, in print and on television."
The authors conclude the letter with an invitation to Fox personalities — and anyone seeking clarity about "intersex" people and the discrimination they face — to visit the Inter/Act website.
Read a commentary on the Fox News situation here.