The Minnesota Star-Tribune is under fire for publishing a full-page ad in Sunday's paper that relies on discredited, fear-mongering tactics to oppose a proposed plan to adopt trans-inclusive policies for student athletes at Minnestota high schools, reports local LGBT media outlet The Column.
The full-page ad, purchased by the anti-trans Minnesota Child Protection League, depicts a common, bigoted tactic used by those who oppose trans-inclusion in public accommodations: Misgendering transgender women and then implying their presence in women's locker rooms is a threat to minors.
Its text, superimposed over an image of bathroom tile and shower fixtures, reads, "A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU ok with that?"
Below, the ad urges parents to oppose a new policy under consideration by the Minnesota State High School League that would allow trans athletes to play on athletic teams that correspond with their gender identity, similar to policies adopted in California, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, and several other states around the country. The Minnesota State High School League will vote on whether to adopt the trans-inclusive language at meetings scheduled for October 1 and 2.
The Minnesota Child Protection League, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an active antigay hate group, draws on arguments long debunked by experts and trans rights activists, who emphasize that transgender people's presence in gender-segregated spaces does not pose a risk to other occupants. To the contrary, it is more common that trans people — especially trans women — are threatened or attacked in restrooms and locker rooms.
The Minnesota Child Protection League was one of the most vocal opponent to the state's recently passed antibullying bill, recycling the same transphobic tropes in an unsuccessful effort to stop the state legislature from strengthening antibullying legislation that explicitly protected LGBT students. Nevertheless, that legislation passed in April.
While the Star-Tribune's Vice President of marketing and public relations Steven Yaeger has defended his choice to run the ad, telling Minneapolis City Pages that it "met all the requirements of our ad policy," many of the newspaper's readers have been vocal about their opposition, notes the New Civil Rights Movement.
On social media, many citizens have urged others to cancel their Star-Tribune subscriptions, while others have simply expressed their disgust with the newspaper's decision. Others noted that the full-page ad did not include the phrase "advertisement" at the top of the page, usually included on such pages to distinguish the content from that formally endorsed by the publication. Read some of the tweets below.
— Guante (@elguante) September 30, 2014
I'm ready to cancel my @StarTribune Sunday subscription over the ridiculous anti-transgender ad they allowed in today's paper.
— Kevin Myers (@MyFansanity) September 28, 2014
— Mpls in Motion (@MplsinMotion) September 29, 2014
— Dor Dotson (@dordotson) September 29, 2014
— Växjö Åberg (@Vaxjo) September 29, 2014
By bullshit I mean the idea that trans students would be predators. That is an ignorant statement. The #Strib is now publishing hate speech.
— Fox (@foxsmoulder) September 29, 2014
— David Brauer (@dbrauer) September 28, 2014