More than 10,000 New York Times readers have signed on to the GLAAD-led letter calling for the paper to improve its coverage of transgender issues.
A coalition of organizations, activists, and celebrities had already signed on to the letter, delivered February 15, denouncing the Timesfor giving a platform to anti-trans views. “For those of us who truly treasured the Times’ coverage for so many years, it is appalling to see how the news and opinion pages are now full of misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous ‘both sides’ fearmongering and bad faith ‘just asking questions’ coverage,” the letter read in part. “We won’t stand for the Times platforming lies, bias, fringe theories, and dangerous inaccuracies. We demand fair coverage, we demand that the Times platform trans voices as both sources and full-time writers and editors, and we demand a meeting between Times leadership and the transgender community.”
The letter has been available on GLAAD’s website for the general public to sign, and GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign announced Friday that those signatures had exceeded 10,000 and came from all 50 states.
To highlight that fact, the coalition flew an airplane across New York City at 9 a.m. with a banner stating “10k NYT readers say: better trans stories!”
The members of the coalition include GLAAD, HRC, PFLAG, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Women’s March, Judd Apatow, Margaret Cho, Wilson Cruz, Tommy Dorfman, Lena Dunham, Jameela Jamil, Peppermint, Ashlee Marie Preston, Shakina, Amy Schneider, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Bishop Gene Robinson, Jonathan Van Ness, and many more.
The same day the coalition letter was delivered, another one, signed by more than 180 Times contributors, was brought to the paper. The signatories to that letter now exceed 1,000. Signers include Ashley P. Ford, Roxane Gay, Carmen Maria Machado, Thomas Page McBee, Andrea Long Chu, John Cameron Mitchell, Zach Stafford, Raquel Willis, and others.
“Plenty of reporters at the Times cover trans issues fairly,” the letter noted. “Their work is eclipsed, however, by what one journalist has calculated as over 15,000 words of front-page Times coverage debating the propriety of medical care for trans children published in the last eight months alone.”
The Times has yet to respond to the concerns raised by the coalition but sent a memo to reporters warning them not to cooperate with advocacy groups. The memo conflated the two letters. The paper’s only public statement has been this: “We received the letter from GLAAD and welcome their feedback. We understand how GLAAD sees our coverage. But at the same time, we recognize that GLAAD’s advocacy mission and the Times’s journalistic mission are different.”
GLAAD, HRC, and others criticized the Times further for running a column February 16 contending that author J.K. Rowling is not a transphobe. The columnist was Pamela Paul, a cisgender woman who has espoused views that many see as anti-LGBTQ+.
In announcing the new signatories Friday, HRC released a statement on the ongoing Times situation. “Last week, HRC joined hundreds of people and organizations, including many of the Times’ own contributors, to call on the New York Times to stop publishing stories that harm the transgender and nonbinary community,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson. “And just one day later, yet another transphobic column by one of their most consistently anti-transgender opinion writers is published to defend one of the most famous transphobic writers in the world. The circumstances are so outlandish that I almost can’t believe it— but that’s the reality for transgender people in our country: every day is a battle. And now, 10,000 readers from all 50 states agree: the Times must stop consistently platforming anti-LGBTQ+ extremists. They must do better, because there are real lives at stake.”