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Huffington Post Transgender Fails

June 5, 2012

HuffPo (short for Huffington Post) often reports on what they tend to refer to as “LGBT issues.” Unsurprisingly, their focus is usually on cis gay issues, which is a form of cis-normativity and trans erasure in and of itself, but they often go a step further and actively engage in cissexism and transphobia.

Some examples (I realize that I’m giving them traffic by linking to them here, so please click-through only at your own discretion if seeing the source is important to you) –

  • In this article about anti-gay violence, there are almost too many problems to mention, but I’ll try. The article starts out by staying that “more murders motivated by anti-gay bias occurred last year than any year since the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs began collecting data.” What it doesn’t tell you is that the number of murders is only around 1/10th of the number of trans women that were murdered last year. This is not to say that anti-gay bigotry doesn’t matter, but to focus on a FAR less prevalent form of hatred and sensationalize it comparatively is cis and white privilege personified. The article then goes on to state: “In 2011, 30 fatally violent hate crimes were committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender victims.” Unbelievable… because it’s wildly inaccurate; flat-out using the word “transgender” as an utter and complete throwaway. Do you know how many transgender women, majority of color, were murder victims last year? 221. How dare Huffington Post claim there were only “30 fatally violent hate crimes” against a group that includes “transgender victims.” Sloppy reporting, poor proofing, and outright erasure at work. Later in the article, HuffPo reports that “People of color, immigrants, transgender people, youth, and young adults were all disproportionately hurt in 2011, but white gay non-transgender men still represented the largest group of victims.” No. Factually incorrect. White cis gay men may get listened to the most, but they are not the largest group of victims if 1/10th of them were killed in the same time period when hundreds of trans women of color were murdered.
  • In this article about Janet Jackson producing a transgender-related documentary, HuffPo links to a photo gallery of “Straight Allies.” Acting like “straight” is somehow inherently different from or opposite of transgender? Ignorant and un-gendering. Sexual orientation is NOT the same thing as gender identity! Like cis people, transgender men and women can be straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc.
  • Putting the transgender section under the category of “Gay Voices.” What the fuck? Calling us “gay” by default is playing into the cis trope that we’re all just cis gays who want to be straight. It is easily proven as incorrect (judging by the fact that there are thousands of transgender people who aren’t straight) and extremely offensive.
  • As for their readers, this poll result says it all – the majority think that gay marriage is more important than: transgender rights, gay adoption, workplace protections, housing and public accommodations, sexual liberties, bullying, and LGBT homeless youth. Privilege at work.

These things are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Huffington Post cissexism, transphobia, and trans-misogyny. Please think twice before considering them to be positive regarding transgender issues, or even gay issues for that matter, unless we’re solely talking about marriage.

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