Unpublished letter to NYT about pronoun missteps

May 14, 2011 Comments Off on Unpublished letter to NYT about pronoun missteps

In The Reluctant Transgender Role Model, Cintra Wilson asserts that she is a “lifelong liberal” and “friendly with a number of transgender people,” but this ends up sounding like “Some of my best friends are gay.” Wilson seems confused and overwhelmed by her subject. As a queer woman surrounded by people of varying gender identities, I am disappointed to see an article in The New York Times stumbling with gender pronouns, possibly alienating its LGBTQ readership. In Wilson’s second paragraph, it is not Chastity Bono who has journeyed, but Chaz Bono who journeyed from his youth as a girl. His transition is televised. Wilson corrects her gender mislabeling in the next paragraph when she describes Jennifer Elia as “his longtime girlfriend.” The New York Times should update its style guides: articles about transgender people are prevalent in your newspaper, but the sensitivity and overall understanding of LGBTQ experiences is lagging.

Gili Warsett

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