March 27, 2008

Media Says: "Trans people are trying to trick us but we have them figured out."

You may have read some of the avalanche of mainstream press following Thomas Beatie's Advocate article about his experience of pregnancy as a transman. It's a pretty good article and I appreciate that he wrote it himself - I'm not sure I would trust an Advocate writer to get the story right.

In any case, the mainstream media has jumped on their usual themes that they love to write about trans folks. Hawaii News, in a news story, not an editorial, has a variety of opinions about Mr. Beatie. First of all, they call him "she," I guess because they think they have him all figured out. In fact, unlike any scientist, health professional, or trans person I know, Hawaii News knows exactly what made him trans and why he decided to transition. Instead of asking Mr. Beatie or reading his article, they say that a friend said "[he] got the sex change because Hawaii's laws did not support same sex marriage."

Oh really? It's so easy to get a therapist who will support your transition, to find a knowledgeable, willing, and affordable endochronologist, to find a surgeon, to pay out of pocket for a major procedure that isn't covered that people just do it to trick the system and to get around a law.

Again, don't interviwe Mr. Beatie. Instead, interview a neighbor and claim. "Not everyone in the neighborhood is buying the story."

So Hawaii news writes a story about someone and without talking to him, determines that his identity and pregnancy are both a hoax. Great job.


Cat R. said...

The media coverage is indeed appalling, but the reactions on some "mainstream" blogs and repositories such as digg are outright atrocities. It's truly unfortunate to see how far this society has to go, and the extent to which transphobia is the new, "safe" homophobia.

Anonymous said...

Cat - I have been way overburdened recently and haven't followed the blog coverage very well. Would you mind sharing some of the kinds of stuff you have seen/heard?


mk said...

WTTO, Faux News has a predictable response- "man" in scare quotes, female pronouns, etc. Almost all the (few) comments at AlterNet are supportive. Feministe linked the AlterNet piece largely without comment, just saying it's worth the read, and the few comments there are mixed- a couple of us are taking on a commenter named "waldo" who's being an ass.

maudite entendante said...

FWIW, the BoingBoing discussion was relatively clueful, with the few transphobic comments getting pretty well smacked down with The Hammer of Sensible. There wasn't room for a whole lot of actual discussion, though, which I think is a shame. Not that I haven't proceeded to effing exhaust my capacity to discuss the topic on every other blog in the world in the meantime, and a few non-blog places, too. (They exist. They're called "conversations with real people.")

....... including, excruciatingly, my mother, about two hours ago, in Thing That Is Awkward Number Who-The-Hell-Counts-Anymore.

(Ibuprofen may be digitized and sent in copious quantities to entendante at gmail. Thank you.)

maudite entendante said...

Also, I'm amused the Loyal Opposition hasn't picked up on this yet. Maybe since he isn't from Mass, they don't care - but, gosh, you'd think this would be exactly the sort of Assault On Civilization they'd get all worked up about, no?