Target: Fred Hiatt, Editorial Page Editor
Goal: Apologize for providing a forum for transphobia.
Marc Thiessen, a weekly columnist with the Washington Post, recently penned and published an opinion article that conjured baseless fears as a pretext to condemn the Obama administration’s pioneering efforts to support transgender people. Marc Thiessen, writing in his capacity as a private individual, has as much right to unfounded prejudice as anyone else, but The Washington Post should live up to its journalistic obligations and refrain from publishing damaging lies. The myth that transgender nondiscrimination laws make women and children more vulnerable to sexual predators should be considered unfit to print, especially when a statement from The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women—signed by over 300 local and national organizations—state unequivocally that “Nondiscrimination laws do not allow men to go into women’s restrooms—period.”
In addition to the anti-violence campaigners who roundly reject the notion that accommodating transgender people threatens women, public officials across the country, from police chiefs to superintendents, dismiss fear of trans-inclusive spaces as unfounded. Media Matters quotes Nicole Monroe, a public information officer with the Baltimore Police department, as calling the idea that transgender nondiscrimination policies would jeopardize public safety “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” In reality, transgender people are often those who suffer most from the uproar surrounding bathroom use. As one young Washington Post contributor—whose words Thiessen twisted into supporting his position—noted, “68 percent of trans people report having been verbally abused while using the bathroom and 9 percent report having been physically attacked.”
Sign on below to tell the Washington Post that slurs on transgender people are unacceptable. Demand an apology for their decision to provide a forum for transphobic myths.
Dear Mr. Hiatt,
As a paper of record, people expect to find the truth in the Washington Post. While opinion columns are different from reporting, we still expect that the information we find in your paper, if not the conclusions that follow, will be factually based. Publishing a piece like Marc Thiessen’s “Yes, we should protect transgender people but we’re going about it in a dangerous way” violates that expectation.
Mr. Thiessen’s article conjures widely debunked transphobic myths to cast trans-inclusive policies as a threat to public safety. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, joined by over 300 local and national organizations, declared that “Nondiscrimination laws do not allow men to go into women’s restrooms—period.” Similarly, public officials in jurisdictions across the country which have adopted trans-inclusive policies report no increase in sexual assaults related to those policies. Media Matters quotes a spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department who went further, calling the idea that allowing transgender people to access gender congruent facilities threatens public safety “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
When you publish an article like Marc Thiessen’s, which distorts facts to play on the nation’s basest fears, you and your paper contribute to a hostile climate that endangers transgender people. As another contributor to the Washington Post pointed out, “68 percent of trans people report having been verbally abused while using the bathroom and 9 percent report having been physically attacked.” Apologize to your readership for providing a forum for transphobia.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Axel Boldt