Stop Spreading Misinformation About Transgender Students


Target: CNN President Jeff Zucker

Goal: Criticize CNN for inviting legal analyst Paul Callan to peddle lies about transgender students and gender identity

CNN legal analyst Paul Callan recently criticized the new California law that allows transgender students to access restrooms, sports teams, and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. Callan argued that non-discrimination legislation has moved too quickly when it comes to transgender elementary school students.

On a recent installment of CNN Newsroom, Callan was invited on along with criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos to discuss the law. Both individuals voiced concerns without much explanation or evidence as to the validity of such criticisms. For example, Cevallos argued that the law could “infringe on the privacy of other children,” presenting the unfounded claim that the mere presence of a transgender student would violate other students’ privacy rights. Callan reiterated these concerns, saying that protections for transgender students have moved too quickly. He even questioned whether children in early elementary school could identify as transgender.

In reality, Callan’s concerns that a first grader can’t possibly identify as transgender are without evidence. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, gender identity is generally established in children around age four.

Callan is not an expert in child development or any of the issues he discussed on his CNN segment. However, the news network still gave this man the platform to discuss topics he is not qualified to discuss. This resulted in Callan spreading misinformation and lies about transgender children and gender identity.

Transgender students face discrimination, harassment, and bullying in schools. California’s new policy is not “moving too fast.” It’s giving transgender students basic protections from harassment. CNN should not be inviting guests who are not experts in the relevant areas to discuss protections for a bullied group of students. Inviting guests who are not experts leads to misinformation and the perpetuation of right-wing myths about transgender people and gender identity. Sign the petition below to tell CNN to stop giving a platform to people like Callan and Cevallos to discuss transgender issues.


Dear Jeff Zucker,

CNN recently hosted legal analyst Paul Callan and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos to discuss California’s new law that extends protections to transgender students and allows them to have access to facilities and sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. Both Callan and Cevallos presented unfounded claims about transgender elementary school students.

Callan questioned whether a first grader could possibly be transgender, but presented no evidence for his claims. In reality, gender identity usually forms by the time a person is four years old. When CNN continues to invite guests who are not experts to discuss LGBT issues, it leads to the perpetuation of myths and misinformation. I urge you to improve the quality of your programming and strive to provide the public with evidence-based commentary on legislation and issues.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: randomwire via Flickr

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