Saturday’s New York Times ran a full-page lead National section story claiming “Transgender People See Protections Slip Away.”
The story, by reporter Lola Fadulu and photographer Annie Flanagan (who shares a story byline for the sympathetic shots of no less than five subjects of the article), is the latest overheated, un-journalistic genuflection to the aggressive side of the transgender movement, while conveniently conflating “gender identity” with post-surgery transgender people:
Nicolas Talbott, a graduate student at Kent State University in Ohio who is transgender, was told in May that because of President Trump’s transgender ban in the military, he would no longer be eligible for placement as an Army officer. He could continue participating in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, but the benefits that he joined for — health insurance and student loan forgiveness — were no longer available to him.
Note these aren’t necessarily people who have undergone operations or therapy to change their sex, but simply have changed their personal gender identification, a vital distinction that the supposedly pro-science Times keeps muddy. In fact, it’s odd that the paper is able to talk about transgenders at all, since according to the paper’s own previous hysterical coverage they had been eliminated a year ago by Trump fiat (more on that below):
Mr. Talbott’s experience is just one version of a broader story unfolding across vast portions of the federal government as the Trump administration has rolled back a wide array of protections for transgender people, many of them put in place during the Obama administration….
Fadulu relayed the transgender argument in the most benign terms (click “expand”):
The Education Department has rescinded Obama-era rules that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice or participate in sports corresponding with their gender identity.
The Justice Department has moved to roll back protections for transgender people in federal prisons, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development is trying to reverse protections for transgender people in homeless shelters. The Office of Personnel Management has suspended protections for transgender employees of federal contractors.
Administration officials and their allies say they are protecting the rights of people who do not want to share bathrooms or sleeping accommodations with transgender people, while safeguarding the religious and moral freedoms of medical professionals and others. Civil rights cuts two ways, and the administration is merely shifting the emphasis, supporters say.
“I think that’s a principle that all Americans benefit from: not being forced to violate their conscience,” said Emilie Kao, the director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
But to the people who identify as transgender, less than 1 percent of the population, the comprehensive nature of the policies feels mystifying.
If transgenders are less than 1% of the population (true), why does the Times cover them so obsessively? At its lowest point, the article suggests Trump policies could be literally killing transgenders.
At least 22 transgender people have been fatally shot or killed in 2019, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Nearly all of them were black women. Some fear that the Trump administration’s policies could be interpreted by some as a signal that such attacks are acceptable.
Some odd, unsubstantited anecdotes were treated as news (click “expand”):
Mimi Lemay, who lives in Massachusetts with a 9-year-old transgender son, said Washington policies were having a real-world impact. Some transgender children, in the face of bullying and ostracism, will avoid going to the bathroom at school if they cannot choose the one that matches their gender identity.
“I’ve spoken to people who have developed infections at school,” she said.
In May, Equality Florida, an L.G.B.T. rights group, organized a conference of homeless-shelter managers and housing policymakers to go over the Obama administration’s protections for transgender people in shelters. Later that same week, the Trump administration proposed rolling back those protections.
But what does the protection of “transgender people” look like in the real world, as opposed to the paper’s liberal blandishments? Sleeping next to a biological man at a shelter for abused women, or undressing in front of a biological boy could be an understandably stressful, perhaps traumatic experience for women.
Before announcing its plan to weaken protections for transgender people who are homeless, the Department of Housing and Urban Development removed links to documents that listed best practices for emergency shelters serving transgender people….
The story, which again led the paper’s national coverage in Saturday’s edition, ended with non-journalistic emotionalism.
Ms. Lemay has been having conversations with her son about the administration’s actions. She said she tells him that the administration does not understand transgender people, but that families like theirs can change people’s hearts and minds by telling their stories.
In October 2018 the paper embarrassed itself with its panicky coverage of the Trump administration’s initial stand for science by defining people in biological terms, under the headline “At Rallies and Online, Transgender People Say They #WontBeErased.’ That same month the Times ran this online headline: “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.”