- The Washington Times - Friday, February 17, 2023

The New York Times is under attack by LGBTQ activists over the media outlet’s coverage of transgender issues, in particular news stories about children seeking medical treatment.

The activists wrote an open letter to The New York Times and it was signed by more than 1,000 contributors to the outlet and 23,000 others as of Thursday. There were well-known actors, media workers, readers and newspaper subscribers, according to a statement from the group.

The letter accuses the news outlet of biased coverage of gender diversity and said stories it published about transgender children seeking gender affirming care have vilified the condition while omitting relevant information about those who are critical of the treatments. It is addressed to Philip B. Corbett, the paper’s associate managing editor for standards.  

The letter argues that the news outlet is hurting the transgender community because its articles are cited in court cases and in testimony before state legislature crafting bills to stop gender-transition procedures on minors.

“As thinkers, we are disappointed to see The New York Times follow the lead of far-right hate groups in presenting gender diversity as a new controversy warranting new, punitive legislation,” the letter declares.

Asked for comment, Times spokesman Charlie Stadtlander said in part that the news organization pursues “independent reporting on transgender issues that include profiling groundbreakers in the movement, challenges and prejudice faced by the community, and how society is grappling with debates about care.”

The letter complaining about the coverage of transgender issues comes as transgender medical treatment for children faces increasing scrutiny from parents and some in the medical community.

Some states have moved to outlaw the treatments, some of them irreversible, now offered to children that can include hormone therapy and surgery.

The letter depicts those treatments as standard care and argues that the paper should not treat them as controversial.

The writers criticize a June 24, 2022, article, “The Battle Over Gender Therapy” as well as a Jan. 22, 2023, piece headlined “When Students Change Gender Identity and Parents Don’t Know.”

Both stories included the opinions of those who are critical of allowing children to transition or allowing schools to keep parents in the dark about students who are transgender.

The letter asserts that the first story “vilifies transness as a disease to be feared,” and that the second piece “misframed the battle over children’s right to safely transition.”

The opponents listed in the stories, the letter argues, are associated with “anti-trans hate groups.”

The letter likened the paper’s coverage of transgender issues to the way it vilified homosexuality in the 1960s and initially ignored the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

“A tiny percentage of the population is trans, and an even smaller percentage of those people face the type of conflict the Times is so intent on magnifying,” the letter says. “There is no rapt reporting on the thousands of parents who simply love and support their children, or on the hardworking professionals at The New York Times enduring a workplace made hostile by bias — a period of forbearance that ends today.”

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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