Diversity & Discrimination

Issues ››› Diversity & Discrimination
  • NRA News Dismisses LGBT Students’ Safety Concerns Over Texas' New Campus Carry Law

    NRA News Host: LGBT Students Shouldn't Be Afraid "Unless They Have Been Living In A Cave Somewhere"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s radio show dismissed personal safety concerns raised by LGBT students at the University of Houston following Texas’ August 1 adoption of a law allowing concealed guns to be carried on many parts of public college campuses.

    Cam Edwards, the host of NRA News’ Cam & Company, cited a Buzzfeed article where a University of Houston student, who self-identifies as transgender and intersex, expressed fear of being shot if someone was angered by their use of gender-neutral pronouns.  

    On the August 30 edition of Cam & Company, Edwards dismissed the student’s worries, as well as those of other LGBT students mentioned in the article, saying he feels “horrible” for those students because “they don't have to feel that way and yet they’re being told by anti-gun professors, they are being told by anti-gun media, they are being told by anti-gun activists that oh yes, absolutely, they should feel this way, they should be scared of concealed carry holders.”

    “Unless they have been living in a cave somewhere in Texas and they only emerged to go to college, they've been hanging around concealed carry holders virtually their entire life if they grew up in Texas,”  Edwards continued. (While discussing the article, Edwards mistakenly cited it as appearing in The Houston Chronicle rather than Buzzfeed.)

    Edwards never read from sections of the Buzzfeed article, where multiple LGBT students talked about how they “regularly experienced intimidation on campus before the law was implemented,” especially from extremists who hold hateful protests on campus, and expressed concern that guns can be carried at the school’s LGBT center:

    Some of the students thought about protesting, but they didn’t think it would be safe. “We would also out ourselves in the process, which isn’t safe for many of the LGBT students on campus,” [student Robyn] Foley added. “Especially now.”

    [...]

    Many of the LGBTQ students told BuzzFeed News they regularly experienced intimidation on campus before the law was implemented — both from fellow students and from non-student religious protest groups on campus, which the students refer to as “Hell Yellers.”

    Many non-student religious groups, including one called Bulldog Ministries, show up on UH’s campus during midterms and finals and yell at students, the students at the LGBT center told BuzzFeed News.

    On Bulldog’s website, men can be seen in various locations in Houston holding signs reading, “WARNING: drunks, homosexuals, abortionists, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, witches, idolaters, HELL AWAITS YOU.”

    [...]

    Foley said they have had slurs yelled at them and been “intimidated” on campus before. Other LGBT students said they have had similar experiences.

    According to news reports analyzed by the Violence Policy Center, since May 2007, 885 people have been killed by concealed carry permittees, including 48 people in Texas. The gunman who committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history on June 12 by targeting an Orlando LGBT nightclub was licensed to carry a gun in public.

     
  • This Is How Trump’s Closest Advisers Have Talked About Immigrants And Latinos

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE & CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is planning to deliver a speech focused on immigration on August 31. The supporters and hangers-on surrounding Trump -- who would likely have his ear were he elected to the presidency -- include Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, and Roger Ailes. Here's what you need to know about their background on immigration and Latinos:

    Ann Coulter

    Commentator Ann Coulter's Anti-Immigrant Book Adios, America Is A Series Of Recycled Nativist Talking Points. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has credited white nationalist website VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow with inspiring her 2015 book Adios, America. In fact, many of the ideas presented in the book -- including her claim that immigrants “intentionally” set fires and litter -- appear to be closely modeled on those of white nationalist and anti-immigrant extremist movements in America. [Media Matters, 6/16/15]

    Coulter: Hispanics Will "Start Physically Attacking Blacks." While promoting her anti-immigrant book, Coulter complained about Hispanic immigrants and the "browning of America," predicting that "Hispanic groups will move into neighborhoods and say, 'We don't want any blacks here,' and start physically attacking blacks." [The Daily Beast, 5/26/15]

    Coulter: Americans Should Fear Immigrants More Than ISIS. Coulter has compared immigrants to terrorists from the Islamic State. During a May 26, 2015, interview on Fusion's America With Jorge Ramos, Coulter replied "yes" when host Jorge Ramos asked her about her assertion that Americans should fear immigrants more than the terror group. Coulter doubled down by saying, "If you don't want to be killed by ISIS, don't go to Syria. If you don't want to be killed by a Mexican, there's nothing I can tell you." [Fusion, America With Jorge Ramos, 5/26/15]

    Coulter: "'Real' Hispanics Are On Welfare." Coulter wrote that “"real" Hispanics, unlike Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), “are on welfare” in a May 2013 tweet:

    [Twitter, 5/6/13]

    Coulter Rejected A Hug From An Undocumented Immigrant. During a May 26 interview on Fusion's America with Jorge Ramos, Coulter refused to hug undocumented immigrant and DREAM Act activist Gaby Pacheco even when Pacheco persisted, saying the hug would be "a sign of my humanity and yours." [Media Matters, 5/29/15]

    Sean Hannity

    Sean Hannity Hosted A Town Hall Focused On Anti-Immigrant Fearmongering For Trump. Fox News host Sean Hannity dedicated two hours of his prime-time  show -- on August 23 and 24 -- to host an immigration town hall for Trump. The town hall served as an anti-immigrant bashing platform during which Hannity misinformed on crime and immigration,and fearmongered about the “absolutely staggering” effects that undocumented immigration has on the U.S.:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We have decided tonight to go in depth on the direct impact they are having on you, the American people. And tonight you're going to hear heartbreaking stories from just some of the many, many family members whose loved ones were victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants, and tomorrow we'll be joined by law enforcement experts.

    Now, to put it simply, the effects that illegal immigration is having on our country is absolutely staggering.

    [...]

    Tonight is about the truth. This is truth you will not hear from The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, certainly not CNN, the Clinton news network. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/23/16]

    Hannity Defended Trump’s Attacks On Federal Judge’s Ethnicity. Hannity defended Trump’s claim that the judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuit could not be impartial because he is Mexican and Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. And Hannity doubled down on the attacks on the Mexican-American judge by saying that Trump was “rightfully calling out the fact that there is a conflict of interest” From the June 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let me start by saying something else that needs to be said here. Towards the end of Hannity last night, we started the program, we covered a little bit of Donald Trump speaking in San Jose. Then I had a fight with Geraldo Rivera on the program over the issue of immigration and Donald Trump, I think, rightfully calling out the fact that there is a conflict of interest, the judge in the Trump University case. Remember nobody in the media covers the Laureate college case where Bill Clinton got paid $16-some-odd million, and many students from many poor countries feel like they were defrauded and that fraud has been committed against them. There's not one word about it in the media. Anyway, the judge in this particular case we found out is a member of the La Raza -- the race -- lawyers group. Remember La Raza? That's separate from the group that we hear about often, the advocacy group. But the word La Raza means "the race." So that's an indication that this guy might have radical views. Then we know that it came to light that the law firm, Robbins-Geller, appointed by the judge, Curiel, in this case to represent a plaintiff in the Trump University class action lawsuit. Well that law firm appointed by the judge, well they have a connection to Hillary Clinton in a couple of ways. One, they gave a $2,700 campaign contribution, at least the chairman Darren Robbins did. And it seems that Robbins-Geller paid the Clintons nearly a half a million dollars in less than a year in giving them paid speeches. Now I don't think I'd want a judge with those type of connections to that law firm presiding over a case that I'm involved in. And if that's not a strong case for a recusal, I don't know what is. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/3/16]

    Hannity: "I Agree With Mr. Trump” That Mexicans Are Criminals. Hannity defended Trump’s assertion that Mexico is sending “rapists” and “criminals” to the U.S. during a June 29, 2015, panel discussion. Hannity said, "I agree with Mr. Trump. As somebody who has been down to the border 11 times, I have seen the drug warehouses, I was there when criminals were arrested, I know the human trafficking side and the impact on our educational system, criminal justice system, et cetera --  our health care system." [Fox News, Hannity, 6/29/15]

    Steve Bannon

    Steve Bannon’s Fringe Website Breitbart News Consistently Uses Anti-Immigrant Slurs. Before joining the Trump campaign, Steve Bannon was the executive chairman of the 'alt-right' website Breitbart News, which  consistently uses headlines that denigrate undocumented immigrants. For example: “Report: More Than 925,000 Illegals with Final Deportation Remain in the U.S.,” “Report: Illegals Rushing to get into U.S. Before Trump Wall,” “Rape Deniers: 9 Facts About Illegal Alien Crime The Media Covers Up,” and “San Francisco Moves to Open Voting to Illegals.” [Media Matters, 8/18/16]

    Breitbart News Defended Trump’s Attacks On Federal Judge’s Ethnicity: Trump “Is Correct” To Question Judge Curiel’s Impartiality Based On His Mexican Heritage. Bannon’s website defended Trump’s racist attack against Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was presiding over the Trump University fraud case, agreeing that Curiel’s “Latino identity politics” would prevent him from being impartial. The article also attempted to falsely cast La Raza Lawyers association, of which Curiel is a member, as racist. From the June 6 article:

    Trump had questioned the impartiality of a federal judge.

    The controversy erupted when Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Gonzalo Curiel – the judge in the Trump University class action lawsuit – might not give him a fair shake because of the judge’s connection to Mexican political activism. After critics bemoaned such an accusation as racism, Trump doubled down on “Face the Nation.”

    “[Judge Curiel] is a member of a club or society, very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine,” Trump told CBS’s John Dickerson. “But I say he’s got bias.” The club Trump was referring to was La Raza Lawyers; an organization with the stated mission “to promote the interests of the Latino communities throughout the state.”

    Translated, “la raza” means “the race.” Imagine the outcry if white attorneys from Mississippi, such as this author, started a a (sic) legal association called “The Race” with the stated mission to promote the interest of white, Southern communities. Hollywood stars and entertainers, such as Bryan Adams, would boycott the state in perpetuity.

    Trump’s suggestion that a Hispanic judge may treat him unfairly because of Trump’s border security proposals, such as the wall, challenges the claim that liberal judges engaged in identity politics are never biased against non-liberals. And while Democrats were enraged by Trump’s challenge, Trump struck fear into the hearts of establishment Republicans not accustomed to challenging the politically correct code to which they have previously surrendered. [Breitbart News, 6/6/16]

    Laura Ingraham

    Laura Ingraham Didn’t Think Puerto Ricans Were American Citizens. In 2014, radio host Laura Ingraham launched an ignorant smear against Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, suggesting that her “immigrant family background” and her Puerto Rican-American heritage conflict with her “allegiance … to the Constitution.” Ingraham said Sotomayor's "allegiance obviously goes to her immigrant family background and not to the Constitution of the United States,” but Sotomayor is a Puerto Rican American who is both an American citizen and the daughter of American citizens. Puerto Ricans have had U.S. citizenship since President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917. [Media Matters, 2/4/14]

    Ingraham Mocked Prominent Hispanic Journalist José Díaz-Balart For Speaking Spanish. Ingraham  attacked prominent Telemundo journalist José Díaz-Balart for translating for a Spanish-speaking guest on his show. [Media Matters, 9/23/14]

    Ingraham: Mexicans "Have Come Here To Murder And Rape Our People." Ingraham echoed Trump’s claim that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, saying Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people. We know that.” From the March 4 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group’s The Laura Ingraham Show:

    CALLER: My thing about Trump is that, the thing is, he's not a polished person and I think people catch him off guard a lot. Like with the question with David Duke, I think simply he did not remember who David Duke was at the moment, and I think that caught him off-guard. I mean, obviously like if the reporter said, "Hey, you know, David Duke, the KKK member endorsed you." He probably would have said, "Well absolutely not." And the, see, thing about the Mexicans and murderers and rapists, everybody knows --

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Well, they have come here. They have. Yeah, they have come here to murder and rape our people. We know that. That doesn't mean everybody has, doesn't mean everyone who comes across the border is a nasty, horrible person, but they have violated our laws. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 3/4/16]

    Ingraham On Immigrants: "Nobody Has A Right To Be Here Except The People Who Are Born Here." Ingraham said of immigrants, “Nobody has a right to be here except the people who are born here.” From the March 22 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group’s The Laura Ingraham Show:

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Donald Trump this morning was on Fox News talking about what the responsibilities of the U.S. government is today with keeping the border secure, locking it down. Those who come into the country, that are allowed to be here -- it's a privilege to come into the United States. It's not a right. Nobody has a right to be here except the people who are born here. Nobody has a right to come here. And somehow we've become the depository of radicals and wannabe Islamists who believe they can come here, meld into society, and then complain about society. Or worse, plan attacks against society. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 3/22/16]

    Roger Stone

    Roger Stone Attacked CNN Pundit For Her Ethnicity, Saying It Was The Only Reason She Was On Air. On Twitter, Trump ally Roger Stone criticized CNN commentator Ana Navarro by writing that “Black beans and rice didn't miss her.” He later doubled down on his comments on the June 6 edition of WBUR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook, by saying that her ethnicity is the only reason Navarro was hired by CNN:

    TOM ASHBROOK (HOST): Don’t we have to have some level of mutual respect to keep this project going? You famously have tweeted after CNN anchors and guests, they’re “moron,” “retarded,” called them “stupid negro,” “fat negro.” Even in your own expression, that seems outside the realm of openness to unity that surely we need.

    ROGER STONE: Well I would have to admit that calling Roland Martin a fat negro, that was a two martini tweet. And I regret that. I really do. I think it was inappropriate and I’m sorry I did it. As for my criticism of Ana Navarro of CNN as being unqualified for her job, having never actually elected anybody or ever actually worked on a campaign  --

    ASHBROOK: "Black beans and rice didn't miss her"? That sounds like a slur on ethnicity.

    STONE: Well, why else is she there? It's not on the basis of experience or expertise, so maybe to put it more delicately, you'd call it casting, but I don't understand why she's there given her lack of qualifications. [WBUR, On Point with Tom Ashbrook6/6/16]

    Roger Ailes

    Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Reportedly Said Navy SEALs Should "Have To Personally Kill An Illegal Immigrant" As Part Of Certification. New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Roger Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room, that while Ailes has "been careful to moderate his immigration position in public," he nonetheless harbors appalling views on the subject. Sherman wrote that Ailes once said that Navy SEALs should "have to personally kill an illegal immigrant" as part of their certification:

    Ailes said that if he were president, he would solve the immigration problem by sitting the president of Mexico down and giving him a stern talking-to: "Your country is corrupt. You can now only take thirty percent of what the people earn instead of seventy percent. If you don't do that, I'll send the CIA down there to kill you." He had been careful to moderate his immigration position in public. "If I'm going to risk my life to run over the fence to get into America, I want to win. I think Fox News will articulate that," he told The New Republic a few months earlier. But Ailes told [Philipstown, NY supervisor Richard] Shea that as president he would send Navy SEAL trainees to the border as part of a certification program: "I would make it a requirement that you would have to personally kill an illegal immigrant coming into the country. They would have to bring home a dead body."  [The Loudest Voice in the Room, page 392, via Media Matters, 7/20/16]

  • Fox Regular: The Problem With Community Policing Is "That Young Black Males Don't Respect Authority"

    Sheriff David Clarke: "Why Is It That Young Black Males Don't Respect Authority?”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): What about that, community policing? The greater connection between law enforcement and the community. What's the problem with that if any? Why aren't we just seeing that everywhere?  
     
    DAVID CLARKE: Well, first of all, it's a two-way street. Any relationship is a two-way street. And what we're doing too much of is focusing on what the police can do better. Everybody can always do better. I try to do that with my organization every day. I tell them I need your best. We can get better. But nobody focuses on some of the things that are happening within the community. Why is it that young black males don't respect authority? Why is it so many young black males will not comply with a law enforcement officers lawful commands to take them into custody?

    Previously:

    Fox Regular David Clarke: Black Lives Matter Is "Garbage," A "Subversive Movement" Advocating "The Overthrow" Of Our Government

    Fox Regular David Clarke Disregards Obama’s Comments On The Shooting Of Dallas Police Officers To Claim President “Fuels This Sort Of Anger”

    Fox Regular David Clarke: "The Only Remnant Of Oppression [Left] For Black People" In America Is "The Democrat Party"

  • On Fox, Trump Surrogate Defends Tweeting Fake Picture Of Hillary Clinton In Black Face

    Mark Burns: "The Point Is, The Message Is Still True"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of Fox New's The Kelly File:

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST):  I got to ask you one other question because you said on another tweet that it turned out to be a fake picture of Hillary and Bill. In this one, they were at some sort of a costume party, and it showed her in blackface. It turned out it wasn't them. It was a fake picture, and I think you've acknowledged that now. Do you need to be more careful in your messaging and with the Twitter? 

    MARK  BURNS: My message still stands. I still stand by -- of course obviously that turned out to be a false picture. But hey --

    KELLY: That's two you've had to pull back.

    BURNS: People do make mistakes, like Facebook, they doing it to you right now on Facebook.

    KELLY: Yeah, but you're doing this. I don't have Facebook here, I have you. 

    BURNS: The point that I'm making is, you know, people make mistakes. But the point is, the message is still true. I'm standing behind my message. I'm not apologizing for that. Somebody got to speak up and tell the truth. It's going to be me. 

    Previously
    White Anchor Dismisses Criticism Of Trump Surrogate Who Tweeted A Cartoon Of Clinton In Blackface 

    On Fox, Trump Surrogate Pushes Conspiracy That Abortion Clinics Are “Strategically” Placed To Target Black Communities

    On MSNBC, Trump Surrogate Says Trump Will Not Allow Businesses To Continue To "Rape" America

  • Donald Trump’s Probable Immigration Plan Will Be Ripped Straight From Right-Wing Media

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & NINA MAST

    Donald Trump’s speech on immigration is expected to outline the GOP presidential nominee’s policy on immigration. But Trump has already tested out his anti-immigrant positions with favorable right-wing media outlets, and the positions are based on false, xenophobic rhetoric pushed by many of the same conservative media outlets for years.

  • Flashback: In 2010 Larry King Live Interview, Donald Trump Advocated For Racial Profiling Of Latinos

    Trump: “Mexico Doesn’t Have A Lot Of Blondes, Ok?”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    During a 2010 interview on CNN’s Larry King Live, Donald Trump advocated for Arizona’s contentious SB 1070, also known as the “Papers Please” law, which compelled law enforcement officers to ask for proof of citizenship based on someone’s “race, color or national origin” or “thick foreign accent.”

    Trump justified his support for the law claiming “there’s killings all over the place,” “the drug dealers are coming in,” and backed the racial profiling aspect of the law saying “Mexico doesn’t have a lot of blondes.” In 2012 the Supreme Court struck down key provisions to the law, including the requirement that immigrants obtain or carry immigration papers and allowing police to arrest suspected undocumented immigrants without warrants.

    LARRY KING (HOST): Arizona’s new law – what do you make of it?

    DONALD TRUMP: Well, it all starts with the federal government not coming out with a law. They’ve been talking about it for years and they still haven’t done anything. And Arizona is really getting crime-ridden, I mean these people coming over, there’s killings all over the place, there’s shootings all over the place.

    KING: But do you favor stopping people on the streets?

    TRUMP: I think, you know, what are you going to do? You’re going to stop people to see whether or not they’re supposed to be there and personally as a citizen I wouldn’t mind. I really wouldn’t mind.

    KING: You wouldn’t?

    TRUMP: I would not personally mind.

    KING: You’re from Slovenia, would you mind if people from Slovenia were stopped if they looked funny?

    MELANIA TRUMP: Well I think everybody needs to have papers and be legally here. So we need to have papers if we go anywhere else in the world so people need to have also the  papers here.

    […]

    KING: But can you see where Mexican-Americans might be a little offended at – if they look the wrong way?

    TRUMP: Well I can see that, but if you think about it, I mean nobody wants to say it, you have a Mexican-American and then you have a blonde guy walking down the street, well Mexico doesn’t have a lot of blondes, ok? And these are the people that are coming across the border.

    KING: So you’re in favor of profiling?

    TRUMP: I am favoring going out and keeping – if people come into the country illegally I am favoring saying you have to get them out. You need laws. We have no law – nobody even knows what the law is. People are streaming across the border and sometimes it’s the drug dealers and what’s happening now the drug dealers are coming in and that’s a big problem. They’re coming in and they’re killing.

     

     

  • The Do's And Don’ts On Reporting On Anti-Bullying And Nondiscrimination Protections For LGBT Students

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Thanks to several recent legal rulings about protections for transgender students, nondiscrimination and anti-bullying measures for LGBT students are more visible than ever. As kids head back to school, journalists have the opportunity to break from the sensationalist, fearmongering coverage that often accompanies these stories and instead follow journalistic best practices in reporting on LGBT student equality.

    In the past few weeks, there have been two high-profile legal rulings directly affecting transgender students. On August 22, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s recent guidance directing all public schools to provide transgender students with access to sex-segregated facilities that are consistent with a student’s gender identity. On August 3, the Supreme Court granted an emergency appeal from a Virginia school board to prevent a transgender boy from using the boys bathroom at his high school. The two August decisions come on the heels of this spring’s high-profile national debate over transgender equality, which centered largely around access to restrooms and other public accommodations.

    As both of these cases continue to make their way through the legal system, the discussion about LGBT student equality isn’t going away. In the past, journalists have often stumbled when reporting on measures geared toward making schools more accepting for LGBT students, particularly transgender students. Right-wing media have a long history of sensationalizing and fearmongering over basic anti-bullying measures and nondiscrimination protections for LGBT students. As students head back to school, here are a few reminders for media outlets that want to avoid making some of the most common mistakes when covering stories about LGBT students:

    DO Accurately Identify Anti-LGBT Commentators

    Mainstream media outlets often fail to give their audiences relevant information about guests they ask to comment on LGBT equality, particularly when the topic is transgender equality. If a guest represents an organization that has been designated as an anti-LGBT hate group for its history of spreading known falsehoods about LGBT people, then properly identifying the person as such is essential to providing audiences the context they need to assess that guest's point of view. Journalists should be especially wary of hate groups, like the American College of Pediatricians, that use legitimate-sounding names to peddle harmful, debunked lies.

    Outlets should also be careful of using hate groups as reliable sources for stories about LGBT students. Fox has twice been caught uncritically repeating made-up stories meant to oppose LGBT student equality, peddled to the network by one of California’s most notorious anti-LGBT hate groups.

    DON’T Fearmonger Over Access To Bathrooms And Locker Rooms

    Conservative media have a long history of fearmongering over nondiscrimination protections for transgender kids. In 2014, when California passed a new law allowing transgender public school students to use the restroom facilities that correspond to their gender identity, right-wing media figures issued apoplectic predictions of bathroom harassment and inappropriate behavior, warning that students would pretend to be transgender in order to sneak into opposite-sex bathrooms.

    While mainstream media might not offer the same doomsday type predictions, outlets often uncritically repeat the right-wing myth that nondiscrimination protections will cause students to pretend to be transgender to sneak into bathrooms and locker rooms.

    DO Rely On Empirical Data

    When discussing the potential impact of providing nondiscrimination protections for LGBT students, journalists should cite empirical data from schools that have protected LGBT students for years.

    Nationwide, school administrators from 23 school districts and four universities across the country, serving an estimated 1.5 million students, have reported that they allowed transgender students to use school facilities that correspond with their gender identity without incident.

    Additionally, reporters should be sure to provide meaningful context about anti-bullying initiatives for LGBT students by highlighting the high rates of violence and discrimination against LGBT kids. Recently, the first nationally representative study asking high school students about their sexuality confirmed what smaller studies have suggested for years -- that LGB teens are at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers, with nearly 40 percent having seriously considered suicide. Similar studies of transgender students have found that nearly 80 percent of transgender or gender-nonconforming kids have experienced harassment in schools, with over 30 percent experiencing harassment by teachers or staff. 

    Journalists should also point out that efforts by school staff to create welcoming and accommodating environments for transgender youth can dramatically improve the conditions experienced by these students. Given the empirical evidence available, it’s no surprise that national organizations like the National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, and the American Federation of Teachers all support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT students.

    DON’T Sensationalize Training Materials Out Of Context

    Conservative outlets like Fox News have a long history of seizing on small details of LGBT-inclusion trainings -- like a suggestion to use the classroom nickname “purple penguins” instead of gendered terms -- to gin up controversy and trivialize the importance of diversity trainings. Recently, both conservative and local media reported on a cartoon “gender unicorn” illustration being used in a diversity training in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which a local parent called “friendly looking and deceitful” because the unicorn “represents the religion of sex.” 

    This type of sensationalist reporting can have a chilling effect on schools considering adopting similar inclusion measures. Joel Baum, director of education at Gender Spectrum, has criticized the sensational media coverage surrounding the organization’s gender-inclusive trainings for creating “a tremendous amount of work for school leaders who are overburdened and do not have time, quite honestly, to be responding to misinformation about what's happening in their schools."

    DO Be Familiar With And Follow Journalistic Best Practices When Reporting On Transgender People

    With much of the media attention surrounding LGBT student equality focused on transgender youth, reporters should be sure to educate themselves on journalistic best practices in reporting on transgender people. GLAAD’s media reference guide has clear guidelines for reporters covering the transgender community, key points of which are:

    • Use accurate terminology, including the correct pronouns, and avoid offensive terms (see GLAAD’s list).
    • Avoid focusing on medical issues, and remember that it is inappropriate to ask transgender people (including children) about their genitals or surgeries they have had.
    • Transgender people “are the experts to talk about transgender people.” Reporters should prioritize transgender voices in stories about the transgender community.

    Similar guidelines have been adopted by The New York Times and The Associated Press, and they should be common practice for news outlets.

     

  • Federal Judge Smacks Down Right-Wing Media's Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Predator" Myth

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    A recent ruling by a federal judge shut down right-wing media’s anti-LGBT “bathroom predator” myth, writing that there is “no indication” that a sexual predator could “claim transgender status” as a “defense against prosecution” for sneaking into a women’s restroom to commit a crime.

    On August 26, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a preliminary ruling barring the University of North Carolina from enforcing a portion of North Carolina’s discriminatory "bathroom bill" against three transgender people who sued the state after the bill’s passage this spring. The law, known as HB 2, bans transgender people from using public bathrooms that do not match the sex listed on their birth certificate. Schroeder’s injunction prevents the University of North Carolina from banning the three transgender plaintiffs -- two university students and one professor -- from using facilities that match their gender identity, rather than their sex assigned at birth. LGBT advocates are currently pushing to have the injunction expanded from the three plaintiffs to include all transgender people in North Carolina.

    In the limited preliminary ruling, Schroeder dismissed the claim, often peddled by right-wing media outlets, that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people would allow male predators to sneak into women’s bathrooms and commit sexual assault by pretending to be transgender. As Schroeder wrote, the “bathroom predator” myth has been repeatedly debunked by experts, and there is no evidence that allowing transgender people to use restrooms that match their gender identity leads to an increase in crime (emphasis added):

    North Carolina’s peeping and indecent exposure statutes continue to protect the privacy of citizens regardless of Part I, and there is no indication that a sexual predator could successfully claim transgender status as a defense against prosecution under these statutes.

    [...]

    As for safety, Defendants argue that separating facility users by biological sex serves prophylactically to avoid the opportunity for sexual predators to prey on persons in vulnerable places. However, the individual transgender Plaintiffs have used facilities corresponding with their gender identity for over a year without posing a safety threat to anyone. (See Doc. 22-4 ¶¶ 15, 30; Doc. 22-8 ¶¶ 19, 25; Doc. 22-9 ¶¶ 15, 19–20.) Moreover, on the current record, there is no evidence that transgender individuals overall are any more likely to engage in predatory behaviors than other segments of the population. In light of this, there is little reason to believe that allowing the individual transgender Plaintiffs to use partitioned, multiple occupancy bathrooms corresponding with their gender identities, as well as UNC to seek to accommodate use of similar showers and changing facilities, will pose any threat to public safety, which will continue to be protected by the sustained validity of peeping, indecent exposure, and trespass laws. And although Defendants argue that a preliminary injunction will thwart enforcement of such safety laws by allowing non-transgender predators to exploit the opportunity to cross-dress and prey on others (Doc. 55 at 4–5), the unrefuted evidence in the current record suggests that jurisdictions that have adopted accommodating bathroom access policies have not observed subsequent increases in crime.