LGBT

Issues ››› LGBT
  • National Review’s David French: Lifting The Ban On Transgender Military Service Will Result In “Thought Control”

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In a post responding to the repeal of the transgender military service ban, National Review’s David French accused the military of “thought control” and lamented the decline of “warrior culture.”

    In a June 30 press conference, the Pentagon announced that the Department of Defense is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. The decision comes after a year-long evaluation of “policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.” As a part of the evaluation, the Pentagon commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation which found that allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military would not impact unit cohesion and result in minimal costs.

    French quickly fired back with a June 30 post. French’s opposition to this policy change comes as no surprise given his former career at the anti-LGBT extremist legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who are best known for attacking the rights of transgender students and working internationally to criminalize gay sex. French has a history of expressing his outward disdain for transgender people. In the past, he lamented “transgender entitlement” and once described a young transgender woman as a “man” who is “on the verge of mutilating himself.”

    Part of French’s argument for opposing the lift of the ban was to accuse the military of trying to create a “social laboratory” that is promoting “radical LGBT theology”:

    But this move isn’t about national security, it’s about social engineering. Many members of the military will spend their entire careers without encountering a single transgender soldier, but they will endure hour upon hour of diversity training and thought control.

    […]

    There will be members of the military (aided and abetted by its civilian leadership) who will take this opportunity to try to retrain the ranks about the very concepts of sex and gender, introducing radical LGBT theology as the government-approved, Army-mandated world view. And God help the Army doctor or medical professional who refuses to facilitate a servicemember’s “transition.” Good luck being a chaplain preaching about the created order if there is a prickly leftist around. The administration is moving the military culture to Yale with guns just about as fast as it can.

    Fortunately the warrior culture is resilient. Infantry platoons aren’t likely to go full PC anytime soon, but the Left keeps chipping away. It will keep chipping away until the horrible reality of the battlefield reminds us all that our military isn’t a social laboratory. Our enemies focus on war while we sidetrack our soldiers with social justice.

  • Univision Lifts Up LGBT Voices In Its Coverage Of The Pentagon Repealing Ban On Transgender Military Service

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Univision’s late night news program continued Hispanic media’s trend of uplifting LGBT voices in its reporting on the Pentagon’s announcement that it is lifting its ban on transgender people openly serving in the military.

    On June 30, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Department of Defense would no longer forbid openly transgender people from serving in the military. In its report on the announcement, Univision's late night news program, Noticiero Univision: Edició​n Nocturna, hosted Antonia Pandilla, a transgender woman who served in the Air Force from 1978 to 1982, to talk about her experience serving under the ban. Contrasting right-wing media’s attacks on the policy change, Univision host Arantxa Loizaga described the end of the ban as “a victory for the LGBT community.” Coverage like this is yet another indication of how Hispanic media is improving its reporting on LGBT issues and making the effort to include transgender voices.

    From the June 30 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univision: Edición Nocturna (translated from Spanish):

    ARANTXA LOIZAGA (HOST): In the United States armed forces, there are transgender soldiers but until today, they were not able to act openly. The Pentagon lifted a provision in light of the Defense Secretary’s idea that he has been pushing for more than a year. Andrea Linares tells us what this means.

    [START AUDIO]

    DEFENSE SECRETARY ASH CARTER: Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly.

    [END AUDIO]

    ANDREA LINARES: The announcement is historic. The Pentagon will allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the armed forces, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

    [START AUDIO]

    CARTER: These new measures will be implemented throughout the next year.

    [END AUDIO]

    LINARES: It is expected that by October 1 transgender soldiers can receive the medical treatment related to their sex change, and effective July 2017 the armed forces will allow the enlistment of new transgender members as long as they comply with the physical and psychological requirements required of any other member.

    ANTONIA PADILLA: I have been living two lives, the life of a man in the day and the life of a woman at night.

    LINARES: This is Antonia Padilla. She was born as a man in San Antonio, Texas, but she identifies as a woman. She was married for six years, had a daughter, and also served in the air force from 1978 to 1982.

    PADILLA: Ten years ago, I said I'm not going to have falsehoods, I'm going to live honestly, I'm going to live like the woman that I am.

    LINARES: Currently, Antonia works as a photographer. She says that it was difficult to live in the shadows when she was in the armed forces, but she never felt that this impeded her from carrying out her duties.

    PADILLA: I am very happy that finally this decision is reality.

    LINARES: A study done by RAND Corporation under the direction of Sec. Ash Carter found that of the 1.3 million active members of the army, almost 2,500 are transgender. But up until now, they have had to deny their condition in order to avoid being expelled from the military world, a situation that is now a thing of the past. The study also revealed that the medical expenses and the sex change operations will cost the Pentagon between $2.9 million and $4.2 million annually. They fear that not assuming this expense could result in a higher rate of substance abuse and suicides among transgender individuals. It's worth mentioning that the army has a budget of $610 million. Arantxa, back to you.

    LOIZAGA: Andrea, thank you, a victory for the LGBT community.

    While Univision’s decision to feature a transgender guest is part of the growing move towards more responsible coverage of the LGBT community by Hispanic media, the segment’s use of the word “condition” to innaccurately describe being transgender shows that there is still room to improve. The failure to use accurate, sensitive language when covering the transgender community isn’t isolated to Univision. While uplifting transgender voices is part of improving reporting on transgender people, Hispanic media should continue to look to guidelines from groups like GLAAD for how to improve the quality of coverage when reporting on transgender issues.

  • Sports Illustrated's Caitlyn Jenner Cover Story Shows The Importance Of Transgender Visibility

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Cover model Caitlyn Jenner reflects on her athletic career, winning gold at the Summer Olympics 40 years ago, and role of recent reality TV star and transgender icon in the summer issue of Sports Illustrated. The story allows Jenner to tell her own story, while also highlighting the positive impact of transgender visibility in the media, pointing out that her story helps transgender people and their families battle intolerance and isolation.

    Nearly 40 years after her last cover appearance on Sports Illustrated, the magazine again featured Caitlyn Jenner in multi-platform profile in its July 4-11 edition. The profile largely focuses on Jenner’s reflections about her journey both before and after winning the decathlon gold medal at the 1976 summer Olympics. In addition to elevating Jenner’s voice, the story spotlights the positive impact of Jenner’s media presence on transgender people, who “battle not only intolerance but also suicidal thoughts, depression and poverty at staggering rates and who are just gaining a foothold in society.”

    The piece contrasts with sensationalist, irresponsible reporting that has often accompanied stories about Jenner and the transgender community. In May, The Washington Post and CBS both parroted the shoddy, unsubstantiated report of a discredited celebrity biographer, who claimed that Jenner might “de-transition.” Sports Illustrated’s profile of Jenner proves that even high-profile celebrity news can educate readers about transgender people and the importance of transgender visibility.

    From the July 4-11 edition of Sports Illustrated

    If there is no medal, Caitlyn Jenner almost certainly does not become the most famous transgender person in history. She does not become a towering (literally, 6' 4" in heels) public figure who both unifies and polarizes (even within the trans community) while spurring discussion of gender issues in ways that no one else has. She has used her celebrity—earnestly, sometimes naively, on a steep learning curve, with millions watching—to help the 700,000 trans men, women and children in America who battle not only intolerance but also suicidal thoughts, depression and poverty at staggering rates and who are just gaining a foothold in society. “I feel like, now, nobody can say they don’t know a transgender person, because she is that famous,” says Chris Mosier, 35, a transgender male triathlete who represented the U.S. at the world sprint duathlon (cycling and running) championships last month in Spain. “She has brought about this awareness among people who are attuned to pop culture and media. Challenges that trans people face have really come to light since she’s come out.

    If there is no medal, she does not affect the lives of thousands of families trying to find their way in a trans world that many scarcely knew existed. Says Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, adolescent medicine specialist in the care of gender nonconforming children and transgender youth at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, “For parents who are scared or nervous about having a child come out as transgender, it suddenly feels like they’re not the only one, because they remember Caitlyn from the Olympics, and this is real. And for the kids, if they know Caitlyn at all, it’s from the Kardashians, but for them, their life is impacted by their parents’ being more open to their journey. It’s a lot easier for them if they have affirming and supportive parents.”

  • A Year After Marriage Equality, It's Time For Media To Stop Giving Anti-LGBT Liars A Pass

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    In the year since the Supreme Court struck down state-level same-sex marriage bans, anti-gay extremists have continued to peddle misinformation about LGBT equality in the media. After more than 12 years of pushing lies and wildly inaccurate predictions about the consequences of marriage equality, it’s time for the media to stop letting anti-gay activists comment on LGBT rights without disclosing their proven track record of dishonest extremism.

    It’s been a year since the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges decision which found state-level same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. In the decade leading up to the decision, anti-LGBT extremists and hate group leaders peddled specious talking points about the consequences of “redefining traditional marriage.” In media appearances, these figures predicted that allowing same-sex couples to marry would cause a “slippery slope” to legalized bestiality, incest, and pedophilia; pushed the myth that gay men are more likely to engage in pedophilia than straight men; and hyped claims that pastors and churches were in danger of being forced to perform same-sex marriages.

    Several of these groups were so deceptive that in 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), designated them anti-LGBT “hate groups” for “propagating known falsehoods” and pushing “demonizing propaganda.” One of these groups was the Family Research Council (FRC), whose officials have accused gay people of trying to "recruit" children into homosexuality and endorsed a Uganda law that would have imposed the death penalty for engaging in gay sex.

    For years, major cable news networks have hosted FRC representatives to comment on LGBT equality without identifying FRC as a hate group. Despite the efforts of progressive Christians to stop outlets from letting FRC representatives conflate their extremism with mainstream Christianity, the group continues to have a significant media presence. Since last June’s Obergefell decision, mainstream media outlets have continued to call on FRC to discuss LGBT rights, including:

    • The New York Times, NPR, and USA Today all cited FRC’s commentary on the Obergefell marriage equality decision without noting the group’s history of hate.
    • ABC's This Week invited FRC's Ken Blackwell -- who previously blamed same-sex marriage for a mass murder -- to discuss the court's decision.  
    • NPR featured FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg -- who spent 10 years as a "professional actor" before joining FRC -- to debate same-sex parenting.
    • FRC’s President Tony Perkins appeared on MSNBC to discuss meeting with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump assemble an “Evangelical executive advisory board,” featuring anti-LGBT extremists.

    In the past year, the media have given other anti-LGBT hate groups similar passes. In September, mainstream news outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters failed to identify Liberty Counsel, the anti-LGBT hate group representing Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, instead calling it merely a “Christian” or “conservative” organization. In April, major news outlets largely failed to identify the American Family Association (AFA) -- the group organizing a boycott of Target over its transgender-inclusive restroom policy -- as an anti-LGBT hate group.

    The few instances when mainstream media like The Associated Press and CBS News’ Bob Schieffer did properly identify hate group leaders, anti-gay conservatives were predictably outraged. Right-wing anger at journalists who expose anti-LGBT extremism illustrates why it’s so vital to disclose when sources or commentators represent hate groups. The public has a right to know that the same groups with a track record of fearmongering about children’s safety to oppose marriage equality are now those peddling the anti-LGBT movement’s new favorite myth that LGBT nondiscrimination protections endanger the safety of women and children in bathrooms.

    A year after Obergefell, it’s time for the media to stop letting the same extremists use media appearances to float new lies and recycle mythical talking points to oppose LGBT equality. Outlets seeking to provide balanced coverage of LGBT rights ought to find commentators who don’t have a decade-long track record of spreading hateful lies about LGBT people. 

  • New Evangelical Advisory Board Disproves Trump’s Claim Of Being An LGBT Ally

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Nearly a week after declaring himself a “real friend” to the LGBT community, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump participated in a “conversation” with hundreds of conservative Christians organized in part by two anti-LGBT hate groups. Then his campaign announced an “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board,” a 26-member group featuring several well-known anti-LGBT extremists who have a well-documented history of opposing LGBT equality and making inflammatory comments, such as calling LGBT families “discombobulated, Frankenstein structures” and blaming the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on marriage equality.

  • NY Times Highlights Emotional Coming Out Stories Following Orlando Tragedy

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In the wake of a deadly shooting at an LGBT nightclub, the sexuality of both the victims and survivors have moved to the forefront of the narrative of communities and families coming to grips with the trauma and loss of life trying to heal.

    The New York Times highlighted the coming out stories of several people impacted by the June 12 massacre at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL. The Hispanic community was devastated by the violence-- a majority of the 49 murder victims were Hispanic. The June 22 article featured stories of those who were grieving in the aftermath of unthinkable violence, as well as navigating the newly exposed sexuality of themselves or their loved ones. From the June 22 article:

    Some had their sexuality revealed by accident: Gertrude Merced learned that her 25-year-old son, Enrique, was gay only after she heard the news of his death. Others, though, have chosen to expose their inner lives, stirred by the outpouring of support for Orlando’s gay community or wrought with sorrow and unable to keep their secrets in anymore.

    Cory Richards was in Pulse with his boyfriend, Enrique Rios, on the night of the attack; neither were out to their family. After surviving the attack, Richards came out to his father. Rios lost his life that night and that's how his mother found out he was gay:

    Cory Richards, 24, spent the early hours of June 12 dancing under the strobe lights at Pulse with his boyfriend, Enrique L. Rios Jr. Neither man had told his parents he was gay. But around 9 a.m., as Mr. Richards emerged from the carnage, he cried into his phone to his father.“I can’t find my baby,” Mr. Richards recalled saying. “I can’t find my baby.”

    “What?” his father responded.

    “That’s my boyfriend, that’s not my friend,” Mr. Richards said he told him of Mr. Rios. “That’s my boyfriend.”

    “I don’t care what you are,” he recalled his father saying. “You’re my son. I didn’t know, but I accept it.”

    Mr. Rios had died. A thousand miles away, his mother, Ms. Merced, 48, learned of her son’s death. And then received a call from his boyfriend.

    For Enakai Hernandez, a former regular at Pulse, news of the tragedy hit too close to home:

    Enakai Hernandez, is a 27-year-old artist who had partied at Pulse for years. On the weekend of the attack, he was staying at his parent’s home in a gated community here, sick in bed.

    When he woke and the depth of the tragedy revealed itself, his mother took him in her arms as he cried.

    “Sabes que te quiero mucho?” she has told him over and over in recent days. “Que tú eres el amor de mi vida?” Her message: that she loved her son and considered him the love of her life.

     
     
  • The Important Way Spanish-Language Media’s Orlando Massacre Coverage Outshined Other News Networks

    Univision And Telemundo Offered Representation To The Overlapping, Diverse Communities Affected

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    In their June 13 coverage of the Orlando, FL, massacre, Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo uniquely provided a crucial platform for intersectional voices that included Spanish-speaking, gay Latinos. The distinctly diverse coverage outshined other national cable news networks which underrepresented the affected communities in their coverage.

    A Media Matters study of the diversity of guest appearances on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC the day after the June 12 attack on LGBT nightclub Pulse found that “none of the three networks hosted a significant number of Latino” guests.

    In a tragedy that overwhelmingly impacted the Hispanic community -- more than 90 percent of the victims were Hispanic -- Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo were uniquely equipped to provide a much-needed space for Spanish-speaking voices in their coverage the day after the massacre. Both networks featured survivors and family members of victims, who shared their stories in their own language (and some of them spoke only Spanish), while emphasizing the many communities -- sometimes overlapping -- that the tragedy impacted. Jorge Ramos said the attack was “truly a tragedy, for the Latino community, and truly a tragedy for the Latino gay community”:

    In the aftermath of the tragedy, many family members of the victims were “in dire need” of “Spanish-language interpreters” in order to identify their missing loved ones, according to Fox News Latino:

    Hundreds, if not thousands, across the country are lining up to donate blood to help the victims of Orlando’s tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub. Others wanting to help are donating money for funerals and health care costs.

    But in Orlando, for family members of the victims, there is also a dire need for something else: Spanish-language interpreters.

    Dozens of people waiting to hear from their loved ones at the Hampton Inn in Downtown Orlando, near the nightclub where tragedy struck early Sunday morning, are heart-broken, confused — and compounding matters is that many do not know English.

    Many of the people interviewed on Univision and Telemundo referenced the language barrier, and both networks included reports of Hispanic organizations that were providing resources and support for those with cultural or linguistic obstacles, emphasizing the need for “bilingual help”:

    Hispanic media’s proximity to the Latino community -- Telemundo itself lost one of its producers to the attack -- aided the networks in providing coverage of the Orlando massacre that accurately represented the experiences of affected Hispanics, while providing valuable resources to grieving families. Just as Telemundo’s Maria Celeste Arrarás demonstrated when co-hosting the February 25 Republican debate, newsroom diversity -- and in this case, particularly Latino media representation -- empowers Latino audiences to “engage [with news content] at a higher level.”

  • STUDY: What Voices Were Heard On Cable News Following The Orlando Shooting

    ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD, RACHEL PERCELAY & CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Media Matters reviewed the diversity of guest appearances featured in cable news coverage the day after the deadly June 12 Orlando, FL, attack on an LGBT nightclub. Of the three cable networks, Fox News hosted a substantially lower percentage of LGBT guests. Although MSNBC and CNN did give considerable air time to LGBT voices, none of the three networks hosted a significant number of Hispanic or Muslim guests.