Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Advocate Refers to Trans Woman as a Gay Man

The Advocate a premiere LGBT news magazine has come under pressure from trans activists and allies after it referred to a couple who were legally married in New York as a "same-sex" couple. In the article N.Y. Unwittingly Marries "Same-Sex" Couple, the couple Hakim Nelson and Jason Stenson were given a marriage license because the clerk was unaware of the birth gender of Nelson who now goes by Kimah.

The Advocate referred to this historic story as "New York's first legal same-sex marriage" but the problem is that neither Kimah nor Jason identify as gay. Jason identifies as straight and Kimah is a trans woman. Kimah hopes to undergo sex re-assignment surgery in the future, but regardless of her current status as pre, post or non-op we must be sensitive to the gender pronouns she chooses for herself.

Note: The Advocate has since made edits to this story to properly reflect the gender identity of Kimah.

Please tell The Advocate that it isn't enough to call yourself an LGBT magazine, in the future it must be inclusive of transgender folks and know how to properly report on them.

letters@advocate.com

Letters to the editor by regular mail
P.O. Box 4371
Los Angeles, CA 90078
Phone: (310) 943-5858
Fax: (310) 806-6350

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

*sigh*
Lost a little bit of respect for the magazine, well at least they fixed it

CrackerLilo said...

I'm glad the Advocate fixed it, too--that's better than many news outlets.

But I have known for a while that the Advocate is a Glbt magazine, at very best.

Anonymous said...

Ha, why I am I not surprised?
This blog might also want to do some editing. I object to the phrase "it must be inclusive of gender variant folks and know how to properly report on them." Lots of trans folk, myself included, and perhaps Kimah as well, don't identify as "gender variant," for the simple reason that their gender does not vary from the "normal" range of possible masculine/feminine expressions and identifications, and, in many cases, doesn't vary from their "sex," either. In other words, some trans folk think of themselves as men or women first, trans maybe second, and gender variant not at all. (Kind of like how most cismen and ciswomen don't think of themselves as cis first, and men or women second.) Which is all just to make a suggestion for a tiny revision to: "it must be inclusive of trans and gender variant folks and know how to properly report on them."
Speaking of "proper" reporting, would it be possible for once to write about a trans woman for a whole two paragraphs without talking about her genitalia? Or outing their birth names?

aceamoeba said...

I'm really glad this happened! I see the Advocate was trying to push a political position, but this is an opposite-marriage.

Queers United said...

anon I was making the point that her genitalia is irrelevant in how we should choose to label her. I also gave the birth name to make sure people understand that this is someone who identifies as a woman but the government unfairly regards as a man.

Queers United said...

You are right though that not all trans people are gender variant, and for that I appreciate you clarifying my original article.

Anonymous said...

@Queers United
Thanks for making the edit in response to my belabored and bitchy comment. It's appreciated!

Anonymous said...

This is much ado about nothing. This wasn't originally reported by Advocate.com and as soon as they knew the ORIGINAL article (upon which this blog post--that's all it was) was flawed, they fixed it. You can't call them transphobic over this. More than any other LGBT publication, The Advocate is inclusive.

Hedo said...

Once again, a note on the choice of wording: It is not her GENDER at birth, it is her SEX. While I understand that the two are commonly treated as being the same thing, I still think it's of great importance that you remember to acknowledge that they are separate things, and treat them as such.

However, I do appreciate that you pointed out the significance of The Advocate failing to realize that her sex is legally regarded as female, and that it was not a same-sex marriage as it claimed.

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