Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Seventeen Magazine Features Transphobic Fear Mongering Article

Seventeen magazine has featured an article called "my boyfriend turned out to be a girl" that describes a female-to-male transgender man as "lying" about his identity.

"Rather than use this opportunity to educate readers about transgender issues, it never once even uses any terminology (well, unless you consider the slur "he-she") but instead furthers the common transphobic assumption that someone who's gender does not match their sex assigned at birth Seventeen Magazine: My Boyfriend Turned Out To Be A Girl (Article Cover)is a deceptive liar and even compares them (at the bottom) to perverts, drug addicts, and older dad's trying to get someone young w/o disclosing their parental/age status" (Organizer - Ariel Busmante).
Take action by emailing Seventeen magazine to apologize and represent transgender people in a positive light.


Anonymous said...

Done. I'm also glad that I showed this to my little sister who normally buys Seventeen. In her own words, "I'm boycotting them!"

Stone said...

I agree that Seventeen magazine should indeed have taken a better stance with regard to this article. They(at the very least)could have run the story without the homphobic embelishment at the bottom. Perhaps if Seventeen Magazine as well as society as a whole were not so quick to (mis)judge the Lgbt community...there would be less individuals who felt the need to " lie". It is extremely difficult for most adults,let alone a young adult to come to terms with their sexuality when there is always the fear of ridicule and scorn by the not only their peers, but by family members as well. Thankfully change is coming. I hope Seventeen magazine does a follow up and addresses this issue. If they can make money from an article they should be willing to put forth all of the facts. Maybe they need someone to tell them what those are?


Anonymous said...

I'm a mtf transsexual myself and I think that the article doesn't really reflect trans in a negative light, more in a neutral light or no light at all. It doesn't go into really any judgement of it. The girl herself seems more upset about the lies and lack of trust rather than Derek being trans. She even said she would have loved him if he wouldn't have lied when she poured her heart and secrets out to him. I do disagree with the bottom snip comparing the situation to drug abusers, etc though. But the article and the girl's story are more focused on his lies rather than judging a transsexual though it would've been nice to delve more into the acceptable nature of transsexualism. *shrug* Just my two cents.

CrackerLilo said...

This makes me very sad. Twenty years ago, Seventeen magazine helped me to identify my first relationship as abusive and gave me the information and encouragement I needed to get away from him. I owe the author and editor (at that time) a huge debt. It's awful that this generation of young women is getting sensationalism and fear-mongering instead of real help.

Worse yet, there is also the very real possibility that a young boy in a teen-girl body, who dreads the prospect of living life in a womanly body, is reading this magazine to learn how to fit with girls or because hir mom made hir or something. I'm writing.

planet trans said...

Dereck should have been loud, proud and up front about his transgender identity. When I meet someone and we click I tell them up front about what exactly is between my legs. That honesty saves me from embarrassing men and treading on there delicate self esteems. Ultimately I believe my honesty has saved me from being a victim of violence and possibly murder.
I feel that the shame in this story is that Dereck was not up front and betrayed his girlfriends trust.
The terminology was sensationalistic and demeaning but the real tragedy was that both of them will miss out.

Queers United said...

The one thing I did appreciate was the fact that she still said she loved him and would have stayed with him had he not "lied" The problem is he never lied and Seventeen should not have framed it that way. The especially disturbing part is the comparisons at the bottom of the article.

Autumn Sandeen said...

Well, I'm with Queers United. Even if one considers the article as not being too back, it was the framing of the article -- using the concepts of "lies" and deception; misgendering "Derek" in the headline and callouts; and then comparing "Derek" to a "perv" and a "drugie" in their examples of other "betrayals" -- there's where the real problem is. It's how the magazine framed the piece that's more of a problem than the article itself.

And, I'm not conceding that the article itself wasn't a problem. I just think the way the magazine framed the article is what made it even worse than it should have been.

Anonymous said...

So, just out of curiosity, I haven't read the article...do all of you think it's wrong for the girl to have been pissed when she found out?

Anonymous said...

I wrote and got this back, nearly instantly:


Thanks for writing to Seventeen. We are honored that you confide in us, and we take everything you say very seriously.

It sounds like you are dealing with some complicated issues, and it’s important to get some help. Unfortunately, we can’t respond personally to every letter, but we still want you to get the help you need right away.

Here are some 800 numbers and web sites that might be helpful (below) - provided in alphabetical order.

All of this info is also on our website, seventeen.com
Thanks – and hang in there.
~Liz (Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief)

Child Abuse
If you or another minor is being abused, go to:

Cutting/ Self Harm/ Self Mutilation
If you or someone you know is self injuring themselves, go to:
http://www.focusas.com/SelfInjury.html, or call 1-877-362-8727

To take a screening test or to get more information, go to:

Domestic Violence/Dating Abuse
If you or someone you know is in a physically or emotionally abusive situation, go to
www.loveisnotabuse.com, or call 1-800-799-SAFE

Drug Abuse and Alcoholism
If you, or a friend, have a drinking problem, go to:
www.freevibe.com, www.ncadd.org , or call 800-622-2255
If you have family members or friends who are recovering from alcoholism and you need support, go to: www.al-anon.org , or call 800-356-9996

Eating Disorders
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, go to:
www.nationaleatingdisorders.org , www.anad.org or call 847-831-3438

Gay/ Lesbian/ Bisexual Support
If you need anonymous information, referrals or peer counseling go to:
www.glnh.com or call 1-800-THE-GLNH/ 1-800-843-4564

For information on HIV and AIDS, go to:

Mental Health Concerns
For information and support on mental health issues, go to:
www.nmha.org , or call 800-969-6642

If you think you may be pregnant, go to: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/WOMENSHEALTH/whatifpregnant.html

Rape, Abuse and Incest
If you or a friend who has been sexually assaulted, or if you want more information, go to:
www.rainn.org , or call 1-800-656-HOPE

For questions on sex, contraception, emergency contraception and other useful stuff, go to:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases
For information on STDs, go to:
www.ashastd.org or call 800-227-8922

If you or a friend is thinking about suicide, call:

Find out who September cover girl Selena Gomez is crushing on now! Plus, find the perfect back-to-school outfit for YOUR style!"

Anonymous said...

Given there is freedom of speech in our country still, for the most part, I think this is an important issue for us all to address. Being mad when finding out something about another person's sexual orientation can be a shocker to say the least. Mostly for the person that realizes "hey - I'm not "normal" and I need to tell someone. Or maybe these days it"s "hey - I'm glbt" and I need to tell someone. It's horrifying to the person who needs to tell someone and hoping for understanding and love or at least to not have the person pull back and withhold themselves for good. I was outed in middle school when a guy yelled out hey .... is a homo, and I lost all my friends. I am happy to say I am alive and thriving and making a difference with my life, but it was touch n go there for awhile in middle school. Be kind to each other. Life is really short. :-)

Jessi said...

I really liked Seventeen. I read this article and I really thought it was messed up. Transgenders are totally cool. I've met a few who became good friends. They're amazing. I think this article really shined light on an unnecessary side. I can understand the fighting (If its not just over exaggerated) when *Derek* threw her or whatever. But I would have gotten allllll up in the girlfriends face if she didn't get out of my house either. That was a very unnecessary article. Transies and Queers are regular people. They have nothing to be ashamed of. If you loved someone, You be with that person. You DON'T send it in for the world to see. Okay, So this article is REALLY got me to boycott Seventeen Magazine. I've dated a transgender girl. She was amazing, and I still love her. NEVER EVER shine light where the sun isn't needed. This article got me horribly angry and I will be sending Seventeen a strong letter.

Anonymous said...

i can really relate to "Derek" being transgender myself.i do in fact introduce myself as a guy and not a girl and by the guy name i've decided on. Trying to tell someone bout being transgender is hard especially when they don't understand it and still call you a girl instead of a guy its kinda hurts. I mean it's kind of a respect thing i guess. I've been transgender since i was a little kid and its hard to find someone who excepts and loves everything bout u. Believe me it's very hard. And to be told that you're a "liar" just because you say who you are and feel like hurts the most. My family thinks this to that I'm lying to everyone I know and that I'll be happier if i just tell "I'm a girl that wants to be a guy" when it won't and they really don't get that. I'm perfectly happy being known as a guy and treated as one.

Anonymous said...

why are you people getting mad.its just a story.there's nothing bad about the story.the girl is just saying what happen.the article never say anything about transgender stuff.calm down and dont take personal.

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