THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Initially, this piece was intended to help put further pressure on NPR (National Public Radio) to reverse a then apparent policy of using gender pronouns that correspond with birth sex until, according to claims made in transgender groups on social media, after medical treatment is completed.
But before I could confirm that this was indeed NPR’s official policy, they came out with a statement saying that their thinking has evolved and they would now honor Manning’s stated gender preference.
NPR’s Managing Editor for Standards and Practice Stu Seidel’s statement to the NPR newsroom:
Army Private Manning’s request to no longer be known as “Bradley” is one NPR should respect. We allow people to decide what they want to be called. Manning asks to be called “Chelsea.” (This is different from granting anonymity or using a pseudonym for a source, since Private Manning has made public his decision to change his name.)
Manning also asked to be referred to as “she,” not “he.” That request gets into many questions of defining an individual’s gender that we feel are best left to the person in question, so long as we are telling a complete story.
Arguably, the earliest identification any of us is given is whether we’re a “boy” or a “girl; a “he” or a “she.” Our gender is on our birth certificate, our driver’s license, countless forms, and so on.
Does an individual’s sense of his or her own identity trump those designations?
Like so many of our journalism colleagues, we’ve had numerous newsroom conversations over the last two days about how NPR should refer to Manning. Yesterday, we decided to make clear in first reference that Bradley Manning wished to be known as “Chelsea,” and we decided to use male-related pronouns on later references. Our thinking has evolved.
We are fond of saying that our style and language use is always open to challenge and subject to change. We also believe that a healthy newsroom is open to debate and reflection. In the past day, we have been challenged by listeners and readers and by colleagues at our member stations and in our newsroom, raising a chorus of views, including requests to rethink, backed up by arguments that make good sense. We have been persuaded. . . .”
My hat’s off to everyone who pressured NPR to reconsider their policy. This is another example how social media is used to improve our lives.
Special thanks to Melville Lee Petrosky.
Full statement from NPR:
HELP SUPPORT TRANS ADVOCACY by getting a DVD of the award-winning trans-themed feature film Lexie Cannes: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332 Or via PayPal: http://www.lexiecannes.com/id13.html
THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/
Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans