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Report: The NYT Covers Trans Issues Without Quoting Trans People

The exterior of the New York Times building.

(David Smooke / Unsplash)

The New York Times is under a lot of scrutiny these days. Anti-war, pro-Palestine protesters regularly target the paper over what they say is its biased coverage of Israel's war against Hamas, award-winning writers have been forced out for expressing pro-Palestine views, and revelations about the shoddy reporting behind a blockbuster story on alleged sexual assault perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 have led to outrage (and internally, what the newspaper's union claims is a racially biased investigation by management targeting staff of Middle Eastern and North African descent). 

Recent criticism of the Times has not been limited to its coverage of Israel's genocidal campaign against Palestinians. In February of last year, a group of writers called out the paper's "editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting on transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people" and criticized how, in its reporting on trans youth, the Times was "following the lead of far-right hate groups in presenting gender diversity as a new controversy warranting new, punitive legislation."

Has anything changed since? On Tuesday, GLAAD and Media Matters for America released a report examining the Times's coverage of anti-trans legislation in the past year, and found that even based on what one would think are the bedrock principles of the "objective" coverage that the Times prizes itself on—hearing from all sides, combating misinformation, and reporting all the facts—the Times is still falling short. 

The groups examined 65 articles the Times published on anti-trans legislation between February 15, 2023 and February 15, 2024, and found:

  • 66 percent of the articles did not quote even one trans or gender-nonconforming person;
  • 18 percent of the articles quoted misinformation from anti-trans activists without adequate fact-checking or additional context; and
  • Six articles obscured the anti-trans background of sources, erasing histories of extremist rhetoric or actions.

"The paper of record has an obligation to present its readers with the full human toll of the anti-trans legislative assault," said Ari Drennen, the LGBTQ program director at Media Matters, in a press release. "Trans people are more than theoretical curiosities to be debated from afar. Each and every anti-trans bill affects living, breathing people whose voices deserve to be heard and whose stories deserve to be told." 

We've reached out to the Times for comment, and will update if and when they respond.

And now some links that deserve to be read: 

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