Just Read: Debunking the “Bathroom Bill” Myth: Accurate Reporting on Nondiscrimination – A Guide for Journalists

Any journalist or communication professional reporting on LGBTQ issues should read this guide.

And yet, they don’t take the time to use proper terminology, as professionals in their own business.

It’s possible I’ve referred you to this post if you are a journalist or communicator. See below for the reason why.

National Public Radio (@NPR) has had particular trouble with this concept (see below). I have found repeated uses of inaccurate and at times offensive terminology by this network. This baffles me, because there’s an easy to read style guide written specifically for their profession. What’s keeping them from reading it?

I’ve found similar problems in the writing of journalists from other widely read publications. I’ll start cataloguing them (again, see below for the reason why).

This is a short 16 page guide that really includes most (I won’t say all, because I’m not a journalist, so if there’s something missing, let me know 🙂 ) of what a journalist needs to know when reporting on LGBTQ and specifically issues related to transgender people.

Where possible, I work to point out errors, and I especially do this when some of my work is used to adorn inaccurate terminology (see: Reading the comments and writing some. Thoughts on ending transphobia on this blog for a visual example).

I have written to NPR multiple times, with no response (I did cover this base, I promise :)).

Not about bathrooms, about participation in society

If journalists repeat the characterization of LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws as “bathroom bills,” or overly focus on the application of these far-reaching policies to the narrow issue of bathrooms, they impair the public’s understanding of how these laws protect people from discrimination, harassment, unfair treatment, and more. While these laws o en allow transgender people to use the restroom which matches the gender they live every day, the benefits of nondiscrimination laws are much more extensive, typically covering employment, housing, education, jury service, credit, and more.

Bathrooms are not the focus of legislative actions and shouldn’t be the subject of articles. The actions are actually aimed at participation in society, of which bathrooms are a part, health care is a part, employment is a part, business and commerce are a part.

Social Isolation as a policy – Where has this come up before?

From this blog in 2013:

The opposite of social networking is social exclusion. This week was my first time learning about the holocaust as an adult, and I noticed how the designers of the US Holocaust museum emphasized one of the greatest harms that a society can perpetrate on its citizens (in this case, my ancestors) – exclusion, via public humiliation, boycotts, denial of the right to conduct business, etc. When you go to the museum, it’s easy to understand how this makes other human beings feel. You don’t have to ask them, you can just stand in the same room and hear them weeping…. (From Post: Search Photo Friday: Social Inclusion )

If you’ve been referred here by me…

….it’s because I’ve noticed something you said or wrote that could have been said or written differently in the interest of promoting inclusion instead of exclusion. Thanks for acknowledging the error, having a desire to learn, and changing what you do.

There are a lot of people counting on you, including me.

If you promote a society that’s less loving, you’re by definition sending more people into the health care system for treatment of illness.

Just like you, people don’t want to be spending time with us in health care, they want to be spending time in their successful lives. That’s where my generation of physicians is spending time with the people we serve. Isn’t this century fantastic? 🙂

…and a good example of journalism done right

Thanks @BuzzFeed.

Ted Eytan, MD