GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today responded to Bruce Jenner’s interview on a Diane Sawyer special edition of ABC’s 20/20.
“Today, millions of people learned that someone they know is transgender,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By sharing this story, Bruce Jenner has shined a light on what it means to be transgender and live authentically in the face of unimaginable public scrutiny. Though Jenner’s journey is one that is deeply personal, it is also one that will impact and inspire countless people around the world.”
“Every transgender person’s journey is unique, and by choosing to share this story, Bruce Jenner adds another layer to America’s understanding of what it means to be transgender,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Programs, Transgender Media. “We hope that after hearing Jenner’s story, people will want to learn more about the issues and challenges facing their transgender friends, co-workers, and family members. Stories like these will help create a world in which everyone can express their gender identity without fear of discrimination and violence.”
GLAAD also published the following tip sheet for journalists covering Jenner and transgender issues:
TRANSGENDER TERMINOLOGY AND TIPS
FOR COVERING BRUCE JENNER’S ABC INTERVIEW
Please consider the following guidelines when covering Bruce Jenner’s disclosure that he is transgender. This style guide will help you create respectful and accurate stories while avoiding common mistakes and cliches.
DO use the name and pronoun a transgender person prefers. Some transgender people prefer that a new name and/or pronoun be used immediately upon their disclosure that they are transgender. However, other transgender people do not. At this time, Bruce Jenner has not indicated that a new name or pronoun should be used, so please respect his wishes and refer to Bruce Jenner by his current name and with male pronouns until such time as he requests something different.
DO consider including a sentence in your story that explains that you will be referring to Bruce Jenner with his birth name and male pronouns because he has not indicated that he prefers a new name or pronoun be used. This will alert your audience that you are aware of the issue, and have chosen to follow Jenner’s wishes. If Jenner chooses to adopt a new name and/or pronoun in the future, GLAAD will publish an updated Tip Sheet with best practices based on that information.
DO describe people who transition as transgender, and use transgender as an adjective. For example, “Bruce Jenner is a transgender woman.” AVOID statements like “Bruce Jenner is a transgender.” Do NOT use “transgendered” – transgender never needs an extraneous “-ed” at the end. Do NOT use “transsexual” or “transvestite.”
DO refer to Bruce Jenner’s female identity as his gender identity, not his sexual orientation. Gender identity is one’s own internal, deeply held sense of being male or female. Sexual orientation is whom one is attracted to. Gender identity and sexual orientation are separate characteristics and should not be confused or conflated.
DON’T speculate about medical procedures transgender people may or may not choose to undertake as part of their transition. This information is a private matter and is not pertinent to stories about Jenner’s life. Overemphasizing the medical aspects of someone’s transition is reductive and insulting to transgender people.
AVOID the phrase “born a man” when referring to Jenner. If it is necessary to describe for your audience what transgender means, consider: “While Bruce Jenner was assigned male at birth, he identifies as a woman.”
For a more extensive Reference Guide on covering transgender issues, please visit glaad.org/reference/transgender. For additional resources visit glaad.org/transgender.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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