Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

WaPo: Choice Words For Civil Rights Of Transgender Workers

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 13, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: civil rights, employment discrimination, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, transgender, Washington Post

The Washington Post weighed in this morning on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with a few choice words.

It characterizes ENDA as pushing a "testy" issue in the culture wars: civil rights for transgender workers.

"Testy"? Really? I've heard of a person being testy, or a remark being testy. But an issue? It is intended to communicate something. What might that be?

Merriam Webster says "testy" means easily annoyed, irritable; marked by impatience or ill humor. Perhaps they are suggesting that transgender workers are overly sensitive?

They used another choice word for the rights of transgender workers: "unnerving." Merriam Webster says that one means about the same as "unman" and "emasculate."

Oh, good choice of words, WaPo!

WaPo's reporter, Mary Ann Akers, also said it is doomed. It put its chances of passing the Senate as "slim to none." It didn't mention that a majority of the Senate supports it, that there are 55 likely yes votes, and 9 possibles.

For the record, Akers is the same reporter who recently wrote an article about Majority Whip James Clyburn, a venerable African-American leader.

Congressman Jim Clyburn has been praised as an "unashamed advocate of his constituents" by his hometown newspaper, Columbia's The State, and called the "Carolina Kingmaker" by the Washington-based National Journal. This Sumter native was first elected to serve South Carolina's Sixth Congressional District in 1992, and has been honored by his constituents with an overwhelming majority of the vote in each subsequent election. In the 2002 election with newly drawn district lines, he received 67% of the vote in a 53% minority district.

Clyburn has had a distinguished list of leadership roles during his Congressional service. He was elected co-President of his Freshman class, served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in 1997 and 1998, and most notably was elected in a rare unanimous vote to Chair the Congressional Black Caucus for the 106th Congress. He successfully pushed for integration of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He has served on many important committees.

What did she choose to highlight about this man's career? His dancing ability. Seriously. She put a video up with the article showing the Majority Whip dancing. And she touted his ability in sports. Stereotype much?

So of course, she quotes the all-important and relevant Traditional Values Coalition, listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Traditional Values Coalition, on the home page of its Web site, asks: "Do you want men dressed as women teaching your kids? Will this be the ENDA of innocence?"

The group warns that, under ENDA, "your children will be trapped in classes taught by drag queens and transgender activists" and they will be "forced to learn about bizarre sexual fetishes."

The coalition's executive director, Andrea Lafferty, has been lobbying members of Congress, and she describes them as "freaked out" by the bill. She tells members if they vote for the bill, they'll be allowing "she-males" with "serious mental disorders" into children's classrooms, leaving parents with no legal recourse.

Why is this hate group's venom relevant to the merits of ENDA?

You can email the reporter, Mary Ann Akers, and tell her how you feel. Click here.

For the full chop job, here's the link to the Washington Post article on ENDA from this morning.


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The Washington Post is not the liberal bastion that it was back in the days of the Watergate scandal. In the last 5-8 years, there is a very marked shift to the right, with its editorial policies very much middle of the road, and occasionally right. When the liberal columnists retire or die, they have all been replaced by ex Bush people like Gerson and Parker. Lots of this has to do with appeasing their Virginia readership, which is where the growth has been as the Virginia suburbs (spral) have greatly increased in population. It is sad to see this.

Do these reporters ever stop and ask if the activists they're quoting represent anyone at all or if they're just someone with a website? That seems to be a vital question because if these people just represent themselves or a few others, they really aren't relevant in a story about national policy.

"they really aren't relevant in a story about national policy"

Well, they are to the degree that they support the reporter's bias, and let them make the point they wanted to make without taking ownership of it themselves.

That's a dead link in paragraph seven, FYI.

Just some more BS journalism by a BS paper likely close to being in bankruptcy and trying to gain readers from polarizing comments.

diddlygrl | May 13, 2010 11:43 AM

The journalist is just trying to be controversial, and her lack of sensitivity is definitely showing.

Did a transsexual kick Andrea's dog or something, she sure has it in for us.

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 13, 2010 12:52 PM

Yet another example of how far, as noted, WAPO has moved to the Right, and the attitudes of MSM generally have remainded in that direction as documented by an analysis on PamsHouseBlend of TV news coverage of the current fight to repeal DADT by Julie Hollar, managing editor of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting's magazine, "Extra!"

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/16105/#208301

As I noted there, contrary to the "wisdom" accepted even by many "liberals" themselves, MSM is NOT "liberal" but, more often than not, an advocate for/defender of, at best, "center Right." For documentation of that, there is no better source than Eric Alterman's book about the 2000 election "WHAT Liberal Media?" and its revelations of how MSM covered Bush fils vs. how they treated Gore. It's amazing the election was a close as it was. And a year ago, Evan Thomas, longtime star of [WAPO Co.-owned but for sale] "Newsweek" and, heaven help us, instructor of journalism at Princeton, spelled it out perfectly in an article about Obama Economics critic Paul Krugman:

"If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am), reading Krugman makes you uneasy. You hope he's wrong, and you sense he's being a little harsh (especially about Geithner), but you have a creeping feeling that he knows something that others cannot, or will not, see. By definition, establishments believe in propping up the existing order. Members of the ruling class have a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are. Safeguarding the status quo, protecting traditional institutions, can be healthy and useful, stabilizing and reassuring."

How convenient for pretty Straight White Male ...and pretty alarming even were he not the grandson of social reformer and socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas whose quote, "I am not the champion of lost causes, but the champion of causes not yet won," is on a plaque in the Norman Thomas Library at....wait for it....Princeton.

But, with apologies to Shakespeare, the fault, Dear Brutus, that we are underlings to MSM is less theirs than that those we have trusted have let them get away with it. Relatively speaking, there's far more coverage than 40 years ago, if, still, woefully little, but the pattern of presenting our rights as "moral" rather than "civil" issues remains. It's said too infrequently: MSM NEVER gives any attention to racists the way they did decades ago while they still treat LGBT equality [and what being LGBT means] as "debatable."

Using the example of the area I know best, save for that joint letter to the media about DADT myths and facts a couple of months ago, I'm aware of nothing Gay Inc., and even less so our self-declared MSM watchdogs GLAAD and NLGJA, has done to try to force MSM to be both more inclusive of gay servicemembers/vets speaking for themselves at all or WITHOUT religiofascists juxtaposed for "balance." Julie quotes an ABC "Good Morning America" segment that both exaggerated the amount of opposition to repeal and had their facts wrong about events in 1992.

The rareness of coverage, as well as the way it's packaged, is why the persistence of actions by Dan Choi et al., are so necessary and to be applauded: they generate coverage we would otherwise not get and in a way that MSM rarely feels compelled to put on a homohating shill to counter.

But, the problem is not just how rarely we are allowed to speak for ourselves but that, when we are, our representatives tend to speak like children trying to earn a badge in Manners, time and again sitting silently while the homo/transhater brought on mouths outrageous, fearmongering lies, almost never willing to name them for what they are: simple bigots.

Had Frank "tolerate no bullshit" Kameny's primacy in the movement overlapped the modern TV news age we would not remain as unequal as we do. As it is, just about the only person we can count on to cut down the haters is another Frank, Barney, but his Congressional duties don't give him the time to always be there.

Further, however imperfectly or inadequately, MSM does take cues from Gay, Inc. The Palm Center did a fascinating analysis last year of MSM coverage of the demand for Obama to freeze discharges. They demonstrated that attention to it fell in direct proportion to how much Gay Inc. was talking about it....when they INEXCUSABLY stopped talking about it so did MSM.

In short, if DADT is not repealed during the period when it has its best chance in 17 years, or ENDA passed given its best chance in 35 years...as well as their only chance for years to come, there will be plenty of blame to go around, and it will start with our own.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | May 13, 2010 12:56 PM

There are many very good reasons that I don't read the Washington Post. Just add this one to those.

On that Washington Post article were some links to other articles. I found this one much more enjoyable and important.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/12/AR2010051204602.html?waporef=obinsite