How to: Write About Trans Issues (without being a jerk)

Tired of the trans narrative that the mainstream media upholds? Here is a simple, clear and concise guide on writing about trans issues that you can use to educate your journalist friends or forward to your local paper if they just don’t seem to get it.

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is an organization that works with the media to help give agency to LGBT issues, and address news outlets that “get it wrong.” This section of their Media Reference Guide helps to clear up any confusion over which pronouns and names to use (here’s a thought for the media: use what your subject prefers!), and includes terms to avoid, as well as definitions of basic terminology. 

For a more in-depth look at how to write trans people’s stories in an accurate and appropriate way, check out the Poynter Institute’s guide. Seriously, journalists (and anyone else who falls into this trap), it’s time to stop turning every article about trans people into a sex-change education process. As the Poynter Institute explains, focusing exclusively on a “coming out” narrative does a disservice to illustrating trans people as just that – people. 

If you want to help foster inclusive environments for all people, check out this 3 Minute Action. A great tip  - and not just for journalists! - is to highlight your pronouns when you introduce yourself. 

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