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FIERCE's Call to Action Against the New York Times Depiction of Trans Women


Thank you, Fierce, for publishing these letters. I, too, am upset that the Times has not issued an apology for this lacking-in-context piece and/or published any of these letters from others who are angered by the piece. 


On July 25, 2012, FIERCE organized a Call to Action asking supporters to submit letters to the New York Times demanding Dignity for Transwomen of Color and LGBTQ Youth in their reporting. The Call to Action was organized in response to a July 24th article: “For Money or Just to Strut, LIving Out Loud on a Transgender Stage.

The article, which relied on and fed into harmful, negative stereotypes of young transwomen of color, neglected to highlight or consider the root causes of why LGBTQ youth are disproportionately on the streets and finding it harder to maintain access and ownership over this historical safe space.

Over the weeks following the action, we received dozens of letters that were not only powerful, but also the acts of solidarity were incredibly moving for all of us here at FIERCE!  Seeing your words and feeling the support of so many allies, we saw the depth and strength of our struggle against transphobia, homophobia, gentrification, and criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color, especially transwomen of color.

As far as we know, theTimesdid not publish the letters. In an effort to empower LGBTQ youth and the communities that support LGBTQ youth-led organizing  in NYC and elsewhere, we wanted to share a small collection of these letters with you.

In love and struggle,


What this article taught me:

Trans-women are catty, trashy whores with big-hair… some of whom might be discriminated against…and oh, yeah - gay history. But trans people are whores.



How did we get to this point?! David Frum:

Step 1: A story begins in the real world. In this case, some Nebraska ranchers objected to the longstanding practice—approved by the Supreme Court in 1986—of the use of aerial photography to enforce clean water laws.

Step 2: Their elected representatives raise the issue.

Step 3: Somebody on Twitter mistakenly converts “aerial” surveillance into “drone surveillance.”

Step 4: The conservative website PJ Media puts the error into a headline: “EPA Using Spy Drones to Fly Over Midwestern Farms.”

Step 5: The mistake jumps to Fox News, first introduced by Bob Beckel, the token liberal on the afternoon program, “the Five.”

Step 6: Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reports the rumor as fact, unsourced.

Step 7: The Daily Show mocks Kelly’s report, but treats the use of drones as a genuine fact nonetheless.

Step 8: Republicans in Congress write furious letters of complaint.

Step 9: The story is by now a national controversy, without there ever having been a word of truth to it.

via David Frum, h/t Mediaite for the screengrab.

It’s like the game “Telephone” – only with fucked-up, real world consequences instead of giggles.

That said, police departments across the country have expressed interest in using drones for surveillance and pursuit. So I think it’s a serious possibility they could be used domestically.

However, why are we getting pissed off about flying robots with guns committing indiscriminate murder JUST NOW? It’s not like we haven’t been using drones for years to murder people in other countries for awhile now…

"the vibrant, almost viral, life cycle of a falsehood"

Love that phrase.

Also, @cognitivedissonance: it’s because the ranchers are assumed to be white, Christians. If they were Muslim, people-of-color, drone surveillance would be their just reward.

Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.

This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths.

- Quotes from a New York Times article used by Salon in an excellent article y’all should be a-readin’ [bolding is from Salon article]

It’s a fairly basic constitutional issue for the press, whether or not there is a reporter’s privilege. It’s something a lot of people outside the press don’t really understand, don’t really care about. I think the basic issue is whether you can have a democracy without aggressive investigative reporting and I don’t believe you can. So that’s why I’m fighting it.

James Risen, reporter, New York Times, in a talk at the National Press Club. ‘Reporter’s Privilege’ Under Fire From Obama Administration Amid Broader War On Leaks.

Background: The Obama Justice Department continues its attempts to force Risen to testify against CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling by arguing that Reporters’ Privilege does not exist when the information revealed is considered illegal.

In this case, the CIA’s Sterling is charged with leaking classified information about a plot against the Iranian government that Risen then used in his book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

Via the Huffington Post:

While the Obama administration hasn’t prosecuted those responsible for torture during the Bush years, it is taking a strong stand against a former official believed to have supplied information to the media about use of torture and other controversial tactics during the previous administration.

In January, the Justice Department charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou with disclosing classified information to the media; The FBI claims to have evidence linking him to a 2008 New York Times story detailing the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.

In another notable case, the DOJ charged Thomas Drake under the Espionage Act, claiming the former National Security Agency official provided classified information of gross NSA mismanagement to a Baltimore Sun reporter. The government’s case collapsed in 2011 and Drake pleaded guilty only to a misdemeanor.

The crackdown hasn’t gone unnoticed among reporters, with tension recently spilling out into the White House briefing room after the administration praised Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin, journalists who died while covering the bloody conflict in Syria.

Jake Tapper, the senior White House correspondent for ABC News, asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney how public support of those journalists’ work “square[s] with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistleblowers to court.”

“There just seems to be a disconnect here,” Tapper added. “You want aggressive journalism abroad; you just don’t want it in the United States.”

(via futurejournalismproject)


“The reason you won’t see me on Fox is, as I said to them: ‘I don’t mind that you call it Fox, but I do mind that you call it News.’ There’s no resemblance to news. It has nothing to do with news. News is a report of something that happened. Fox has opinions and agendas; that’s not news. It isn’t just a bias or a slant either, it’s propaganda, pure and simple. I doubt there’s ever been a true thing said on Fox. Maybe the weather report, maybe not.” ~ Fran Lebowitz


O’Reilly: More ‘bigotry against pro-life people than gay people’

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly declared Monday evening that hatred for pro-life advocates is stronger in America than for gay people.

In a discussion about social issues, regular O’Reilly guest Bernie Goldberg condemned “the bigotry on the right” for attacking Ellen DeGeneres’ and the LGBT community.

“Reasonable people may disagree on gay marriage, that’s fine,” Goldberg said. “But to call on someone’s dismissal to be fired, to lose her job, because she’s gay, is bigotry. And I don’t care how many people listening to us right now don’t like that, it’s bigotry.”

But O’Reilly felt later on that another group received far more animosity throughout the nation.

“The bigotry against pro-life people is I think way more than the bigotry against gay people,” he said. “Particularly in the media because the media supports gay people in this country.”

WATCH: Video from Fox News, which was broadcast on February 6, 2012.

And radical gay people shoot bigots to the applause of other gays. Wait…that’s radical pro-lifers, isn’t it? My bad.

It’s hard to feel bad. No one stands outside of pro-life churches with graphic images from the Bosnian genocide screaming about murder.

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