Nearly 200 New York Times contributors, a cadre of celebrities, and the top LGBTQ media organization have publicly condemned the newspaper on Wednesday for what some described as following “the lead of far-right hate groups” in its coverage of trans issues.
An open letter signed by 170 Times contributors—some of whom are trans, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming—pressed associate managing editor for standards, Philip Corbett, to answer for why the paper devoted 15,000 words on its front page in recent months to debate “the propriety of medical care for trans children.”
The signatories alleged that “the Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources.”
The letter also noted that Times articles have at times been cited in court to argue in support of anti-trans legislation.
“As thinkers, we are disappointed to see the New York Times follow the lead of far-right hate groups in presenting gender diversity as a new controversy warranting new, punitive legislation,” the group wrote.
Some of its most notable signatories include Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, actress Cynthia Nixon, and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is trans.
Another letter sent by GLAAD, a leading LGBTQ media organization, further blasted the paper for its coverage of trans issues, demanding it stop “printing biased anti-trans stories” and that it meet with members of the trans community. It also asked the paper to hire trans writers on both its opinion and news desks.
“We know many trans writers and editors do not trust the Times. We don’t trust you either, so we don’t blame them. But do the work: Stop, listen, and hire,” the letter read. “If you stop the egregious, irresponsible coverage, and listen to trans people, you will start to rebuild credibility and trust.”
The GLAAD letter was signed by LGBTQ celebrities and allies such as Margaret Cho, Jonathan Van Ness, Lena Dunham, and Gabrielle Union-Wade, whose step-daughter came out as trans in 2020. It was also joined by state groups prompting LGBTQ equality, and it was accompanied by a GLAAD demonstration outside the Times’ office in Midtown Manhattan.
Michael Powell, a Times reporter who wrote one of the articles that inflamed contributors, defended his work on Wednesday afternoon.
“Journalism is meant to ask difficult and discomforting questions, and to question institutions, including the medical establishment,” Powell tweeted. “I am very proud to work at a place that publishes the work of [Emily Bazelon], Katie Baker, Azeen Ghoryashi, [Megan Twohey] and [Ross Douthat].”