Home EVENTS Associated Press Adds Clarity On The ‘T’ In LGBTQ+

Associated Press Adds Clarity On The ‘T’ In LGBTQ+

Associated Press Adds Clarity On The ‘T’ In LGBTQ+


(OPINION) The 70-year-old Associated Press Stylebook is continually updated and thus provides a barometer of societal trends as it sets widely observed standards for media usage.

On June 2, the AP editorial team issued an updated “Transgender Coverage Topical Guide” that’s very timely, and not just because June is Pride Month. The AP style bible has been evolving on LGBTQ+ issues in recent years, and this latest update is yet another step to embrace changes linked to the sexual revolution.

Just last week, CNN reported that 19 state legislatures have enacted new bills with various limits on gender-affirming treatments for transitions that apply puberty blockers, hormone replacement or surgery to alter genital organs.

Most of these laws apply only to minors. They’re usually promoted by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. Other familiar disputes involve sports participation, as well as privacy issues in locker rooms, bathrooms or shelters for girls and women.

Also last week, the Public Religion Research Institute released a poll whose big sample of 5,046 enabled breakdowns into 11 religious categories. Majorities in nine of the 11 believed “there are only two genders,” with only minority support among Jews and the religiously unaffiliated.

Comparison with a 2021 PRRI poll shows U.S. opinion is getting more conservative on these matters.

Among all respondents, 59% said “only two” in 2021 but 65% currently. Democrats rose from 38% to 44%. Hispanic Catholics jumped from 48% to 66%, and White Catholics from 62% to 69%. (In March, the U.S. bishops’ doctrine committee stated that Catholic health institutions “must not” perform surgical or chemical change of a body’s “sexual characteristics,” whatever a patient’s age.)

Subscribers to the updated online “Stylebook” have much to ponder. The fact that the new material runs to 3,000 words shows the delicate complexities The AP and the media must deal with — everything from “deadnaming” to drag. Here are three major points for these ongoing journalism discussions.

* Pronouns. Journalists know that individuals who identify as transgender or nonbinary now often prefer to be referred to by the plural pronouns they/them/their instead of English grammar’s singular pronouns for individuals.

The AP “as much as possible” recommends plural pronouns if that’s what an individual wants and warns against stating that their pronouns are “preferred” or “chosen.” The “gender-neutral” plural singular requires careful writing to avoid the journalistic sin of confusing or misleading antecedents.

* “Assigned.” The AP style text says 12 times that a person’s gender is “assigned” at birth, stressing that this wording is now considered “the accurate terminology” for media use. That’s central to LGBTQ+ insistence that each infant’s gender is arbitrarily imposed from outside and subject to change, so this word allies the news media with one outlook in an intense societal debate.

The AP explains that “parents or attendants” usually do this assigning. Conventional science has taught that, apart from rare anomalies, it’s natural biology and DNA that “assigns” observed male or female genitalia and the chromosomes in each cell. But note this revisionist view.

* Treatments. The AP states that opponents of gender-affirming techniques “cite widely-discredited research” and argue that minors “shouldn’t make life-altering decisions they might regret.” The AP says puberty blockers to halt sexual maturation are “fully reversible,” as federal authorities claim. Hormone treatments are later applied to change aspects of gender. As for transition surgery, the AP states that it “should be reserved for adults,” with some exceptions for older teens.

The AP says “all these treatments have potential side effects,” the emphasis in an important June 8 Wall Street Journal article by investigative reporter Gerald Posner, author of 2020’s “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.”

Contra medical advocates, Posner details “substantial evidence of harmful long-term side effects” from puberty blockers, which “borders on child abuse.” The Guy recommends careful study of Posner’s (paywalled) research and this Mayo Clinic guidance.

The AP editors also oppose language about “both” or “opposite” genders, “male” or “female” hormones, or one’s “birth gender” or “biological sex.”

Also out are “transgendered,” “transgenderism,” “sex change,” “gender identity disorder,” “hermaphrodite,” “openly,” “avowed” and “admitted,” and mention of the “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” or TERF movement. “Detransition” is judged acceptable for efforts to reverse a patient’s prior “gender transition.”

On a different media topic: Newsroom story planners know about Pride Month, which celebrates both the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage. But they may be unaware of other significant movement observances as listed, for instance, by the Pride Alliance at the federal Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Designated days or weeks mark Agender Pride, Asexual Awareness, Bisexual Awareness, Intersex Awareness, Lesbian Visibility, Nonbinary Awareness, Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness, Transgender Awareness, Transgender Visibility, and Transgender Remembrance. Also the Day of Silence (protesting repressive bias); International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia; National Coming Out Day; International Pronoun Day; and Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, which begins on Valentine’s Day.

Disclosure: Before retirement, the Religion Guy was part of AP headquarters’ national reporting team. To contact The Associated Press, call 833–249–5020.


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