Think Progress intern Marina Fang, like a bunch of other news outlets as of late, has a fascinating piece on newsroom guidelines regarding transgender reporting. The question at hand: Should writers use the preferred “he” or “she” pronouns despite how a person was born?
Fang’s piece comes in the context of Private Chelsea Manning, the Army private who was previously Bradley Manning. Manning considers herself female even though she was born male. AP will use the pronoun preferred by the individual, as will the NYT. WaPo is still “reviewing its procedure.” NPR used male pronouns Thursday but by Friday “had evolved.” Not included in Fang’s story is MetroWeekly, one of Washington’s two gay publications, which refers to Manning as “she” through and through.
The Daily Caller is mixed — no set policy. “The transgender thing is tough,” Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson told FishbowlDC. “I feel sorry for them for sure — imagine being so unhappy you castrated yourself — and in general we call people what they want to be called. On the other hand, you can’t change your sex. It’s impossible. A person’s sex is determined at the DNA level. It’s lying to pretend otherwise. We don’t have a policy on it though.”
The Hill, run by conservative-leaning Hugo Gurdon, appears to agree with Carlson. They called Manning “he” and explained that “he” preferred to be known as Chelsea Manning. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest, meanwhile, referred to Manning as “Mr. Manning” in a recent White House briefing.
Still, Fang writes that the AP and NYT “danced around the issue, using gender-neutral pronouns in their stories on Manning when the story first broke last Thursday.”
This is Think Progress, after all, so Fang avoids citing the policies of conservative sites. But a quick look at Breitbart.com addresses the whole he/she issue like this. Read more