What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 5, 2015

The Post-Gazette Responds To Readers Offended By The Offensive Jennifer Graham

Alex Zimmerman, over at the City Paper, has tracked down a response (of sorts) from the Post-Gazette regarding JennyG's bit of transphobia.

First he tried Shribman:
Reached this afternoon, Shribman largely declined comment, saying he does not oversee the paper's editorial pages so he can remain an objective leader of the paper's news content. Of the decision to publish the editorial, Shribman says, “It simply is not my responsibility." He referred me to the P-G's editorial page editor Tom Waseleski, who did not immediately return a call.
The hunt continued:
But Waseleski has been responding to some readers. Several readers forwarded City Paper this response:
Thanks for sharing your opinion on Jennifer Graham's column. I appreciate hearing from readers, even when they disagree with a viewpoint they read in the Post-Gazette.

Obviously, she holds a strong conservative perspective on the matter — and the PG opinion pages are a forum for a broad range of viewpoints. While Jennifer's opinion may not reflect yours, it certainly speaks for others.

As an editor, I found Jennifer's piece well-written and worth publishing. I am not surprised that it would meet with strong reaction; various pieces in the Post-Gazette typically do. As to your point about violating AP style, we allow columnists occasional exceptions when the material warrants. For instance, Maureen Dowd routinely refers to George W. Bush as "W." We allow that, even though it violates the AP code.

Some readers have used this essay to accuse the PG of some sort of anti-gay perspective; they couldn't be more wrong. Just this Wednesday, we published an editorial cartoon by Rob Rogers that was pro-LGBTQIA. The newspaper's editorial position supports marriage for same-sex couples and advocates state and federal legislation to protect LGBTQIA individuals from discrimination. Last June, our news department published a series on people who are transgender — their joys and sorrows. You can look all this up.

I invite you to share your reaction with our readers by sending us a letter to the editor, 250 words or less, to letters@post-gazette.com. Please include name, address and phone number for confirmation. We'd be glad to consider publishing your opinion, in the hopes of airing all viewpoints on this issue. Thanks again for writing.
I have a few thoughts on this.  First regarding the AP Style book.  According to GLAAD, this is the AP guideline regarding the use of proper pronouns:
Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
So when Jennifer Graham deliberately and insultingly used the inappropriate "he" ten times, that was exactly the same as Maureen Dowd referring to George W. Bush by the nickname he chose for himself as a young politician.

Yea, exactly the same.

But the bigger problem with Waseleski's is his rationalization that it was OK to publish Graham's anti-Trans piece simply because there's so much other pro-LGBT stuff to be found in the paper.

What sort of reasoning is that?  Can I get away with telling racist jokes just because Tony Norman was best man at my wedding?

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