Aug 13 2015

Dean Spade on Trans Justice


Exploring the particular struggles that affect gender non-conforming people requires asking some difficult questions, not just about this country’s attitudes toward gender but about its respect for human rights. How deep are media willing to go?

Jun 01 2013

SoundBites June 2013

Extra! June 2013


Concealing a Spy Who Hid Torture; Misremembering Thatcher; PBS’s Debate on Social Security

May 01 2013

When Bigotry Is ‘Balance’

Media still worried homophobes aren't being heard


Media still worried homophobes aren’t being heardAs the Supreme Court finished hearing oral arguments on two same-sex marriage cases, the Wall Street Journal editorial page (3/27/13) proclaimed what has become a mantra of the right on this subject: The liberal media frame opponents of marriage equality as bigots. America’s cultural and media elites are attempting to browbeat the High Court into coercing the country into recognizing same-sex marriage by casting opponents as bigots for holding a position that President Obama held less than a year ago. Murdoch’s Journal is woefully misguided on two counts. It’s hard to make the case […]

Apr 01 2013

Missing the Bigger Picture on Transgender Healthcare

When appropriate care depends on your school or job

Transgender people and allies fight for healthcare for everyone, not just university students. (photo crediit: Liz Highleyman)

When appropriate care depends on your school or jobThe New York Times (2/13/13) reported that in the last few years, several elite U.S. universities have begun to cover sex reassignment surgery and/or hormones for trans-gender students. On the one hand, it’s great that they’re reporting news like this. After years of extremely disrespectful coverage of transgender issues (Extra!, 11/07), it feels like a victory that the story’s “balance” is limited to noting that “the idea still seems radical to plenty of people.” On the other hand, not a single trans-identified person is quoted. But what is most striking about this […]

Jun 01 2012

Being Transgender in American Media

Most journalists get pronouns right, but issues wrong

Jenna Talackova--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Most journalists get pronouns right, but issues wrongGive the corporate media cookies for finally getting pronouns right when reporting on transgender people. That only took dozens of years. Now if we could curb the media fixation on genitalia, we might be really getting somewhere. Because when it comes to covering transgender issues, media are still asking all the wrong questions, and framing the stories in the most offensive ways. Let’s examine the media swarm around Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova. In April, Talackova was ousted from the pageant because of her transgender identity, and then later reinstated. Sure, reporters […]

May 18 2012

Kenyon Farrow on NC Amendment 1, Nada Alwadi on Bahrain


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Before media were saying Obama’s declaration of support for same sex marriage shows how far we’ve come, they were saying how North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning recognition of those marriages shows how far we have to go. Both can be true, of course, but what did media miss about North Carolina’s Amendment One that might’ve changed that ‘you win some, you lose some’ framing? We’ll hear from activist and writer Kenyon Farrow on that. Also on CounterSpin today, U.S. media have covered the Arab Spring uprisings pretty thoroughly—if not always with the kind of […]

May 01 2011


In a conservative media market, anti-LGBT bias thrives

Homophobia poster--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Mike_fleming

In a conservative media market, anti-LGBT bias thrivesMedia coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues has come a long way since the days when the New York Times referred to gay people as “perverts” (12/16/50) or the New York Post (10/17/90) published an op-ed claiming that “our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hellbent on Satanism and suicide.” Though stereotyping and sensationalism remain a problem, particularly for coverage of transgender people (see Extra!, 11-12/07), hard work by activists has succeeded in gradually shifting national media coverage to largely embrace a much more fair and respectful approach to LGBT stories and […]

Aug 01 2010

Finishing School for Elena Kagan

Policing the gender and sexuality of a high court nominee

Policing the gender and sexuality of a high court nomineeWhen Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, her status as an unmarried professional woman did not go unnoticed—nor did her disregard for stereotypically “feminine” dress and behavior. Policing of Kagan’s gender and sexuality worked its way through the media like a whispering campaign, proving that conforming to rigid gender norms is still an expectation for smart, powerful women. On April 15, re-printed an opinion article originally published on the website of right-wing blogger Benjamin Domenech (New Ledger, 4/11/10). In the piece, Domenech wrote that Kagan […]