An Open Letter to NPR

[Trigger warning for transphobia]

Dear NPR news,

Thank you for Richard Gonzales' coverage of the Berkeley city council's proposal to fund health care for transgender municipal employees during this Thursday's All Things Considered.

Because it's so routine and careless for media organizations to bungle coverage of issues pertaining to trans and gender non-conforming people, I tend to respond to inaccurate or transphobic reporting with some combination of silence and weary sarcasm. However, NPR News has a well-earned reputation as a responsible journalistic organization, so I actually trust that you'll take my remarks into consideration.

Transsexual is an adjective, not a noun (e.g., transsexual person, transsexual woman, transsexual man).

"Sex Change" is an inflammatory term. There are a jumble of terms referring to trans-related surgeries that would be more appropriate for your coverage, including sexual reassignment surgery, gender reassignment surgery, and sexual/gender confirmation/affirmation surgery. The easiest (and likely least controversial) thing to do would have been to listed the actual medical terms for some of the surgeries in question (mastectomies, vaginoplasties etc.,)

It is inappropriate to refer to a trans woman as having been "born a boy." This serves to undercut Lynn Riordin's point that "When [she] was 5, [she] realized [she] was a girl [and that she] never thought [she] was a boy."

Lastly, as I writer, I appreciate your effort to frame this story within a larger context. However, I wasn't impressed that you chose to portray the funding of health care as merely the pet project of leftist residents of a "liberal bastion."

Kindest Regards,

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