Chicago Sun-Times on June 3 removed an editorial that suggested that actor Laverne Cox, who recently appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, "is not a woman."
The article, published May 30 in the Sun-Times, was written by Kevin D. Williamson and originally appeared in the conservative publication National Review. Besides questioning Cox's gender identity, the piece also posited that transgender persons are living in denial of the "reality" of the gender they were assigned at birth.
"Regardless of the question of whether he has had his genitals amputated, Cox is not a woman, but an effigy of a woman," Williamson wrote. "Sex is a biological reality, and it is not subordinate to subjective impressions, no matter how intense those impressions are, how sincerely they are held, or how painful they make facing the biological facts of life. No hormone injection or surgical mutilation is sufficient to change that."
GLAAD on June 3 released a statement that included an apology from Sun-Times Editorial Page Editor Tom McNamee, who said that the piece was originally selected because it seemed provocative.
"Upon further consideration, we concluded the essay did not include some key facts and its overall tone was not consistent with what we seek to publish," McNamee added. "The column failed to acknowledge that the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have deemed transgender-related care medically necessary for transgender people. It failed as well to acknowledge the real and undeniable pain and discrimination felt by transgender people, who suffer from notably higher rates of depression and suicide. We have taken the post down and we apologize for the oversight."
In an earlier June 3 statement, representatives of GLAAD said that Williamson's commentary "is filled with falsehoods and inaccuracies about gender identity that ignore the expertise of credible medical and psychological health authorities. His essay is more than an ugly opinion, it's factually inaccurate."
Transgender writer Jen Richards on dailydot.com not only defended Cox, calling her a "a possibility model, not just for trans women of color, but to all who find themselves marginalized for who they are," but questioned why the Sun-Times, in publishing the piece, would diminish the contributions of several transgender Chicagoans as well.
"Does the Sun-Times wish to insult the dignity of people like billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist Jen Pritzker? Would it prefer that that most successful woman filmmaker in history, Lana Wachowski, take her studio elsewhere? Does it not want people like rock star Laura Jane Grace, ESPN contributor Christina Kahrl, MMA fighter Fallon Fox, and SAIC professor Mickey Mahoney to feel at home here?" asked Richards.
A change.org petition, asking Williamson to retract his statements, got more than 1,000 signatures in one day. Williamson, however, mocked both the petition and McNamee in a follow-up post for National Review: "Tom McNamee et al. are a disgrace to a proud newspaper tradition, and an unhappy reminder that post-operative transsexuals are not the only men who have had their characteristic equipment removed."
Earlier coverage at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Activists-GLAAD-blast-Sun-Times-commentary-on-Laverne-Cox/47670.html .
The change.org petition is at: chn.ge/1h4uKvs .
NcNamee's comment is at: bit.ly/1m8u6cz .
GLAAD's initial statement is at: bit.ly/1kmwLDZ .
Jen Richards' commentary is at: bit.ly/1km9lhY .