The process of being interviewed by a journalist is a very vulnerable one. As a subject I answer questions, and then the journalist selects certain quotes to use when it comes to the topic they are investigating. Recently I was in an article in the Toronto Star about gender non-conforming people:
There were some parts of this article that I didn’t feel were fully explained for whatever reason. I’m writing this because I have more agency when I get to choose my own words when it comes to both my identity and my perspective on the recent history of the ‘they’ pronoun being used in popular media.
The journalist from the Toronto Star contacted me and quoted some excerpts to me that I had written. They were from a tumblr post I made in January 2012 coming out as preferring the pronoun ‘they’ and about the reason why I was boycotting being interviewed by Toronto’s Gay and Lesbian paper Xtra at the time:
In the article in the Star, Xtra’s managing editor Danny Glenwright (who was also responsible for posting Lexi Sanfino’s legal name on his Facebook page, and who has not publically apologized for doing so) is quoted as saying that the situation was caused by a misunderstanding about Xtra’s use of the pronoun ‘they.’ It has been well documented that Toronto artist Elisha Lim (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Elisha-Lim/104527506295114?fref=ts) requested that the ‘they’ pronoun be used for an article about them, but this request was denied by the journalists and editors at Xtra. For me, the fact that Elisha was denied the use of their preferred pronoun was and is enough evidence that someone was denied pronoun usage by the paper. Elisha Lim was the first person that I knew of going by the ‘they’ pronoun in the media, and seeing them stand up for themselves inspired me to do the same.
I think there are as many different kinds of ways of being trans as there are trans people. Every trans person (every person, actually) has a different way that they need to be treated to feel respected, so it would be impossible for an article to completely educate anyone on everyone’s gender preferences. In the future I hope that the mainstream media will move to cover more diverse stories about trans people and move away from favouring those who are white and on the trans-masculine spectrum. I also hope that writers, editors and copy editors take more care in using the preferred pronouns of subjects.