Selling Souls for the Price of a Paper

The print media’s comfort with perpetuating the false, mutually exclusive dichotomy of LGBT and Christian is distinctly not journalism. Making choices that sell newspapers, but at the cost of human dignity, are not journalistic choices. It is the disgusting devaluation of human beings for the price of a paper.

    These choices participate in the failure to bring an end to the persecution of LGBT people. They participate in the violent and suicidal realities of LGBT teenagers. They espouse prejudice and discrimination. Not for the purpose of truth-telling. All for the selling of newspapers. Damn the cost to humanity.

    Just once, I would like to see a newspaper print that a person who is transgender IS their gender. Instead, we get this “identifies as a woman” crap that has nothing to do with what’s real and what’s not real.

     Just once, I would like to see a newspaper, instead of printing that someone IS a Christian, print that a person identifies as a Christian. There is certainly more room to question whether a person is actually a Christian - really represents the example and teachings of Christ - than there is to question whether or not someone actually knows their own gender.

    In articles expressing so-called Christian disdain for marriage equality, I have yet to see a single journalist question whether or not these people actually embrace the undeniable Christian value of unconditional love. Where are the questions about how a person can be Christian and be fighting against love?

    When someone talks about their personal experiences with discrimination as a member of the LGBT population, these are fact-based accounts of real-life experiences. Then the news ushers in someone with no lived experience to present a “counter opinion,” usually something to the effect of discrimination doesn’t exist.

    People claim faith as a mechanism of oppression. They sermonize the idea that not letting them use their alleged faith to justify treating other people as less than, is a way of oppressing their right to their own religious beliefs. You have to wonder why a journalist wouldn’t respond by questioning the logic and faith of that idea.

    This is not balanced reporting. There is no journalistic integrity in doing this. All there is, is a purposeful attempt to stir up everyone who thinks they should have a voice in some mythical conversation about whether or not LGBT people should be recognized as equal and worthy human beings.

    Ka-Ching! Another eight bits into the newspaper vending machine. Aren’t we all better off now?

    If you want to create journalistic integrity, every time you print about some self-identified Christian being against equality for LGBT citizens, you should also go find a self-identified Christian who is in favor of treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. We are not that hard to find.

    Or you might want to ask some questions or make some comments about how discrimination is not a Christian value; perhaps call into question whether or not your source is really a Christian or just identifies as a Christian.

    You certainly have no problem stating that people who are transgender merely identify as their authentic gender. After all, how could we really know who we are? No, wait, that’s not it. How could YOU really know who we are? And why would you assume that we don’t know?

    In the meantime, another LGBT teenager is struggling with the idea of whether or not their life is worth living. If you want to sell tabloids, sell tabloids. If you want to do journalism, do journalism. Just remember that the words you print will be one of the things that helps decide the struggle for many people who want nothing more than to be able to be who they are, and love who they love. Their lives sometimes hang in the balance. All for the price of a paper. l

StephanieMott-7Stephanie Mott is a transgender woman from Topeka. She is the executive director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, and a commissioner on the City of Topeka Human Relations Commission. Reach her at [email protected]

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