MTPC condemns the media’s use of MBTA employee’s transgender status to sensationalize coverage.

MTPC condemns the media’s use of MBTA employee’s transgender status to sensationalize coverage.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) urges media to maintain journalistic integrity when reporting on T operator Aiden Quinn who stands accountable for the crash. It would be irresponsible for media to imply that a person’s gender identity is the cause for this terrible accident. Anything related to his gender identity would be irrelevant and further perpetuate unnecessary sensationalism. Future coverage should focus on the accident itself and how the authorities plan to hold Mr. Quinn accountable for his actions.

Media outlets should be reporting on the facts of the case and not using sensationalistic coverage of a person’s gender identity or former name when neither has a bearing on the case. Furthermore, editorial guidelines from leading media style books such as The Associated Press and The New York Times make it clear that reporters should be using the pronouns of how a transgender person refers to themselves and lives publically. Reporters should also only refer to a person’s transgender status, former name, and/or former pronouns when it is relevant to the facts of a story and its pertinence is clear to the reader.

Additionally, a statement released by the MBTA asserts that there are no hiring practices that afford special status to people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Due to an inaccurate ABC News report, the MBTA has received numerous inquiries about the procedures under which trolley operator Aiden Quinn was hired. Contrary to the ABC News report, Quinn did not make any claims that would afford him special status. Like everyone else who seeks employment as a trolley operator at the MBTA, Quinn entered the job lottery (2004). His number came up in 2007, and he was hired that summer. There was nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about his hiring.”

MTPC strongly urges media outlets to cease and desist from using inflammatory or disrespectful terminology with regards to reporting on transgender individuals; undergo transgender cultural competency training; and follow editorial guidelines that are consistent with the recommendations of the AP style guide and the GLAAD Media Reference Guide with regards to reporting on the transgender individuals.
####
If you would like more information please contact Gunner Scott at 617-778-0519 or via email at gscott@masstpc.org. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. We envision a world where persons of all genders are treated with respect and fully participate in all areas of society, free from fear of prohibition, harassment or violence based on their gender identity and/or expression.