Friday, September 14, 2018

It Is No Joking Matter

You say he was only joking, he wanted to say something funny and now he might lose his job. Maybe it is because it wasn’t funny, maybe it because it stuck a knife in our backs.
In an Opinion on the Bay Area Reporter by Steve Friess, he wrote…
And what I am about to say may invalidate all of that because such is the world in which we live: In the case of L'Affair de Marshall, in which longtime NLGJA leader Marshall McPeek attempted to be a ham by welcoming to a soiree "ladies and gentlemen, things and its," everybody is wrong.

Everybody. And yes, even you, pitchfork-wielding trans Twitter. That's what makes it all so sad.

Obviously, McPeek was wrong. According to at least one prominent colleague back in Columbus, Ohio, where McPeek is a weatherman, the "things and its" construction is a dumb gag people there say with no reference to gender identity. That doesn't make it OK in this context, but it also doesn't make it a premeditated act of malicious emceeing or an important insight into McPeek's views on transgender people.

McPeek realized quickly how stupid it was, so within an hour he returned to the room, took the mic, pleaded for everyone's attention, and delivered what, by all accounts, was a sincere, impassioned apology.
You know what I do not buy “attempted to be a ham” he had to know that calling a person an “it” is wrong, substitute the “N” word would that have been funny? Then why did he think calling trans people what he did was funny?
McPeek, now 49, was openly gay in the early 1990s as a 20-something on-air TV personality. Do you remember how rare and brave that was 25 years ago? And he was not in some big, progressive coastal metropolis; he was in Toledo, Ohio. Like me, he used the NLGJA as a vehicle for a form of activism compatible with also being a journalist, striving to improve public understanding by ensuring we are covered accurately and fairly. He founded chapters, organized conventions, and served on the board and as an officer. As early as the late 1990s, he was among those advocating toadd the word "transgender" to our mission statement.
If he is an activist and he has been an out gay then he should have known those were derogatory words.

As a journalist he should have known that words do indeed hurt.

Did he read about the 12 year old trans child who commented suicide last because the other students were using the same words?

I have a friend who was beaten with a baseball bat and left for dead, all while they were calling her “it” and “thing.”

Another person that I know was beaten by a 2x4 on a construction job and they were calling her “it.”

It may be a joke for you, but for us it is life or death.

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