Today, the Chicago Sun-Times removed an op-ed originally written for the National Review by Kevin D. Williamson, claiming that Laverne Cox is not a woman, and that transgender people are delusional. The op-ed ignored statements from health authorities like the American Psychological Association, saying that it "recognizes the efficacy, benefit, and medical necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments."
Yesterday GLAAD spoke to editors at the Chicago Sun-Times and also launched an action calling for LGBT people and allies to send a message to Chicago Sun-Times Publisher & Editor in Chief, Jim Kirk, and Editorial Page Editor, Tom McNamee, telling them that Williamson's essay is an inaccurate piece written by someone who clearly has no knowledge or understanding of transgender people.
The Sun-Times Editorial Page Editor Tom McNamee sent the following statement to GLAAD:
"We try to present a range of views on an issue, not only those views we may agree with, but also those we don’t agree with. A recent op-ed piece we ran online that was produced by another publication initially struck as 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. 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."
The organization Women, Action, & the Media (WAM) also spoke out against the op-ed calling for the Chicago Sun-Times to retract the piece and apologize to Laverne Cox. A Change.org petition also calling for retraction and an apology garnered over 1000 signatures in one day.
Trans advocate Jen Richards also wrote about the harmful op-ed in a piece for the Daily Dot, noting:
"The National Review, Chicago Sun-Times and all those who would echo sentiments similar to Williamson would be wise to consider which side of history the ignorant, arrogant, and cruel typically fall on. You may sell a few more papers in the short term, but the real cost is greater."
GLAAD is continuing to work with Chicago-based transgender leaders on additional responses.