FOX News, continuing its long history of anti-trans media coverage, is promoting a false story about a transgender high school student in Colorado who was allegedly harassing her peers. The story appears to have originated from the anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute, and CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), which has been exposed countless times for the high level of anti-LGBT bias in its reporting, broke it as "news." CBN and FOX claimed that non-transgender women students at Florence High School were being harassed by a transgender student in the womens' bathroom and locker rooms – the continuation of a common myth perpetuated by anti-trans activists. Their reports also misgender the trans student several times.
As the story was picked up by the Examiner.com, and internationally by the UK's Daily Mail, Cristan Williams at the TransAdvocate pointed out the lack of input from any teachers, parents, or students at Florence High School, and decided to do some fact checking of her own. In a phone conversation with Cristan, Florence High School Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti clarified the misinformation, saying, "We do have a transgender student at the high school, and she has been using the women's restrooms. There has not been a situation. All the students of these parents who say they feel uncomfortable just about the fact that the student is allowed to go into the restrooms at the high school, into the stalls – they don't believe that that's appropriate, so that's where it stems from. There has not been an incident of harassment, or anything that would cause any additional concern."
The greater truth is that transgender people face harassment at school, in bathrooms, at jobs, and in places of public accommodation at alarmingly high rates. According to GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.9% of students were verbally harassed in school because of their gender expression, and 27.1% were physically harassed. Moreover, nearly forty percent of LGBT students said they avoided locker rooms and bathrooms because they felt unsafe. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 78% of students who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity in school were harassed.
Daily Mail has pulled the story, and Examiner.com printed a retraction, but CBN and FOX News have done nothing to correct their "reporting" on the fictional incident. For these outlets to perpetuate this story without any fact checking or support behind their claims is not only bad journalism, it's an attack on a transgender high school student who is already at risk of facing harassment and bullying.
Tell FOX News to stop promoting this false story. Tweet: .@FOXNews Check your facts and stop promoting the false story of a Colorado transgender high school student http://www.glaad.org/blog/conservative-media-ignores-facts-report-false-story-harassment-transgender-student