Set to the tune of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," on Monday the Lowell Sun newspaper published an anti-trans ‘Christmas carol’ in which Chaz Bono and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Bill were the targets of the 'joke.'
In the piece, Lowell Sun columnist Dan Phelps not only misreferences Chaz Bono’s gender identity -- constantly referring to him as “she” and even going so far as to use his given name -- but also made light of the very real issue of people being able to live as their true selves, perpetuating dangerous stereotypes about who transgender people are and the challenges they face.
“Blatantly misinforming readers about transgender people and belittling Chaz Bono for having the courage to be himself is not only petty and mean-spirited, but given the outpouring of national public support for Chaz during his time on Dancing With the Stars, it is also out of touch with growing public sentiment," said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs & Communications.
Phelps also made disparaging comments about the recently passed non-discrimination bill which protects all Massachusetts residents from discrimination based on gender identity and expression in employment, housing, education, credit and hate crimes law. The piece states:
Now transgenders in the Bay State
Have a law that's etched in black.
It says they can change their gender.
Then if they want, they can change it back.
Immediately after being in touch with local LGBT advocates in Massachusetts, GLAAD reached out to Lowell Sun editor Jim Campanini, to relay why these types of 'jokes' aren’t funny and to explain why a newspaper -- especially the 8th largest in the state -- should hold itself to higher journalistic integrity and standards. While Jim was receptive to our feedback and agreed that this was a "poor parody," telling us that he would speak with the staff member responsible for the offensive piece, he has yet to remove it from the paper's website or issue a public apology.
Stand with GLAAD in asking the Lowell Sun to remove the anti-trans 'Christmas carol' from their website and to put their apology in writing. It's great that we heard their apology, but it's more important that the paper's readers see it.
Jim Campanini can be reached directly at (978) 970-4621 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage you to tweet @LowellSunNews. Suggested tweet:
RT @glaad @LowellSunNews Get some holiday spirit + remove offensive song about @ChazBono! http://bit.ly/vKNK5n #LGBT #Transgender