FACT SHEET: Reporter Guide to Covering Transgender People, Topics, and Legislation

A comprehensive list of 2023 anti-transgender bills nationwide as well as state by state is available at: https://www.equalityfederation.org/tracker/cumulative-anti-transgender

Checklist for Media Reporting on Transgender People and Issues

  • Ask for interviewee name and pronouns and use them in your reporting. 
  • Do not use a transgender person’s birth name, also known as a “dead name,” without their permission, even if from “official” sources like police, lawmakers or medical examiner records. Doing so undermines authentic identity, endangers all in the trans community, and is inaccurate journalism.
  • Seek quotes and background from transgender people in any story about transgender people or youth. 
  • Seek and center expertise over opinion in your reporting. 
  • Challenge people making negative claims about the transgender community to provide facts and evidence for claims. Include fact checks of quotes and claims in your reporting, headlines and social media promotion.
  • Research and report a source’s affiliations with groups seeking to limit rights and access of LGBTQ people and transgender people. Failure to correctly provide this context, history and motivation falsely identifies sources to your readers and viewers and creates an inaccurate narrative in your storytelling and journalism.
  • Research and include the history of groups or legislators advocating against LGBTQ people. The GLAAD Accountability Project has profiles of public figures and groups and their records of targeting LGBTQ people.
  • Every major medical association and world health authority supports healthcare for transgender people. Accurately report there is widely-held consensus about the safety and efficacy of this mainstream care. Statements from medical associations and world health authorities here.
  • Avoid elevating singular voices or rare cases and concerns in equal weight to overwhelming consensus and preponderance of evidence - doing so is inaccurate journalism and storytelling.
  • Include research on tangible harms to vulnerable youth and communities from anti-LGBTQ efforts, and research showing the benefits of affirmation for youth. The Trevor Project conducts annual research of LGBTQ youth.
  • Safety and Security Considerations. Confirm if the storyteller is comfortable using their full name, only their first name, or a pseudonym, and sharing their physical identity (i.e., in photos or on camera)  Do not expose their location; for example, film in a way that disguises the location. Avoid displaying identifying characteristics like addresses, street signs; or clear landmarks in the interview.
  • Where possible, seek transgender youth and families already out in the media, to preserve privacy and protect safety of youth. Avoid outing anyone under 18.
  • Informed Consent. Be clear to transgender storytellers about the specifics of your outlet and audience. Obtain their consent to continue the interview once that information is provided. Ask what areas of their transition story are off limits. Give them the opportunity to decide what is on record and off record.
  • Additional resources in the GLAAD Media Reference Guide including transgender topics and terminology.