GLAAD releases media guide for accurate reporting on transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws & ordinances

New GLAAD resource comes as Georgia House advances anti-LGBT discrimination bill; South Dakota's state legislature passes discriminatory law targeting transgender students
February 25, 2016

Seth Adam
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8018

Matt Goodman
Associate Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8028

New York, NY – GLAAD, the world's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today released Debunking the "Bathroom Bill" Myth – Accurate Reporting on LGBT Nondiscrimination: A Guide for Journalists in collaboration with a coalition of state and national LGBT advocacy organizations. This media guide comes after the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in late 2015, as well as bills in both Georgia and South Dakota that currently threaten to harm transgender Americans. The guide will be useful for media outlets reporting on the 85 nondiscrimination and anti-LGBT bills currently on the horizon across the country.

"Anti-LGBT activists are viciously putting a target on our children's backs by using fearmongering and misinformation in a desperate attempt to legalize discrimination," said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. "Accurate reporting is crucial to providing voters with the realities of these bills and their dire consequences. This guide will help media tell the real story of transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances."

"It's imperative that the media fairly and accurately report on the discrimination faced by transgender people and the importance of laws which provide protections for them in housing, employment, and public spaces. Alarmist attempts to frighten voters into rejecting fair treatment for trans people must be challenged by journalists well-armed with the facts," said Nick Adams, Director of Programs for Transgender Media at GLAAD.

Nondiscrimination ordinances were recently in the national spotlight surrounding the late 2015 repeal of HERO. HERO outlawed discrimination against many communities, including the transgender community. In the successful campaign to repeal the ordinance, opponents used misinformation and exploited outdated stereotypes and fears about transgender people, falsely suggesting that the law would put women and children at risk. Making matters worse, many local news outlets repeated these messages, often without questioning the validity of the claims, thereby providing free airtime and a veneer of legitimacy to claims that were easily proved false.

Debunking the "Bathroom Bill" Myth – Accurate Reporting on LGBT Nondiscrimination: A Guide for Journalists provides background on these ordinances, highlights the importance of fair and accurate reporting, points out the fallacies of so-called "Bathroom Bills," and details the impact of media-amplified myths and misinformation during the HERO campaign. Other helpful resources include best practices for media coverage in addition to terms, definitions, and pitfalls to avoid. The guide was developed in collaboration with Equality California, Freedom for All Americans, the Gill Foundation, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), and the Transgender Law Center (TLC).