Transgender community organisation Gender DynamiX has slammed the Sowetan newspaper for its recent article confusing transgender women with gay men.
The article, reporting the recent decision by the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) to welcome transgender women in its ranks, was incorrectly titled “Gays can join ANC Women’s League”.
Journalist Moipone Malefane then went on to use the terms “gay” or “gay men” and “transgender” interchangeably in her story. She also wrote about transgender men instead of transgender women.
In a statement on Friday, Gender DynamiX expressed its “alarm” at the “problematic reporting” by the Sowetan, which has sparked outrage in the LGBT community.
While welcoming the ANCWL’s resolution, it said that the article showed “a deep level of ignorance of transgender persons and issues around gender identity.”
Most disturbingly, the organisation noted, is that the editing structures of the newspaper did not correct the misrepresentation of transgender women by the journalist.
“The lack of sensitivity and respect on the reporting on a discriminated and traumatised community is alarmingly unprofessional,” it said, decrying the inexcusable “journalistic laziness” that “contributes to the aggression perpetuated and reproduced against gender minorities.”
Gender DynamiX argued that the Sowetan failed in its responsibility as a media establishment that “facilitates and influences public perceptions on a wide range of views, ideas and communities.”
It called on the newspaper to write an apology and a retraction, adding that “it is through carelessly written articles that transgender people are humiliated, erased and denigrated.”
It further urged it and other media to improve their awareness of gender and sexual minority issues.
Gender DynamiX describes itself as the first African based organisation solely focusing on the transgender community.
Mambaonline wrote to Malefane at the Sowetan for comment on her article on Thursday but has yet to receive a response.