Toronto Diary
1 min

NPR to use correct gender pronouns for Chelsea Manning, thanks to social media

Ever since Chelsea Manning came out as a trans woman, more than a few media outlets have been collectively going bonkers over whether or not to use correct gender pronouns. No, I'm not sure why this is so hard either. She literally said she uses female pronouns now, so it's really just respectful to follow suit.

One such outlet was NPR, which apparently worked under the assumption that you use pronouns that correspond with a person's birth certificate until that person gets SRS. Thankfully, according to The Guerrilla Angel Report, NPR has come around and adopted the correct pronoun usage after a push on social media.

"Like so many of our journalism colleagues, we’ve had numerous newsroom conversations over the last two days about how NPR should refer to Manning. Yesterday, we decided to make clear in first reference that Bradley Manning wished to be known as “Chelsea,” and we decided to use male-related pronouns on later references. Our thinking has evolved.

We are fond of saying that our style and language use is always open to challenge and subject to change. We also believe that a healthy newsroom is open to debate and reflection. In the past day, we have been challenged by listeners and readers and by colleagues at our member stations and in our newsroom, raising a chorus of views, including requests to rethink, backed up by arguments that make good sense. We have been persuaded. . . ."

Well, at least they came around eventually and changed their policy. They kinda dragged their feet a bit, but it's a lot better than certain news outlets have been doing. I'm looking at you, Fox News. Don't laugh, CNN: you haven't been doing much better.

This is one of the great things about social media: it spreads information quickly and efficiently. Yes, sometimes it devolves into a lot of passive-aggressive bickering, but if enough people are willing to pass along knowledge, keep the dialogue realistic and empathetic, and refuse to veer into hyperbole or hypotheticals, other people are usually willing to listen and consider what we have to say.