Elliot Page, the actor formerly known as Ellen Page, came out as transgender on Dec. 1. As news around trans issues and trans rights often does, the story elicited divides in news coverage.
In addition to splits in reporting, the news raised questions for the AllSides editorial team. How should we cover trans issues? Should we use the individual’s former name? How can we avoid polarizing language and maintain accuracy?
AllSides news primarily consists of curation, but we also write summaries and conduct some original journalism as part of our work. With a sensitive subject such as trans rights and trans issues, we want to ensure we’re properly describing the information at hand.
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Going forward, when someone comes out as transgender, our original content will refer to the individual by their chosen name and pronouns. We will include the individual’s former name (also known as their deadname) on first reference to ensure clarity and minimize confusion for our readers.
We’re not scientists or doctors, and we’re not activists. Our job is to present the facts to you, the reader, in a balanced and accurate way. This opens the door for you to decide for yourself how you feel about the situation.
The basic facts in Page’s case were that they came out as transgender, changed their first name, and asked others to refer to them with “he/they” pronouns. We reported and respected these facts as part of our role as a news provider, and we will continue doing this under similar circumstances while also curating reliable information and diverse viewpoints from throughout the political spectrum.