I sure do miss the old days of composing reasoned missives off to other folks. But hey, there's a veritable cornucopia of letter-writing opportunities today!
See, a few days ago, a few MTF women were sunbathing topless. Shocking, I know. Fortunately, the police were there to get involved. They told the women to please cover their boobs. [source] Think of the children! (If a child sees a breast, they perish. It's amazing any of us survive to the age of solid food. Anyway.) Then, cue the news media.
Where should we start? The AP, which seems to have forgotten that it has a style guide, goes with the headline, "Transgender men go topless at Delaware beach". Or there's USA Today, with , "Topless ban at beach doesn't apply to transgendered men with enhanced breasts." Or literally hundreds more, because women sunbathing topless is the most exciting thing to have happened on the east coast this summer. But, I mean, if you were going to use the phrase, "transgendered men with enhanced breasts," well, you really shouldn't use that phrase, but if you were in a parallell universe where that phrase was remotely acceptable, you could misguidedly direct it at me. Directing it at women? Wrong wrong wrong!
So rather than go into a long post about how this is essentially an appeal for forced sterilisation for trans women and an appalling example of genital-essentialism, I'm going to ask you to write a letter. Pick one of the news outlets at random and politely correct them. (Don't call them fucknecks, for example.) Here's my letter to the AP:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I recently came across your article, "Transgender men go topless at Delaware beach" ( http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hwg8Mfyg6HGmXI6s1QycLqxGAU8wD9G3VVO80 ). The people in question were MTF transgender women. Referring to them as "men" violates your own style guide on dealing with transgender people and is also deeply offensive.
In the future, please consider remembering that you have a style guide that deals with these issues.
Thank you for your time,
Charles Céleste Hutchins
Ok, maybe that's a bit snarky. But this is where you come in, Cis ally! You're against transphobia? Write one letter! Pick one news outlet and write them a short little note! Cut and paste from this note or write your own. Then leave a comment here saying who you wrote to. You can share your note too, if you want. It doesn't take much time and maybe the editor who gets it will realise he or she has made a mistake and might even do the right thing in the future. Or maybe it will be ignored. But it's better to write the letter than not.