Shame on you


To the editor:

Shame on Oberlin News-Tribune editor Jason Hawk for mentioning someone’s transgender status in an unrelated story. That’s not only disrespectful and potentially dangerous to the subject, it violates professional standards: the Associated Press, Reuters, and the BBC all recommend against it.

Mr. Hawk can’t claim ignorance, as I made this point in a private letter nearly two months ago when the relevant incident occurred. The full text of that letter is linked from my Twitter account, @tgeller.

The Oberlin News-Tribune has a good record of respect for the people of the local community; let’s hope that this was an isolated incident of bad reporting.

Tom Geller

Editor’s note: A person’s status as cisgender or transgender would normally be irrelevant to such a story. However, it was included in “We can’t afford to ignore suicide” (May 19) to indicate why we chose to respectfully refer to that person as a woman in contrast to the prior report. That course was preferable to again referring incorrectly to the victim — who was not named in either instance — as a man.