The New York Times is Undeniably Transphobic

Matthew G. Saroff
3 min readAug 25, 2023

There has been a constant stream of of hostility from the Gray Lady with regard transgender people, but the latest episode is just flat out bigoted.

Someone at authority the Times is a bigot, or has made a conscious decision to pander to bigots.

This time, they uncritically published statements from someone who they stated (and buried) was a serial liar.

Someone needs to name and shame whoever is pushing this narrative:

In the New York Times this morning, August 23, 2023, reporter Azeen Ghorayshi writes credulously about the wild, unproven allegations surrounding a St. Louis clinic that specializes in treating gender dysphoric youth. These are the allegations of Jamie Reed, a former clinic employee who has become an activist opposing all medical treatment for gender dysphoria in children (with some statements suggesting she even opposes treatments for adults).

Ghorayshi manages the seemingly impossible, combining examples of her main source’s repeated lies and no evidence of wrongdoing on the part clinic into an article structured to heavily imply Reed’s concerns were genuine, and warranted, in spite of the Times’ own reporting on the case. An early paragraph, which hints at corroboration for some of Reed’s allegations the article never produces, sets this bizarre tone:

Some of Ms. Reed’s claims could not be confirmed, and at least one included factual inaccuracies. But others were corroborated, offering a rare glimpse into one of the 100 or so clinics in the United States that have been at the center of an intensifying fight over transgender rights.

Jamie Reed alleged numerous things in her essay for the Free Press, and in the affidavit she provided to the Republican attorney general of MO. And, just like the local St. Louis reporters who first investigated this story, the Times found many of the allegations were untrue. But, unlike other stories covering these allegations, the Times downplays the falsehoods and seeks to make a case that despite Reed’s lies there’s something to be taken seriously in her attacks on a highly-regarded, University-linked clinic serving transgender youth.

One key allegation of Reed’s was that the St. Louis clinic failed to inform patients or their parents of the risks associated with treatments such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Following in the footsteps of other reporters who examined this claim months ago, Ghorayshi finds this was an outright lie. She writes, “[Reed’s] affidavit claimed that the clinic’s doctors did not inform parents or children of the serious side effects of puberty blockers and hormones. But emails show that Ms. Reed herself provided parents with fliers outlining possible risks.”

………

The Times also found new evidence of a false claim. Reed’s affidavit describes a patient who was harmed by bicalutamide, a drug that blocks testosterone. In Assigned’s first piece on Reed’s allegations, this anecdote stood out. We looked into the data on bicalutamide and found that liver toxicity is such a rare side effect with only individual case histories, and no statistical studies, documenting it as a rare adverse response. The literature suggested that when liver toxicity occurrs it does so within the first few days of starting treatment.

Ghorayshi located the mother of this patient who described a completely different situation than what Reed alleged. Her daughter had been on bicalutamide for a year, and the liver symptoms showed up only after the young patient also contracted COVID and took a second drug which also carried risks of liver problems.

If that’s not enough, the mother also provided emails directly contradicting Reed’s description of how she had responded at the time.

………

Somehow, despite these major questions about Reed’s reliability, Ghorayshi largely seems to take Reed at face value, portraying her as a former supporter of gender-affirming care who began to question it due to what she saw at the clinic, rather than as an unreliable source who has lied or stretched the truth again and again and whose descriptions of everything, particularly her own motives, should therefore rightly be suspect.

While Ghorayshi has been a particularly egregious transphobe at the Times, and a Buzzfeed before that, it’s clear that she was hired and given her marching orders by someone in a position of authority, probably senior editor or above, to run with this and to focus on this.

In reading various accounts from various sources, (NPR, The Nation, The Guardian, etc.) it seems to me that everyone knows who this is, but they do not want to say.

F%$# professional courtesy. Name and shame the bastard.

H/t Atrios

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