Transgender actress Laverne Cox’s star has been steadily rising over the past year and she made history last week when she became the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of TIME magazine. However, Cox’s triumph was recently marred by a scathing article from the Chicago Sun-Times in which her cover was questioned and the writer insisted that Cox is not a real woman.
On Monday, the Sun-Times, syndicated a column by National Review correspondent Kevin D. Williamson, with the headline “Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman.” In the op-ed piece, Williamson argues that transgender army soldier Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was the first trans person to appear on a TIME cover (she was actually featured by TIME before her transition). However, Williamson goes on to challenge both Manning’s and Cox’s status as women.
“As I wrote at the time of the Manning announcement, Bradley Manning is not a woman. Neither is Laverne Cox,” Williamson wrote.
Throughout the rest of the article, Williamson intentionally uses male pronouns to describe Cox and continues to deny that she’s a real woman.
“Regardless of the question of whether he has had his genitals amputated, Cox is not a woman, but an effigy of a woman. Sex is a biological reality, and it is not subordinate to subjective impressions, no matter how intense those impressions are, how sincerely they are held, or how painful they make facing the biological facts of life. No hormone injection or surgical mutilation is sufficient to change that,” Williamson wrote.
Soon after the story hit the Web, Williamson and the Sun-Times were bombarded by a barrage of heavy criticism from trans activists, petitions for retractions and changes in trans representation from Women, Action, and the Media and Change.org, and even GLAAD, which posted a statement about the article as well as medical facts to refute Williamson’s incendiary opinions.
According to Buzzfeed, shortly after the major backlash, Sun-Times digital editor Brandon Wall tweeted, then deleted, that the piece being published was the result of a “colossal parade of f— ups.”
Later on, the Sun-Times retracted the article and released a statement claiming that it was an “oversight” that the story was posted. We seriously doubt that the Sun-Times had no knowledge or understanding about negative impact of the article or how offensive it was. Hopefully, their massive screw up will be a lesson learned to other publications that trans bashing is a major no-no.
Read the Sun-Times apology after the cut. – nicholas robinson