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CNN And Local Michigan CBS Affiliate Broadcast Transphobic Segment On Planet Fitness: VIDEO

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CNN and WNEM, a Michigan-area CBS affiliate, have been doing their part to prove that oftentimes the media doesn’t know the first thing about how it should talk about trans-identified people.

Earlier this week we brought you the story of Yvette Cormier, a Midland, Michigan woman who took it upon herself to harass and badger Carlotta Sklodowska, a transgender member of her local Planet Fitness gym. After mistakenly identifying the transwoman as a man, outing the woman to other gym members, and attempting to have the woman kicked out of the gym, Cormier found herself banned from the location for violating Planet Fitness’s “No Judgement Zone” policy.

In a recently produced local television segment WNEM reporter Gino Vicci sat down with Cormier to hear her side of the story and allow her the space to make her arguments. Unsurprisingly, her justifications smack of transphobia and hostility.

“I was stunned and shocked,” Cormier said of the first time she saw the transwoman. “He totally looked like a man. He was not dressed like a woman at all.”

FitnessThe real issues at hand with the segment are WNEM’s questionable production and CNN’s decision to rebroadcast the footage nationally. Throughout WNEM’s original coverage, Vicci retells Cormier’s story and repeatedly refers to the harassed transwoman as a ‘man.’ In addition to Cormier the segment includes opinions from three other Midland Planet Fitness patrons asked to weigh in on Cormier’s expulsion. The specific question Vicci asked patrons was worded so as to deny the validity of a trans-person’s assertion of their gender identity:

“We asked them if they would be comfortable with sharing the locker room with the opposite sex or at least the appearance of the opposite sex.”

HASSELBECKThe responses, as one might expect, were resoundingly negative. As easy as it would be to write off their comments as being borne out of a small-town, conservative mindset, there is something to be said for the way that journalists handle stories like this. In many ways Fox News’s approach to the story has been similar to WNEM’s. In a recently aired episode of Fox & Friends Elisabeth Hasselbeck repeatedly misgenders Sklodowska and gives credence to the opinions of Dr. Keith Ablow, a frequent Fox contributor who purports to be a psychiatrist but spent most of his time on-air spouting nonsense.

“It's tough to speak about because we're so politically correct now that we get tongue tied. We can't say the obvious, which is this is craziness,” said Albow. “You're kicking out members because they feel uncomfortable that someone who seems to be a man to them and is genetically is looking at them naked when they're unclothed as women? That's craziness.”

While this sort of rhetoric has become the hallmark of much of Fox’s reporting on LGBT issues, the larger story highlights the power that verbal violence against trans-people can have. Gino Vicci has since made half-hearted apologies for repeatedly identifying Sklodowska as a man, but WNEM’s continued coverage of the local Planet Fitness has turned the gym’s decision to stand up for trans-rights into a cause for alarm.

Since WNEM’s first transphobic segment, station reporters have gone back to the gym to gather opinions from other people, but the damage of introducing the story as a man’s intrusion into the women’s locker room has already been done. We could all stand to learn from WNEM’s example and try harder to better share stories focusing on trans lives to more productive ends.

Watch the original segment from WNEM reporter Gino Vicci and the Fox & Friends discussion, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nerd Out With CNN's Quiz Show: Presidents Edition - VIDEO

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CNN debuted its new "Quiz Show" on Monday night with a special Presidents Edition in honor of President's Day. The show, hosted by silver fox Anderson Cooper, saw three teams of two CNN anchors face off against each other for prize money to go to the charities of their choice. The contenders? Jake Tapper and Alisyn Camerota, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, & Erin Burnett and John Berman. 

BEYONCEThe show had its fair share of funny and awkward moments. After Lemon buzzed in randomly, Cooper retorted, "You can't ring in Don, there wasn't even a question there." Anderson then quipped that trying to get the anchors to focus on the task at hand was like "herding cats."

There was even some shade to be had. Responding to a question about which famous singer had not sung at a Presidential Inauguration, Jon Berman responded Beyoncé, which Cooper noted was incorrect (Queen Bey performed at President Obama's 2012 inauguration). Not so said, Berman--"She lip synced."

Twitter, meanwhile, had its fair share of fun at the anchors' expense. Jake Tapper won nerd points across all platforms.

Watch the show in its entirety, AFTER THE JUMP...

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CNN To Air Political Quiz Show Hosted By Anderson Cooper

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Well this is different. According to TVNewser CNN has plans to create a politics-themed quiz show, blocking and testing of which took place this week at CNN's New York studios. The show will be a quiz-style show evidently in the theme of Jeopardy!, will focus on presidential politics, and be hosted by Anderson Cooper.

The first episode will air on Presidents' Day, February 16th, and will go into further production if it is well-received.

Stand by for Cooper's redheaded bestie Kathy Griffin to have a field day with this.


Mayor Of Paris Announces Plans To Sue Fox News: VIDEO

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Between giving bigot Bill Donohue a platform to spout his hatred and glibly comparing a fight for LGBT rights to the abominable attack on Charlie Hebdo, Fox News has done anything but handle political discussion around Paris, France with the objective professionalism one would expect from a station that dares call itself a "news" source. In fact, their coverage has reached such an offensive point that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced plans to sue the media giant.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour broke the news over Twitter:

BREAKING: Paris is going to sue @FoxNews after image of Paris was “insulted” and “prejudiced,” Mayor @Anne_Hidalgo tells me.

— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 20, 2015

And Hidalgo further expressed her disdain to her followers:

Je suis bien sûr choquée par la bêtise stigmatisante de Fox News : @BilldeBlasio et moi irons d'ailleurs dans le 19e cet après-midi

— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) January 20, 2015

Which roughly translates as: "I am of course shocked at the stigmatizing stupidity of Fox News. Bill DeBlasio and I will be at the 19th [District] this afternoon."

You can watch an interview between Amanpour and Hidalgo on CNN Money AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mayor Of Paris Announces Plans To Sue Fox News: VIDEO" »


China's LGBT Community Fights Stigma, Sham Marriages, Shock Therapy: VIDEO

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It's been 17 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in China. 

But the LGBT community in the world's most populous country is still facing enormous challenges, according to a new CNN "On China" report.

In 2013, a Pew survey found that only 21 percent of Chinese people favor acceptance of homosexuality. 

Practices like shock therapy to "cure" homosexaulity are still common, and there are no laws against anti-LGBT discrimination. 

In fact, the biggest issue facing the LGBT community in China is not same-sex marriage — which remains illegal — but opposite-sex marriage. 

Studies have shown that as many as 10 million Chinese women are married to gay men. That's because Chinese culture places enormous pressure on people to produce offspring — pressure that is only intensified by the country's one-child policy. 

In the LGBT community, sham marriages are the norm — and there are even websites dedicated to matching gay men and women. 

"If you're not [married], you're a monster," LGBT activist Xu Bin told CNN. "If you're above 25 years of age, and you're not married, you're an outcast — there must be something wrong." 

China's Communist government is officially neutral on homosexuality, activists say. However, national security forces watch LGBT advocacy groups closedly and have warned them about being too vocal. 

If nothing else, the CNN report is a reminder that we've still got a lot of work to do overseas, not just in countries where gays are actively persecuted, but anywhere our LGBT brothers and sisters aren't free and equal. 

Watch two videos previewing the report, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Ex-CNN Employee Reaches Settlement in $60 Million Anti-gay Discrimination Lawsuit

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William Kane, the former CNN microphone technician who filed a $60 million discrimination lawsuit against his former employer for wrongful termination, has reached a settlement according to the Daily News. This past May, Kane alleged that his supervisor John Silva used Kane’s notoriously loud wardrobe as justification for firing him after hearing that Kane was gay.

In addition to purportedly being told that he might be better suited to the “entertainment or makeup” departments, Kane recalled being offered $100 to go to TJ Maxx and buy another outfit during the middle of one particular work day. Since being let go from CNN in 2013 Kane has struggled to find work, according to the lawsuit, and has remained in therapy to deal with the emotional stress.

"Mr. Kane is pleased with the resolution and wishes to put this chapter of his life behind him and move on," Kane’s attorney Rocco Avallone said in a statement. "Mr. Kane hopes that his future employer will be more respectful of his lifestyle and embrace his individuality.”


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