Voices of Protest Reach the 'Voice'
About 50 people gathered in front of the Village Voice's office on Monday, December 13, to protest a recent feature story about a woman who underwent a gender transformation to become a man. Specifically, they objected to the cover graphic of a Barbie doll with sewn-on breasts and a penis, use of female pronouns to refer to a transsexual man, and the "constant implication that a person is more real before gender transition than after transition."
The demonstration was sponsored by the Metropolitan Gender Network, which has asked for a meeting with a member of the Voice staff and a commitment that the Voice will run a first-person story by a "trans-man" and give it similar length and prominence as the November 23 feature, entitled "Suddenly Not Susan," which they were protesting. They also want the Voice to make pronouns and other language changes in future stories that would be "in sync with a person's self-identity and presentation."
Voice editor in chief Don Forst said, "No malice was intended in the piece nor was any malice rendered. If we were insensitive in our language, we will certainly endeavor to avoid that in the future. While the cover image was a strong graphic illustration, it was not inappropriate."
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