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First World Problems

Where would we be without NPR to keep us updated on the March of Progress?:

“Pregnancy and childbirth were very male experiences for me,” said a 29-year-old respondent in a study reported Friday in Obstetrics and Gynecology. “When I birthed my children, I was born into fatherhood.”

If this statement at first seems perplexing, it’s less so when you realize the person talking is a transgender man – someone who has transitioned from a female identity to a male or masculine identity.

He is one of 41 participants in a study of how it feels to be male and pregnant, a study the authors think may be the first of its kind.

Pregnancy as a transgender man is unlike any other kind. No one expects a man to be pregnant, and the study participants said they were often greeted with double-takes, suspicion and even hostility from strangers and health care providers. “Child Protective Services was alerted to the fact that a ‘tranny’ had a baby,” one participant reported.

UPDATE: Perfect comment from NS:

Let me try to explain. It is confusing to me that NPR would spend time, money, and resources reporting on an affliction that effects 1 in every 10,000-30,000 people. That is fine for one story, maybe. But NPR reports on this type of stuff disproportionately. And this is a story not merely on transsexualism but on transgender men who want children! And not only that, it presents these stories as if they are not only worth telling, but somehow representative of a paradigm shift in the world or, as Rod puts it, the front lines of the March of Progress. Surely there are more pertinent stories that must be told that would inform the public. Reporting on this stuff, in my opinion, borders on journalistic malpractice.

And now let me ask you a question: do you think evangelical protestants, who make up 26% of the US population according to the most recent Pew survey, deserve deeper and more nuanced coverage than “evangelicals are evil and backwards because Jerry Falwell”?

A quick survey of the 6 most recent articles about transgender people on NPR: the one Rod mentions, a review of Amazon’s show about transgender people, a video about India’s transgender community, an activist imploring people to “respect transgender teens”, an article about the rising number of “gender fluid” tv characters, and an article about the Indian Supreme Court decision recognizing transgender citizens. Those 6 articles date from April 15 to today.

The number of articles on NPR articles about evangelicals in that same time period?: 6. They consist of an article about how important evangelicals are to the GOP, the problems surrounding social issues that the rise of evangelicalism in Brazil is going to create, an article blaming Uganda’s anti-gay laws on US evangelicals, a report on sexual abuse in evangelical churches, and a testimony from an evangelical woman about how her evangelical pastor father committed adultery.

I think it is a problem that a community that makes up .0001% of the population gets that amount of coverage, all of it positive and a community that makes up 26% of the population gets the same amount of coverage, all of which is negative.

This doesn’t mean that transgender people should be invisible, but surely they don’t deserve as much coverage as evangelicals. This also doesn’t mean that negative elements of evangelicalism, their attempt to infuse politics with religion, sexual abuse, etc., should not be reported on. They absolutely should. But we have to have a sense of proportionality. NPR comically does not.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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