Big Garea Fan
I hope nobody says the wrong name of this hero.
Dominating celebrity news on Tuesday was word that Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page had come out as transgender. He did so through a lengthy Instagram post that began, “Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot.”
News of the announcement spread quickly through media outlets and on social media, where Page was largely inundated with praise and support — and where some media outlets, this one included, were in turn denounced by some for printing Page’s previous name, a practice called “deadnaming” by some in the transgender community.
So, what does deadnaming mean? A deadname is, in simplest terms, according to Merriam-Webster, “the name that a transgender person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning.” Used as a verb, it means “to speak of or address (someone) by their deadname.” Alternative terms such as “birth name” or “prior name,” which are used by GLAAD, mean the same thing, and, according to GLAAD’s media reference guide on covering transgender stories, can be deeply upsetting to the person in question.
“When a transgender person’s birth name is used in a story, the implication is almost always that this is the person’s ‘real name.’ But in fact, a transgender person’s chosen name is their real name, whether or not they are able to obtain a court-ordered name change,” notes the guide. “Many people use names they have chosen for themselves, and the media does not mention their birth name when writing about them, (e.g., Lady Gaga, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg). Transgender people should be accorded the same respect.”
Further, it urges, “Do not reveal a transgender person’s birth name without explicit permission from them. If the person is not able to answer questions about their birth name, err on the side of caution and do not reveal it.”
According to a style guide by the Trans Journalists Association, launched over the summer by 200 transgender journalists, “There’s never a reason to publish someone’s deadname in a story. Reporters should refrain from asking for this information unless it’s absolutely necessary for background checks or public records access. If writing about an individual, you should ask them what language they prefer if you refer to the existence of a deadname.”
Not everyone was on the same page, however, when it came to reporting on Page, as GLAAD acknowledged in a style guide sent to journalists on Tuesday and later posted online. The extensive guide — which Page signed off on, according to his longtime manager, and shared to his Instagram story —notes that all situations are different, particularly when it comes to celebrities who have long been in the public eye.
“DO refer to them as Elliot Page. DON’T refer to them by their former name. He has changed it, and should be accorded the same respect received by anyone who has changed their name,” the guide notes, referring to Page by both “they” and “he” pronouns, both of which are acceptable to Page. But, the guide adds, “Since Elliot Page was known to the public by their prior name, it may be necessary initially to say ‘Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page …’ However, once the public has learned Page’s new name, do not continually refer to it in future stories.” (Yahoo Life and Entertainment, along with other publications, opted to follow this guidance.)
Last edited on Thu Dec 3rd, 2020 02:28 pm by Big Garea Fan