Sunday, May 15, 2005

Pronoun Trouble at the Associated Press

The Associated Press apparently has a new policy for citing sources. People quoted in its articles can call themselves anything they want—even saying they're male when they're female and vice versa—and the AP will simply print whatever they say as gospel.

Witness "Transsexual Youth Haven Provides Support", the AP's story about a Chicago center for youths who want to change their gender. As it bends over backwards to be tolerant, the news organization doesn't even bother to get a quote from someone who might think it's not a good idea to mix sexually confused teenagers with 25-year-old cocaine-addicted prostitutes. But more than that, it quotes the youths by the names and genders that they've applied to themselves—even though it appears that none of them have actually gotten sex-change operations or had their names legally changed.

So, the news organization quotes a girl named Dai as a boy named David, and a boy named Josh is quoted as a girl named Jessi—because respect for transexual youth's self-esteem apparently trumps the facts in the Associated Press's 2005 stylebook.

Nice to know that if the AP ever comes calling, I can tell them to refer to me as a "he" and call me by the name "Cole Porter." After all, they're now the "anything goes" newswire.