With the release of the November edition of Seventeen Magazine, an article titled “My Boyfriend Turned Out to be a Girl'” outraged many members of the LGBT community. The article, discussing a relationship in which a teenage girl discovered her boyfriend was actually transgender, has quickly gained the national spotlight.
Soon after it’s release, accusations of sensationalism and transphobia were made against the editors of Seventeen. In a popular pro-LGBT blog, Pam’s House Blend, the credibility and professionalism of Seventeen’s editors were challenged.
“Clearly, the editorial staff at Seventeen were more interested in sensationalizing the story in their pages than sticking to journalism norms.”
Queerty.com, another pro-LGBT blog, has also challenged Seventeen’s reasoning for publishing the article.
“We doubt Seventeen started out the pitch for “True Life Drama: My BOYFRIEND turned out to be a girl!” as a way to offend the transgender community. But then there’s the “little” things, like interchanging male and female pronouns without caution. Oh, and the big stuff: Sending the message that FTMs are out there to “trick” biological women into relationships — without any acknowledgment that, hey, there might be some transgender readers of Seventeen and, hey, they might be having a pretty miserable go of things too.”
In a response to the article and it’s impact on the LGBT community, GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, issued a press release noting its surprise in the articles publication, while also urging the magazine to correct its mistake with a second article.
“While transphobia obviously is nothing new in the media, it is rather shocking to see such a blantant example in the decision to publish this article without any perspective of what it is like to be a transgender youth… Seventeen has previously written positively about the Day of Silence and written an article about a former GLSEN national student leader, but after this article it’s hard to defend the publication’s record on LGBT youth unless they try to make things right and publish a story about the issues and harassment facing transgender youth (with a positive portrayal of a trans youth, of course).”
— Christopher Clevenger