On March 9, The Mercury published an article that was offensive and harmful to the Transgender community. Michael Lockwood’s “I Hate Me” piece compared gender transitions to mental disorders and gave the appearance of an endorsement from the organization as it ran unopposed. As employees of The Mercury, we wanted to make it clear that we do not agree with the views presented in this piece or any of Lockwood’s other pieces and suggest policy changes to prevent a situation like this in the future.
While it is our personal opinion that something like this has no place in a campus newspaper and the article shouldn’t have been published at all, we recognize the right of The Mercury to publish all kinds of opinions, even those we disagree with. Therefore, we suggest that in the future, controversial opinions should be run alongside opposing viewpoints.
We have a responsibility to all our readers, including those who are transgender. By publishing this piece without an opposing viewpoint, we gave the appearance of choosing a side. That shouldn’t happen — especially when the article in question affects the quality of life of a marginalized community.
Mercury staffers are familiar with the work that goes into opinions and are privy to what happens behind the scenes, but our readers aren’t. Without that context, articles like Lockwood’s harm our reputation and make us as employees ashamed of being affiliated with the organization.
The bottom line is that publishing something like this without an opposing viewpoint makes us look biased and causes harm. We must acknowledge that and work to improve. Controversial opinions — especially those about already marginalized communities — shouldn’t be allowed to run without an opposing viewpoint in the future. This allows our organization to avoid even the appearance of a biased stance and reduces the harm that may be caused by these opinions.
Finally, to our readers: we hear and echo your concerns. However, sharing the piece drives traffic towards it, which results in the article being viewed more than most of our other articles this year. We would hate to see this article end up being one of the most shared and viewed articles on our site.
Our organization can and should do better, if not for our readers then for our LGBT+ staffers. We are proud to represent The Mercury; that shouldn’t change.
Signed by Shannen Barrameda, Anna Phengsakmueang, Calis Lim, Keerthi Srilakshmidaran, Zaynah Rehan, Ellis Blake Hidalgo, Ben Nguyen, Jenna Cherrey, Cecilia Romero, Louise Nillas, Quinlan Sherer, Chiamaka Mgboji, Samantha Lopez, Ayesha Asad