On Friday, the Washington Post profiled Robyn Deane—-transgender woman, LGBT activist, and former in-law of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. It’s an interesting piece—-with a couple of strange hang-ups.
First, the headline: “Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s former in-law speaks out for gay rights.” Deane certainly does speak out for gay rights, but it seems odd to emphasize that fact above her trans activism. Next, the photo gallery: It begins with a series of photos of Deane applying makeup, hair-spray, and pantyhose, as if to emphasize the fact that Deane’s beauty regimen (quite typical, for a woman) is somehow relevant to that activism.
And then there’s this:
For years, Deane, a man who is in the process of becoming of woman, had considered revealing her lengthy but largely unknown connection to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). She had told no one that this would finally be the moment she went public.
From whose perspective is Deane “a man who is in the process of becoming of [sic] woman”? The state of Virginia? The Washington Post? Deane’s herself?
The Post identifies Deane with feminine pronouns. It also implies that Deane very much considers herself a woman—-it mentions that “she changed her name from Bob to Robyn, and transformed herself from a cleanshaven, dark-haired man to a blond woman saving her pennies for sex reassignment surgery.” The story states outright that Deane previously “came out as a woman” to her family. What criteria is the Post using to classify Deane as “a man” in the process of “becoming” a woman? The paper doesn’t say.