The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) spoke out against a segment on Anderson Cooper's talk show "Anderson Live" featuring an individual who claims a treatment for hair loss made them transgender. According to the "Anderson Live" website, the story, which was scheduled for Thursday, September 13, featured "Mandi, who was born male, speaks out for the first time, claiming that a hair loss treatment caused him to become transgender."
NCTE Director Mara Keisling expressed her disappointment with the programming decision on the group's website, saying, “Anderson Cooper knows better than this. Anderson’s team is better than this."
In an interview with Raw Story, she said, "So many people have done so much work to educate the public about who we are. Shows like Anderson's have a lot of influence, and for them to just put that out there in a way that is purposefully sensationalizing, it's harmful. It's harmful when you get stereotyped."
"Real people are facing family rejection," she continued, "Real people are facing job discrimination and physical violence because of who they are. It's important for the public to know that we really exist. We're just part of nature's diversity."
When asked if she feels particular disappointment that the program promoting the story is hosted by an openly LGBT journalist like Cooper, Keisling seemed to feel less disappointed in Cooper than in the program and the prurient way that it has chosen to promote the show.
"I don't find that at all," she said, "Anderson has been really good in all of his roles for standing up for the truth, and really standing up for marginalized people, and yet here's a case where a non-truth is set to negatively impact marginalized people, and it's disappointing. Remember, there's a transgender person involved here, too, who ought to know better."
On Wednesday on the NCTE website, Keisling said, "In the past, Anderson Cooper and his team have earned a great deal of respect from trans people for their coverage of our issues. Tomorrow, they’ll throw all of that away. Worst of all, they seem set on misinforming the public about the causality of trans identity.”
NCTE released a statement that reads, "All of us here at the National Center for Transgender Equality are surprised, saddened and disappointed that a respected show likeAnderson Live would give credence to this type of sensationalism and misinformation. This segment is just another case of sensationalizing an already marginalized population plain and simple."