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Transgender advocacy group condemns planned ‘Anderson Live’ segment

Born male, guest claims 'hair loss treatment caused him to become transgender'
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
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WASHINGTON — The National Center for Transgender Equality on Wednesday denounced plans by the syndicated talk show “Anderson Live” to air a controversial interview with a person who claims an anti-baldness drug made them transgender.

The segment, hosted by openly gay veteran journalist Anderson Cooper, is scheduled to air Thursday, September 13, and is “a story you’ll see only on “Anderson Live,” touts a promotional statement on the show’s website:

“Mandi, who was born male, speaks out for the first time, claiming that a hair loss treatment caused him to become transgender. Mandi is joined by her ex-wife, Michele, who opens up about how Mandi’s identity transformation has affected their son. How is this even possible? We will explore the latest research on Finasteride, the common compound found in most medical treatments used to treat male pattern baldness.”

Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement that the NCTE was “surprised, saddened and disappointed that a respected show like ‘Anderson 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,” she 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,” said Keisling, in a statement.

Keisling told LGBTQ Nation on Wednesday evening that the NCTE had reached out to the show’s producers, asking that the segment not be run, but said she was told by producers that the segment would proceed as scheduled.

Cooper’s other show, CNN”s nightly newscast “AC360,” airs a segment called “Keeping Them Honest,” in which he addresses hypocrisy among public figures and elected officials on, among other things, critical LGBT issues.

Keisling is urging transgender advocates and allies to keep the journalist honest “about how this segment does real harm to real trans people.”

“Anderson Cooper knows better than this. Anderson’s team is better than this,” she said.

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