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My Thoughts on Essay Anne Vanderbilt

I am hesitant to write about Essay Anne Vanderbilt but I have been bothered by some of the responses I have seen, even from writers that I have a great deal of respect for. Be forewarned that this post is going to cover some uncomfortable topics. I would like to ask forgiveness in advance if I say something or phrase something inappropriately.

Transgender Pride Flag

A Grantland reporter’s act of deeply unethical journalism cost a transgender woman her life.

Friday evening, I was scrolling down my timeline on Twitter and started noticing tweets that did not make much sense to me. After following a few links, I finally figured things out. ESPN’s Grantland had published an article a couple of days earlier titled “Dr V’s Magic Putter.” I have no recollection of seeing this article when it was first published but that doesn’t mean anything. I am not a golfer, pretty much have zero interest in golf equipment of any sort and would have passed by this article. However, when I started seeing the tweets, many of them with the hashtag #JusticeForDrV, I read the article.

The best I can say is that I was horrified.

The article starts as a story about how the author had been watching a show and seen about a supposed wonderful new putter that was developed on ‘scientific principles’ that were flipping a lot of golfing conventional wisdom on it head. Then about halfway through, the article morphs from a story about a putter and how it was developed into an investigation of a “con” that includes the outing of a woman (the inventor) as transgender. The author, while investigating the credentials, ultimately outs the inventor to one of her investors! At this point, it was difficult to control my outrage. Then I read how Essay Anne Vanderbilt committed suicide after back-and-forth emails with Hannan after he had already outed her to an investor in her company.

It was tweets from sportswriter Dave Zirin that first got my attention and it was through his tweets that I read this article from Cyd Ziegler of Outsports.com titled “How ESPN and Grantland desperately failed the trans community.” Think Progress had this piece titled “10 Questions Bill Simmons And ESPN Should Answer About ‘Dr. V’s Magical Putter'” by Alyssa Rosenberg.

By Sunday night, ESPN issued a statement to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch:

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My Thoughts On Essay Anne Vanderbilt

I am hesitant to write about Essay Anne Vanderbilt but I have been bothered by some of the responses I have seen, even from writers that I have a great deal of respect for. Be forewarned that this post is going to cover some uncomfortable topics. I would like to ask forgiveness in advance if I say something or phrase something inappropriately.

Transgender Pride Flag

A Grantland reporter’s act of deeply unethical journalism cost a transgender woman her life.

Friday evening, I was scrolling down my timeline on Twitter and started noticing tweets that did not make much sense to me. After following a few links, I finally figured things out. ESPN’s Grantland had published an article a couple of days earlier titled “Dr V’s Magic Putter.” I have no recollection of seeing this article when it was first published but that doesn’t mean anything. I am not a golfer, pretty much have zero interest in golf equipment of any sort and would have passed by this article. However, when I started seeing the tweets, many of them with the hashtag #JusticeForDrV, I read the article.

The best I can say is that I was horrified.

The article starts as a story about how the author had been watching a show and seen about a supposed wonderful new putter that was developed on ‘scientific principles’ that were flipping a lot of golfing conventional wisdom on it head. Then about halfway through, the article morphs from a story about a putter and how it was developed into an investigation of a “con” that includes the outing of a woman (the inventor) as transgender. The author, while investigating the credentials, ultimately outs the inventor to one of her investors! At this point, it was difficult to control my outrage. Then I read how Essay Anne Vanderbilt committed suicide after back-and-forth emails with Hannan after he had already outed her to an investor in her company.

It was tweets from sportswriter Dave Zirin that first got my attention and it was through his tweets that I read this article from Cyd Ziegler of Outsports.com titled “How ESPN and Grantland desperately failed the trans community.” Think Progress had this piece titled “10 Questions Bill Simmons And ESPN Should Answer About ‘Dr. V’s Magical Putter‘” by Alyssa Rosenberg.

By Sunday night, ESPN issued a statement to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch:

We understand and appreciate the wide range of thoughtful reaction this story has generated and to the family and friends of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, we express our deepest condolences. We will use the constructive feedback to continue our ongoing dialogue on these important and sensitive topics. Ours is a company that values the LGBT community internally and in our storytelling, and we will all learn from this.

Monday afternoon, Grantland posted a piece from Christina Karhl, herself a transgender employee of Grantland:

We’re here because Essay Anne Vanderbilt is dead.

And she’s dead because — however loath she was to admit it — she was a member of a community for whom tragedy and loss are as regular as the sunrise, a minority for whom suicide attempts outpace the national average almost 26 times over, perhaps as high as 41 percent of all trans people. And because one of her responses to the fear of being outed as a transsexual woman to some of the people in her life — when it wasn’t even clear the story was ever going to run — was to immediately start talking and thinking about attempting suicide. Again.

Deadspin had this post last night from Tim Marchman titled How Grantland Screwed Up The Story Of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, Inventor:

The second is that Hannan crossed an ethical and moral line when he outed Vanderbilt to an investor in Yar Golf. There was no compelling reason to do so; it took the choice of whether or not to disclose her status away from Vanderbilt—a choice that is, barring fairly extreme exigencies, solely to be made by the person it most affects. As Christina Kahrl put it in her review of the piece that ran on Grantland, “revealing her gender identity was ultimately as dangerous as it was thoughtless.”

My bold

Last night, Bill Simmons, the editor of Grantland posted a “Letter from the Editor.” The thing that bothers me most is here:

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dakine01

dakine01

Small town Kentucky country boy lived all over the country. Currently in Ruskin, FL