The piece, a syndicated op-ed by columnist Kevin D. Williamson titled “Laverne Cox Is Not A Woman“, questioned the validity of Cox’s identity and repeatedly — perhaps with the intention of offending — referred to her with male pronouns. It declared that Cox was “a man” and was viewed by a number of outraged people on social media as offensive and transphobic.
In the piece, Williamson alleged that Cox “is not a woman, but an effigy of a woman,” and referred to transitional surgeries as an “offer to amputate healthy organs in the service of a delusional tendency.”
“Sex is a biological reality, and it is not subordinate to subjective impressions, no matter how intense those impressions are, how sincerely they are held, or how painful they make facing the biological facts of life,” he wrote. “No hormone injection or surgical mutilation is sufficient to change that.”
In response to an onslaught of negative feedback, Sun-Times Digital Editor Brandon Wall attributed the publication of Williamson’s piece to a “colossal parade of fuck ups,” though Editorial Editor Tom McNamee officially tells BuzzFeed in a statement that it was an “oversight.”
Citing that the original post included claims disputed by the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, the statement also says the piece’s “overall tone was not consistent with what we seek to publish.” McNamee added that taking it down was the “right thing to do.”
McNamee’s statement in full:
We try to present a range of views on an issue, not only those views we may agree with, but also those we don’t agree with. A recent op-ed piece we ran online that was produced by another publication initially struck as provocative.
Upon further consideration, we concluded the essay did not include some key facts and its overall tone was not consistent with what we seek to publish. The column failed to acknowledge that the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have deemed transgender-related care medically necessary for transgender people. It failed as well to acknowledge the real and undeniable pain and discrimination felt by transgender people, who suffer from notably higher rates of depression and suicide.
We have taken the post down and we apologize for the oversight.