'That's A Beautiful Thing:' CNN's Phillips Gushes Over Facebook's 50+ Gender Categories
Kyra Phillips heralded Facebook's recent decision to add more than 50 gender categories on Friday's CNN Newsroom. Phillips brought on Rich Ferraro of GLAAD to boost the LGBT activist group's role in the social media website's left-wing change, and tossed softball questions at her guest: "Rich, you actually worked on this project with Facebook. So, whose idea was it, and why did it become an issue and an important move for Facebook?"
The anchor, who has a long history of promoting the social left's LGBT agenda and didn't bother to bring on a social conservative voice to respond to the story, made her feelings clear on the development to Ferraro: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
KYRA PHILLIPS: ...So, what do you say to those folks that are like – okay, this is just way too much to understand and comprehend – and why can't we keep it more simple?
RICH FERRARO, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, GLAAD: Sure. I don't think it's ridiculous to accept LGBT young people for who they are. I think that Facebook has really made a great step forward – to telling those young people that you can be who you are on Facebook.
PHILLIPS: Well, that's a beautiful thing. We all want to be who we are – right, Rich?
Phillips led into her interview of the GLAAD vice president with a short outline of Facebook's move: "Well, Facebook users, your 'about' section just expanded in a big – and maybe, for many of you – unfamiliar way. Under gender, there's now a custom option, and it allows you to choose from 50 terms. Here's some of the examples: 'cisgender,' 'gender fluid,' 'two-spirit,' 'intersex,' and 'neither.' Now, that's just some of the 50. Facebook says that it made the move to – quote, 'help you better express your own identity.'"
The host, who was a regular on CNN Newsroom before moving to sister network HLN, then turned to Ferraro and asked her "important move" question. The guest answered, in part, that "Facebook today is a reflection for who we are and the story that we want to tell the world about ourselves, and there were some users who couldn't do that. Facebook contacted GLAAD to help work with us on this issue, and GLAAD was happy to work with Facebook. But more importantly, we were happy for the trans-gender and the gender non-conforming youth, who now can tell the world who they are, in their own words."
Phillips spent much of the segment trying to get her guest to explain some of the multiple terms that Facebook included, with the assistance of his group. But Ferraro was reluctant to give a straight answer, and instead, regurgitated his far left talking points:
PHILLIPS: So, explain how you worked within this process – how GLAAD helped – and how did you come up with these terms?
FERRARO: Sure. We've worked with Facebook for several years to make the site safe and inclusive for LGBT users. We recently worked with Facebook to add civil unions and domestic partnerships to their relationship status field.
I think what we're really seeing here is a trend in corporate America, in schools, and the media today towards acceptance of LGBT people.
PHILLIPS: So, Rich, let me ask you – you mentioned 'non-conforming.' So, for people who are unfamiliar – all right – with folks who consider themselves 'gender non-conforming,' explain what that means, and why it's so important.
FERRARO: Sure. We're living in a culture today where the latest report from GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Network] shows that nearly half of LGBT young people report being bullied online for who they are. And I don't think you need to know the meaning of every single term to know what it means for LGBT young people to feel accepted and included.
PHILLIPS: All right. So, we're talking 50 descriptions – and, probably, to the average person, Rich, they're going, huh? (laughs) I don't understand. It's either male or female, right? So, just a couple that – that our team – we didn't know. We didn't hear of 'cisgender.' Explain what 'cisgender' is.
FERRARO: Well, if you could also put yourself in the shoes of a young person who identifies this way, and recognize that they didn't have the option of sharing who they were with the world before yesterday, when Facebook made this change. We have a resource at glaad.org/transgender, where you can learn a little bit more about these gender identities and the young people who identify that way.
PHILLIPS: What about 'two-spirit'?
FERRARO: 'Two-spirit' is a word that many indigenous Native Americans use today who feel that male and female doesn't best describe who they are.
The anchor ended the segment with her "beautiful thing" take on Facebook's change. Besides her 2010 promotion of GLAAD's "Wear Purple" Day, where she turned to the group's senior director of media programs, Phillips ripped Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson on the December 23, 2013 edition of CNN Newsroom: "I totally disagree with the guy. I think he's so narrow-minded and he really needs to like get with the times. But I mean you've got politicians that are expressing support for this guy too, right? But then again, that comes down to money."
Back in March 2012, the CNN host also lobbied a Catholic bishop from Maine to back same-sex "marriage:"
PHILLIPS: So, Bishop, times are changing. Views are changing. You're changing your tactics even. Or your – I guess you say your strategy. So, why not get on board with the 43 percent of Catholics-
BISHOP RICHARD MALONE, ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PORTLAND, MAINE: The 43 percent who –
PHILLIPS: Who have no problem with gay marriage?
MALONE: Well, their thinking is outside the realm of Catholic teaching for 2,000 years. And those are the folks that we want to focus on so they'll perhaps be able to have what I would call an intellectual conversion about a very key building-block of society, that is the nature of marriage as the union of one man, one woman.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.