Yesterday, the Star Tribune upset many of its LGBT-friendly readers by running an anti-transgender ad paid for by the Minnesota Child Protection League.
The ad urges parents to contact Minnesota State High School League officials ahead of a meeting later this week and ask them not to approve a new policy that would allow transgender students to participate in athletics based on their gender identity.
Star Tribune runs ads on behalf of polygamist Mormon sect
Here's the ad:
Full-page People Against Transgendered People ad in Strib sports section. Mankato-based Child Protection LeagueAction pic.twitter.com/JuWhzK5W0C
The report notes that the group's lead spokesperson is Barb Anderson, founder of the Parents Action League. To give you an idea of where the MCPL is coming from, consider that Anderson once said, "The greatest threat to our freedom and the health and well-being of our children is from this radical homosexual agenda that is just so pervasive."
A Twin Cities Daily Planet report notes that the policy under consideration by the MSHSL would allow transgender student athletes to play on the team of their choice (male or female) with a doctor's documentation. In order to "preserve competitive equity," in some cases students would have to demonstrate they've begun hormone therapy. (To read the draft policy for yourself, click to page two.)
That policy is similar to ones already adopted by several other states, including some that are regarded as more conservative than Minnesota, such as Nebraska and South Dakota.
Lea Olson, a Minneapolis-based member of the MSHSL's Board of Directors, refused to comment on the record about the policy ahead of Wednesday's meeting. David Stead, executive director of the MSHSL, didn't return an email seeking comment.
The Strib's decision to run the ad angered many longtime readers. Here's a sampling of some of the Twitter reaction:
I'm ready to cancel my @StarTribune Sunday subscription over the ridiculous anti-transgender ad they allowed in today's paper.-- Kevin Myers (@MyFansanity) September 28, 2014
Well that's the end of my buying the Star Tribune.-- NorthernMNer (@NorthernMNer) September 28, 2014
We touched based with Steve Yaeger, the Strib's VP of marketing and public relations, and asked if he'd answer a couple questions about the paper's decision to run the ad.
Ad casting trans students as aggressors when they're often viciously targeted is horrid. Why did @StarTribune publishers amplify that hate?-- Julie Blaha (@julieblaha) September 28, 2014
"The ad in question met all the requirements of our ad policy," Yaeger tells us. "Not much I can tell you about it beyond that."
Update -- In further email correspondence this morning, we asked Yaeger for more information about the Strib's ad policy. Specifically, we asked about what criteria has to be met for the paper to refuse to run an ad.
Here's his response:
If you were doing a story on how media of all kinds (broadcast, print, digital) handle campaign and advocacy advertising, I'd consider how we could contribute to the conversation. But I don't think that's what you're doing.To read the MSHSL's draft transgender policy for yourself, click to page two.
In Minnesota, organizations and individuals of all kinds -- left, right, other -- know that if you want to reach the largest audience and have the biggest impact with your message, the best way to do it is advertising in the Star Tribune.
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.