"2020.06.13 Protest for Trans Rights, Washington, DC USA 165 47013" by tedeytan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Epoch Times and its Troubling Anti-Transgender Agenda: Are the Opposing Voices Loud Enough?

We live in an era where news is frequently driven by agendas and opinions, often overshadowing the importance of facts. In this climate, media organizations wield considerable influence in shaping public perceptions and attitudes. In an age marked by a global movement towards inclusivity, diversity, and acceptance, these organizations have the potential to either propel society forward or, regrettably, turn back the clock on this progress, leaving marginalized groups to live their lives in literal danger.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing instances where several media groups are choosing the latter path. One such entity is The Epoch Times, a publication associated with the Falun Gong spiritual group, which consistently disseminates anti-transgender propaganda across its various media platforms, often flying under the radar without repercussions or regard for fact-checking. These persistent actions bear grave consequences for both the transgender community and society at large.

One glaring illustration of The Epoch Times’ alignment with an anti-transgender position is its extensive coverage of the MISS NTD Beauty Pageant, a competition sponsored by NTD (New Tang Dynasty), a television station also controlled by the Falun Gong. This “pagean,” held in New York on September 30, requires that contestants must be “natural-born females.” This has ignited considerable controversy and condemnation from transgender advocates — as it should, as policies like this perpetuate discrimination and harmful stereotypes, particularly concerning transgender women.

Nevertheless, The Epoch Times has consistently defended the pageant, asserting that it upholds “traditional values” and celebrates “traditional femininity.” In a recent 2023 article, the publication commended the pageant for promoting what it termed “ancient values.” Pageant director Jenny Sun was quoted in the article stating that the event was “not about discriminating against anyone” but instead focused on celebrating “the natural beauty of women.” While this endorsement might appear benign to some, it contributes to the broader concerns regarding The Epoch Times‘, and its reader’s stance on transgender issues. A wedding of gasoline and matches aimed squarely at LGBTQ progress.

The promotion of the MISS NTD Beauty Pageant is just one facet of The Epoch Times’ anti-transgender agenda. Over the past few years, the publication has faced accusations of disseminating articles that propagate negative stereotypes about transgender people. One article from 2019 suggested that transgender individuals were more likely to engage in criminal activities, a claim contradicted by substantial research that shows transgender individuals are more likely to be victims of violent crime.

Furthermore, The Epoch Times produced a documentary titled “Gender Transformation: The Untold Realities,” which has faced some backlash (not enough, in this writer’s opinion) for its portrayal of transgender individuals. The documentary alleges a pro-transgender indoctrination agenda exists within parents, politicians, and the school system, a claim that has been widely discredited and bears no relation to fact. Critics argue that the film is filled with inaccuracies and biases, painting transgender individuals in an unjustifiably negative light. It perpetuates the false belief that transgender individuals suffer from mental illness and pose a threat to society.

Actor and activist Tony Babcock, who has written on this issue, commented: “I don’t understand how groups in places like America, Canada, the UK, are getting away with this, it’s hate speech!”

The Epoch Times’ anti-transgender agenda goes beyond mere reporting; it actively contributes to the ostracism and discrimination of transgender individuals. In a world where the fight for equal rights and recognition of diverse identities is gaining momentum, Miss NTD and the Epoch Times continues to promote harmful stereotypes and exclusionary policies, running counter to the principles of equality and inclusivity that are essential in our evolving society.

It is crucial for all of us, from individuals to organizations, to critically evaluate the information we consume and to recognize when media outlets, like The Epoch Times, are encouraging a movement of hate and “otherness”.

It is important to remember the words of Martin Niemöller’s poem “First They Came”, written just after the Holocaust, denouncing apathy, and encouraging the moral connectedness of all people:

“First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

We are being faced with this same challenge daily by groups such as Miss NTD and The Epoch Times; and we should ask ourselves: are we adequately speaking up?

Editor’s note: Space for this special opinion piece was purchased. All content included has been edited and fact-checked.