A Grantland article published on Friday is raising the alarm after Twitter reacted poignantly to its ethical implications. The story, which was positioned as an investigation into the science behind a so-called revolutionary new golf putter, took a turn for the transphobic when halfway through the story, writer Caleb Hannan developed a discomfiting fascination with the subject’s personal life.
In the process of questioning inventor Dr. V’s professional credentials, Hannan outed her as trans, despite her insistence that the story be about her work and not her life. That Dr V committed suicide before the the story was published has been linked in part to anxieties about Hannan’s plans to out her without her permission. Chillingly, her last communication with Hannan was a warning that he "was about to commit a hate crime."
Per usual, Twitter users made plenty of cogent arguments.
Stop seeing marginalized human beings as your peculiar, experimental lab specimens. Dr. V was a human with a heart. #JusticeForDrV— Lightskintologist (@MissFyeRed_) January 18, 2014
so you're a sports journalist when you discover you're writing an article about a trans person. did he do ANY research on trans experiences?— Caitlin White (@harmonicait) January 18, 2014
The ignorance of what trans people face — stunning suicide rates, for instance - was fatal. And the lack of self-examination was stunning.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) January 18, 2014
Bottom line on V-gate: Someone is dead & people are lauding the courage of a reporter whose prodding is at least a mitigating factor there.— Craig Jenkins (@CraigSJ) January 18, 2014
@calebhannan I wonder how overwhelmed Dr. V felt when you wanted to out her as a trans woman? Oh, yeah, overwhelmed enough to kill herself.
— Alexis_Rueal (@Alexis_Rueal) January 19, 2014