Fox News anchor Shannon Bream serially misgenders trans folks

Misgendering is a form of harassment that stigmatizes trans people and goes against widely-held journalistic standards

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Shannon Bream, a Fox News anchor and part of the network’s purported “news”-side team, has a relentless record of misgendering trans people -- most recently when she reported on trans athlete JayCee Cooper, calling her a “biological male, now identifying as female.”

Bream has made a habit of misgendering transgender people on-air while reporting on LGBTQ issues. Since November, this includes NCAA track champion CeCe Telfer; Aimee Stephens, a Supreme Court plaintiff who was fired for being transgender; and a trans middle school student in Florida. 

On June 21, Bream misgendered and unnecessarily demeaned Cooper, a powerlifting athlete, by referring to her as a “biological male, now identifying as female.” Cooper filed a complaint under the Minnesota Human Rights Act against the sport’s largest governing federation, USA Powerlifting, “after being barred from competing as a transgender woman.” According to reporting by Kate Sosin, Cooper said, “Competing in sports has been one of the only consistencies in my life, and it’s such an important piece of my identity.” 

According to GLSEN, an LGBTQ-inclusive education advocacy organization, “misgendering refers to the experience of being labeled by others as a gender other than one that a person identifies with.” Refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name delegitimizes their identity and shows a resistance to acknowledging that their existence is real. Misgendering is a form of harassment that stigmatizes trans folks and also goes against journalistic standards, including The Associated Press Stylebook and The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage.

Bream’s disregard for trans identities is in stark contrast with most news personalities at other networks. It also mirrors the anti-trans coverage from Fox’s toxic opinion hosts. Here are a few more notable examples of Bream misgendering trans people:

  • June 15: Reporting on Telfer, who recently “won the NCAA Division II women's 400-meter hurdles championship,” Bream called her “a biological male who now identifies as a woman.”
  • April 24: While hosting a member of extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom, Bream said, “I know that ADF, your group, is involved specifically with at least one of these cases that has to do with a funeral home that had an employee they had hired in 2007, I believe. He came to them in 2013 and said that he wanted to begin dressing as a woman in the workplace. They told him no. This is already gone through the process.”
  • March 1: “A high school track takes center stage this weekend in New England, sparking nationwide controversy because male athletes transitioning to female are setting records and leaving athletes born female in the dust.”
  • February 15: “Now, just so people know that part of the problem here or what sparked part of this is that Megan was referring to a case in which a person who was born biologically male and still apparently has some of the anatomy was scheduling Brazilian bikini waxes and then showing up as a woman and then suing people, or protesting when people realized there was still some male anatomy and didn't want to perform the procedure.”
  • November 20: “A Florida school district allegedly told a male P.E. teacher that he had to supervise a female trans student who wanted to use the boy's locker room. … There is a student who was born biologically female, now identifying as male, wants to use the boys locker rooms and restrooms in the school.”
  • December 2016: “Born a biological female, the high school senior now identifies as male and wants the ability to use male-designated restrooms at Gloucester High School, which would violate school board policy.”

Bream has also posted about news stories on Twitter in which she misgendered trans folks: