MADISON – WORT Community Radio’s Board of Directors has issued an official apology to the transgender community for an Access Hour episode that aired in March 2018. The program was hosted by Madison local activist and musician Thistle Pettersen, who featured interviews with two prominent leaders in the anti-transgender radical “feminist” movement.
You can read more about what unfolded in our article, “TERF Wars,” from the May 2018 issue of the magazine.
The letter was hand-delivered this week by Doug Holtz, WORT Business and Event Development Director, to Steve Starkey at OutReach LGBT Community Center and shared with the organization’s transgender group and programming leaders to be shared publicly (Starkey also shared the letter with Our Lives).
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Members of the Transgender Community,
On behalf of WORT’s Board of Directors, we would like to apologize for the harm done to the transgender community by the airing of the March 19, 2018 Access Hour. WORT has recently been struggling with the open nature of the Access Hour. Since its inception, the Access Hour has been an open vehicle for members of the community to “take over” the airwaves for an hour. We include a disclaimer message that stresses the opinions and views of the Access Hour do not represent the views of WORT board, staff or volunteers. Recent events have shown that this is not enough, and we are seeking input from people in the transgender community on ways we can improve the station’s function and be a resource for the community.
The Board has reaffirmed that Access Hour content must conform to the Mission Statement of WORT. This includes “respecting all peoples and their environments.” All potentially controversial Access Hour subject matter must also now be brought to the attention of the Staff Collective for review at the time of application.
Please be assured that the views aired during the program in question regarding the trans community are in no way reflective of the culture at WORT Community Radio. We are a welcoming space for all ethnicities and gender identities, and many of our trans volunteers have in fact come forward to help instruct the less knowledgeable members of our organization why this trans-denying opinion is so harmful.
Our sincerest apologies,
WORT Community Radio Board of Directors