Emily Bazelon is an American writer and anti-transgender activist whose work has been cited to support anti-trans legislation in America. Bazelon wrote a 2022 New York Times Magazine feature about trans healthcare for minors that anti-trans legislators use to justify bans and restrictions affecting healthcare and legal rights for people of all ages. This page documents Bazelon’s historic role in the oppression of trans and gender diverse people.
Emily C. Bazelon was born March 4, 1971. Like many cisgender reporters on this subject, much of Bazelon’s life and many opinions were shaped by a medico-juridical worldview and by extraordinary privilege. Bazelon’s grandparent was federal judge David L. Bazelon, a pioneer in the field of mental health law and namesake of the nonprofit Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington DC. Bazelon’ parent Richard L. Bazelon (born 1943) is a lawyer, and parent Eileen A. Ferrin Bazelon (born 1944) is a psychiatrist. Both practice in Pennsylvania. Emily Bazelon has three siblings: Dana, Jill, and Lara.
Bazelon attended the elite Germantown Friends School, then graduated from Yale in 1993. Bazelon earned a law degree from Yale Law School in 2000 and served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Bazelon had a Dorot fellowship in 1993 and was named a Soros Justice Media Fellow in 2004. Bazelon clerked for Judge Kermit Lipez in 1997. Bazelon married Paul E. Sabin (born 1970). They have two children, Eli and Simon.
2022 New York Times piece
In June 2022, Bazelon published “The Battle Over Gender Therapy” in the New York Times. It is part of their long-running “cisgender person under siege” stories placing non-trans people at the center of their coverage of trans issues.
Bazelon’s piece is centered on cisgender psychiatrist Scott Leibowitz.
It also launders the extremist views of Genspect into the New York Times. Genspect defined the rise in transgender-identified children as a “gender cult” and mass craze, “suggesting that exposure to transgender kids, education about trans people, and trans ideas on the internet could spread transness to others.” Some parents from Genspect stated transgender people should not be able to transition until the age of 25. The article also referenced a Substack newsletter by an anonymous Genspect parent titled “It’s Strategy People!” about how the organization gets its perspective into the media by purposefully not referring to transgender children as “mentally ill” or “deluded.”
The article was criticized by transgender people, including Dr. Sunny Moraine, who described the article as “sanitizing wildly transphobic talking points,” and Instructor Alejandra Caraballo of Harvard Law School, who described it as having “only just further opened the door for eliminationist policies.”
PinkNews stated the article “uncritically platformed gender-critical group Genspect” and spread “vile rhetoric.”
The Texas Observer accused Bazelon of “elevat[ing] a handful of outliers and their discredited theories about trans people to prominence they do not enjoy among the medical community” for “the sake of ‘balance’ and objectivity” and that “the article echoes right-wing fear-mongering about whether trans kids should be allowed to transition and even suggests their existence could be dangerous to other young people.” The Observer notes, “All of this could have been avoided had Bazelon listened to more experts and included more transgender people. That includes Ky Schevers and Lee Leveille, who run a trans advocacy group called Health Liberation Now! Bazelon communicated extensively with them both while working on the article, conducting interviews that were ultimately discarded.” The Observer added that “the state of Texas is using it as evidence in an ongoing attempt to investigate trans-supportive healthcare as ‘child abuse’.” Schevers said “The NYT just platformed a group made up of transphobic parents & conversion therapists who’ve written about how they have the same end goals as hardline trans eliminationists but moderate their views to try to break into the mainstream.”
2023 attack on union leadership
Bazelon was also a signatory on the 2023 letter drafted by Jeremy W. Peters attacking their own union leadership. The Guild had raised concerns about the Times’ hostile work environment for trans journalists. A Times employee told the San Francisco Chronicle there were still no trans reporters on staff in 2023.
2023 Missouri Attorney General ruling
Below is an example of how Bazelon’s 2022 piece is used to deny healthcare and other rights to trans and gender diverse people living in Missouri.
15 CSR 60-17.010 Experimental Interventions to Treat Gender Dysphoria
(2) It is an unfair, deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful practice for any person or health organization to provide a covered gender transition intervention to a patient (or refer a patient for such an intervention) if the person or health organization:
(D) Fails to ensure that the patient has received a full psychological or psychiatric assessment, consisting of not fewer than 15 separate, hourly sessions (at least 10 of which must be with the same therapist) over the course of not fewer than 18 months to explore the developmental influences on the patient’s current gender identity and to determine, among other things, whether the person has any mental health comorbidities; 3232 Compare Bazelon, “The Battle Over Gender Therapy,” The New York Times Magazine, June 15, 2022, updated March 17, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/15/magazine/gender-therapy.html (noting certain researchers admit and assert that only the Amsterdam clinic, “with its comprehensive assessments,” has procured results showing strong psychological benefits for individuals who medically transitioned in adolescence, and observing the Amsterdam clinic currently requires “at least six monthly [mental health] sessions” following “a longer period on a waiting list” prior to beginning treatment) [PDF]
Responses by Bazelon
- 2022 tweets [preserved record of Bazelon’s deleted tweets]
- Bazelon joined psychiatrist Scott Leibowitz to discuss the piece.
- Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
- US Representative Rashida Tlaib
- ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio
- Health Liberation Now!
- National Review – Madeleine Kearns
- The Spectator – Andrew Cockburn
- other gender critical activists
HLN (June 22, 2022). Health Liberation Now!’s Response to NYT Article “The Battle Over Gender Therapy. Health Liberation Now! https://healthliberationnow.com/2022/06/22/health-liberation-nows-response-to-nyt-article-the-battle-over-gender-therapy/
Brand, Madeline (June 15, 2022). Why are doctors pulling away from gender-affirming health care? Press Play with Madeline Brand, KCRW https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/press-play-with-madeleine-brand/senate-nevada-lgbtq-jennifer-grey/trans-gender-health-care
McMenamin, Lexi (July 22, 2022). The New York Times, The Atlantic, More Keep Publishing Transphobia. Why? Teen Vogue https://www.teenvogue.com/story/nyt-transphobia-july-oped
Coyne, Jerry (July 14, 2022). A Congresswoman and an ACLU lawyer go after the New York Times for transphobia. Why Evolution Is True. https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/07/14/a-congresswoman-and-an-aclu-lawyer-go-after-the-new-york-times-for-transphobia/
Cockburn (June 9, 2022). NYT finally tackles gender therapy. Spectator World https://spectatorworld.com/topic/nyt-times-gender-therapy-trans-emily-bazelon/
Hilu, Charles (July 12, 2022). Rashida Tlaib Wants the New York Times to Suppress Facts about Trans Issues. National Review https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/rashida-tlaib-wants-the-new-york-times-to-suppress-facts-about-trans-issues/
Davis, Lisa Selin (June 30, 2022). The Misplaced Outrage at The New York Times’ Gender-Affirming Care Article. Reality’s Last Stand https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/the-misplaced-outrage-at-the-new
Hollar, Julie (June 23, 2022). NYT Centers Trans Healthcare Story on Doctors—Not Trans People. FAIR https://fair.org/home/nyt-centers-trans-healthcare-story-on-doctors-not-trans-people/
Baska, Maggie (June 16, 2022). New York Times faces searing backlash for publishing ‘harmful’ anti-trans ‘propaganda’: ‘Do better.’ PinkNews https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2022/06/16/new-york-times-magazine-trans-article-backlash/
Lehrer, Brian (June 15, 2022) How Politics is Intruding on Medical Gender Therapy. The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC https://www.wnyc.org/story/how-politics-intruding-on-medical-gender-therapy/
Staff report (March 4, 1966). Eileen Ferrin Engaged To Richard L. Bazelon. New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/1966/03/05/archives/eileen-ferrin-engaged-to-richard-l-bazelon.html
O’Connell, Kit (July 22, 2022). There Is No Legitimate ‘Debate’ Over Gender-Affirming Healthcare: A recent New York Times article that experts called inaccurate and unethical now serves as evidence in Texas against transgender kids. Texas Observer https://www.texasobserver.org/emily-bazelon-transgender-healthcare-debate-new-york-times/
Loewinger, Micah (August 11, 2023). Go Woke, Go Broke. On the Media https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/on-the-media-go-woke-go-broke
Bazelon Center: Our History http://www.bazelon.org/about/history/
Hernandez, Alec (April 7, 2015). Bazelon encourages writing carefully, but daringly. Yale Daily News https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/04/17/bazelon-encourages-writing-carefully-but-daringly/
Bazelon, Emily (15 June 2022). The Battle Over Gender Therapy. The New York Times. https://web.archive.org/web/20220616095935/https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/15/magazine/gender-therapy.html
Baska, Maggie (16 June 2022). New York Times faces searing backlash for publishing ‘harmful’ anti-trans ‘propaganda’: ‘Do better.’ PinkNews https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2022/06/16/new-york-times-magazine-trans-article-backlash/