Texas gets transgender elected official


A Collin County mayor in Texas came out on Feb. 1. This is historically significant given that Texas has never had a transgender elected official, nor did I expect it to any time soon.

The mayor, Jess Herbst, made the announcement that she was transgender in an open letter to the town’s residents.

Most of Texas is known to be very conservative. Issues such as the “bathroom bill” that Republicans proposed was set in place to ban transgender people from using public bathrooms of their choice. With this bill and large numbers of people to support it, it is surprising that the mayor of New Hope is transgender.

Collin County, where New Hope lies, is considered one of the most conservative suburban areas in Texas. To put it into perspective, President Donald Trump won this area by 17 percentage points in the general election.

I think that journalists who covered this story did an exceptional job. I first came across this story on BBC which is known to be a more liberal international news network. Once I read the story there, I searched for it elsewhere. Numerous smaller newspapers around Texas covered the story as well as the Huffington Post, CBS and other news organizations.

I then checked Fox News, already thinking that it might not even have the story about it, or, that it was skewed into something its targeted audience (conservatives) would appreciate.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found the story there with no apparent bias. It was in this moment that I was proud of the news coverage on this story.

Although it was covered well, I did run into an issue as I read the story from all the different news stations. It was a lot of recycled material. The direct quotations were the same, given she had only released just a few, but also the content was very similar as well. This is something people have to keep in mind when reading stories from various news stations.

We have to ask the question, are journalists becoming lazy? Is recycled information the new norm?