If ever you meant it when you said you wanted to support trans people: now is the time!
Of late, I have been hearing from women. You are beyond astonished at media treatment of trans folk in the UK and are asking: “how can we help?” As the BBC contemplates changes to editorial policy that would turn its coverage of trans people from lop-sided to outright demeaning, you could start by standing up and telling them: #NotInMyName
The BBC has never been great friends to trans folk. Of late, the bias has intensified. Many people, not just within the trans community, are now asking: is the Beeb institutionally transphobic?
There have always been issues: Woman’s Hour, for one, has long been trans-sceptic. A key turning point, though, was a Newsnight, in early 2017. This began with Emily Maitlis tweeting that the key question was whether transgender primary school kids should receive surgery.
This was not just misleading, but untrue. It was also highly contentious when you reflect that the programme had supposedly researched the issue. Though perhaps the most telling thing was how little concerned the BBC was in their response to a formal complaint on that and related issues. (The Maitlis tweet was merely “regrettable”!)
Since then there have been many one-offs, following much the same pattern. Earlier this year, most trans people were largely unconcerned by the Harry Miller court ruling, in respect of excessive policing. Despite this, the BBC insisted on framing it as “major defeat” for us and one element in their reporting suggested that this result could be a green light to use transphobic language.
More recently, a simple press story about a cross-parliamentary group of MPs objecting to Liz Truss’ comments on trans people could not run as was. It had to be taken down and rewritten in order to present an “alternative viewpoint”. Balance, doncha know! Except that is NOT how reporting works. It is not the job of the reporter to add commentary to every story. The BBC knows this, as its defence of, say, Laura Kuenssberg, makes clear.
Now, two further developments are causing consternation. A couple of weeks ago, a page on the BBC online platform providing links to major…