Standards of Decency for the Press Regarding Transsexual and Transgender People

In the United States the New York Times and other major newspapers have something they call standards of usage. The better and more sensitive major newspapers seem to have adopted standards put forth by GLAAD regarding usage when referring to LGBT people.

GLAAD’s standards have some serious short comings in not recognizing the preference some of us have for transsexual over transgender.  Nonetheless I would rather be referred to as transgender than by anyone of the myriad of bigoted slurs commonly found in both tabloids here and the press in the UK.

“She-male, Sex-swap and He-She” seem to be standard fare in a number of publications one finds in the UK.  Here we mostly find those sorts of smears in rags puked out by the Murdoch Empire.

For those not following this blog on a regular basis, Lucy Meadows, a teacher in the UK recently committed suicide after a vicious bullying by the British tabloid press.

The British tabloid press has been invading the privacy of transsexual people, particularly transsexual women since the 1950s.

What they call news becomes vicious mockery and abuse via their use of language.

Starting about twenty years ago, transsexual and transgender people started organizing, separately we had been weak and mute. Collectively we found others who were as injured by this climate of abuse as we were. Together, we discovered the power of a collective voice raised in protest.

I admit to having been skeptical of this organized voice.  I came out in ancient times, an era where we suffered the hurt of those slurs, the abuse by police and society alike.  We drank and drugged to deal with the pain of crushed dreams, the pain of humiliation.

I’ve come to see speaking out as better.

There is power in demanding dignity along with basic human rights.

It isn’t censorship to demand the use of respectful terminology and non-bigoted reporting.

But that isn’t how the bigoted bullies see it.

Why is it so hard to see the bigotry when the targets are transsexual or transgender people?

Would there be anyone who would question the firing of someone who used their press platform to call black people “niggers” or Jewish people “kikes”?

What if black or Jewish people constantly had their legitimacy questioned by members of the press?

Would anyone question their right to demand the firing of the bigots and an apology from the offending newspaper?

I have noticed three cases over the last week of privileged white nontrans men sticking up for the bigots who bully and abuse transsexual and transgender people.

These people claim bigotry and the access to a powerful platform as a right.  Further any transsexual and transgender people calling them vicious bullies, bigots or thugs are infringing upon their freedom.

This is a seriously flawed concept of freedom.

Consider this:

If you have the freedom to bully, abuse or debase me then I must also have the right to retaliate and do the same to you.

This is to say if you abuse your platform and use it to abase and degrade transsexual and transgender people it goes without saying that we have the right to organize campaigns to have you sacked, organize campaigns against your publications if they refuse to sack you.

Freedom is a two way street.

Several of the worst offenders:

Brendan O’Neill   The Telegraph UK:  Memo to all radical campaigners: please stop exploiting suicidal people for political ends

Tough shit, Brendan.  Bullies deserve to be made responsible for their action.  Bullying people to death should result in prosecution as well as sacking.

Blaise Tapp  Lancashire Evening Post:  Press has a lot to answer but aren’t killers

Ah but you are.  You are a bunch of bigoted scum with a history of abuse that goes back to the early 1950s.  You are finally being called to answer for that abuse and bigotry.

The Spectator:  Julie Burchill, trannies and the free press

Would  Dougie be defending Julie Burchill’s right to call black people “niggers” or Jewish people “kikes”?

It is exactly the same. Those who try to claim it isn’t the same are automatically saying that transsexual and transgender people are some sort of subhumans.

That is unacceptable.  Remember freedom is a two way street not a license to peddle bigotry without consequences.

We are human beings and we have the right to force you to answer for your bigotry, bullying and abuse. Just as members of other minorities have the right to stand up for their humanity and dignity so too do we.

Further it appears as though TS/TG people in the UK have met with some success in organizing their campaign against bigotry.

From Gay Star News UK:

Trans media victim Lucy Meadows’ death sparks debate in UK parliament

Over 200,000 people have signed a petition urging the Daily Mail to sack columnist Richard Littlejohn for his anti-trans remarks

By Joe Morgan
27 March 2013

A parliamentary debate is being planned in order to learn lessons from the treatment of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows, who died last week.

Her MP Graham Jones, Labour backbencher, is seeking to debate in parliament about the circumstances leading to Meadows’ death.

After a local newspaper ‘outed’ her last December, the Daily Mail also reported on her transition and columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote an opinion piece stating she was ‘in the wrong job’.

Speaking to, Jones said the article was a ‘dark moment for the transgender community and the Lucy Meadows case is a deplorable tragedy.’

‘It also raises the issue about the way the transgender community are treated and I think that they’ve had an unfair press,’ he said.

‘I think that a debate around the issues of transgender and other minorities will perhaps highlight the oppressive nature of some of the journalistic articles that have appeared over time targeting transgender people.’

Jones is demanding a regulatory system must be used to control newspapers, despite the recent political consensus it would curtail the freedom of the press.

‘My view on this is I’m much less concerned about freedom of the press and far more concerned about the freedom of the British public, the reader,’ he added.

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One Response to “Standards of Decency for the Press Regarding Transsexual and Transgender People”

  1. Mykell Miller Says:

    Well said. I’d add something more, but you said everything I would have said.

Comments are closed.

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