The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled that a Belfast newspaper breached the press code of practice for calling a trans woman a “tranny”.

Keira McCormack complained she had been deeply insulted by the November 1st 2009 article in the Sunday Life which described her as “burly”.

She had worked as a rape counsellor in Belfast between 2005 and 2009 but the newspaper questioned whether the “5ft 10in transsexual” was suitable for the job.

The article, titled ‘Tranny worked in rape centre’, was found to be discriminatory and in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

The Sunday Life argued that no offence had been intended in the use of the word ‘tranny’ which it considered to be “widely used” in articles about trans people.

McCormack said that the term ‘tranny’ was generally used by transvestites or cross-dressers but was deeply insulting to transgender people.

The PCC considered that the use of the word ‘tranny’ was a needless abbreviation which many found offensive.

It ruled that the word was pejorative and the complaint was upheld on this point.

McCormack made a number of other complaints, both about the article and a follow-up piece, about accuracy, privacy and harassment, but none of these were upheld.

The PCC ruled that the newspaper had a right to report people’s concerns about her suitability for the job counselling vulnerable women and that accurate reporting made reference to her gender reassignment necessary.

It dismissed her claims that the newspaper had harassed her and violated her privacy.

It noted that the Sunday Life had offered to correct as a point of accuracy that McCormack had legally changed her name in 2005 and not 2008 as reported but said there were no other matters under the accuracy clause to pursue.