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Campaigners appalled after The Sun publishes story of young trans boy on front page

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  1. What the hell was the mother thinking by giving The Sun all that information. Fair enough to give them an interview as it could help to promote trans issues but there is such a thing as too much information, especially where children are concerned. I seriously doubt either her son or daughter will be very pleased when they grow up and find a picture of the pair of them splashed across the front page in this way.

    1. Not everyone has the skill to rebuff the gutter press. One ploy is to threaten to publish the story without cooperation from the victim, but with a less favourable slant, so that cooperation looks like the best bet for a good outcome.

      1. Alternatively, they just interview people who know the family, get some pap shots, and make it look as though they cooperated.

    2. Not everyone is a born media negotiator. Many experienced advocates have been tricked and conned and misrepresented by the media. I don’t think it’s at all fair or constructive for you to criticise this loving parent. You have not walked a day in her shoes. If the Sun published irresponsibly or unfairly the blame lies squarely with them not the parent. For every parent who chooses visibility on behalf of the child they can give hope and courage to someone else living in fear. I have seen it happen. While The Sun might not be the ideal vehicle for the creation of awareness and advocacy it remains that this parent is a loving and supportive one and she should be applauded for that. Parenting a very young trans child can be an incredibly difficult and isolating experience. You are left alone to find out so many things for yourself. There are wars and battles fought and won and they are largely fought by incredibly loving, determined parents who love their children unconditionally.

  2. *PERSONAL* – not personnel . . . . .

  3. Appalling behaviour by the Sun. Of interest to the public, but absolutely not in the public interest – or in the interest of this young child.

    While the mother may have given information to the newspaper, we have no idea what Sun journalists said to her to persuade her to do so. Perhaps she was hoping to get help in her efforts to obtain appropriate support for her son from the authorities.

    And even if this mother willingly compromised her child’s privacy, nobody forced the Sun to exploit this child by covering the story in this way, complete with photo, identifying information and consistent misgendering – and still less to put it on the front page.

    Revealing the mother’s struggles to get proper support from the NHS is a news story. Setting up a small child as an object of curiosity for readers to gawp at is not. Now we find out if anything at all has changed post-Leveson – so far it appears not.

  4. Regardless of how eager the guardian(s) may have been to share the story with the press, the press could have exercised responsibility and refused to parade a 6-year-old’s delicate life in front of a certain section of the nation. It didn’t exercise that responsibility. That’s why The Sun is part of the gutter-press. That’s why press regulation is vital. They are unprincipled.

    1. It’s not the press that’s in the gutter its the readers. The illiterate trash who behave like animals

      1. James, the readers are actively conditioned to crave the trash with which they have been fed. The responsibility lies with the so-called “journalists” of gutter-press papers like The Sun.

        1. They are so downtrodden they look for anyone else they can belittle and think well at least I’m not as bad as that. The journos feed this but it was always there to begin with nasty brutish people

          1. James, if we have no belief in the education of “nasty brutish people” then we might as well just give up. Nastiness and brutishness and vulgarity has greatly increased in this country, the UK, over the course of the last 30 years, and it has occurred not because of something unchangeable and inherent in a certain class of person, but because of what has been encouraged in them by the gutter-press and gutter-media.

  5. The sun wouldn’t exist without an audience who salivate for this stuff. I blame those thick scumbags

    1. It wouldn’t exist without simple minded people who want simple answers to complex questions, but just because there is a market for something, it doesn’t mean that it should be provided for.

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Dec 2013, 2:57pm

    Is it no wonder cyber-bullying is soaring? Some of the comments published in the Daily Mail as one of many examples, particularly during the marriage debate I’ve no doubt have fomented homophobia. I was worn out from reading the vile rhetoric and now this?

    1. I stay away from the DM comment section, my faith in humanity is already dangerously low.

  7. What more does one expect from an odous rag such as this?
    Unfortunately, its opinions tend to be taken on board by those members of our society who either cannot be bothered to formulate, or don’t have, ideas and opinions of their own.
    The whole thing is shameful – let’s hope the poor child isn’t affected unduly and that the parents buy all sorts of lovely things with the cash cow called the Gutter press.

  8. The Sun does it again! Why this paper is still being published is beyond me, people need to stop buying this poor excuse for a “news” paper. The only use it has is toilet paper.

    1. It’s not even good for that Allen, you wipe more on than off.

  9. I have one question, Who advised the parents of this lad that it was a good idea to speak to the paper? surely the parents should appreciate the dubious quality of reporting by the Scum newspaper. Unless the cheque made it worthwhile? :/

    1. Hayley benson 4 Dec 2013, 12:58pm

      Hi janet , I can assure you I have not recieved a single penny for that article , my intentions were good but alas I’ve been naive , I was led to believe it would be a small piece not front page , and only a small photograph , in no way would I want to parade my child like that , I was doing it to highlight the bigotry and ignorance George has faced, I have been inundated with big cash tv and magazine deals and have declined all offers , Hayley

      1. Big, big, gigantic oops. Get onto Mermaids if you haven’t already. You need a lot of hel and protection.

  10. I think Trans issues are very important and this child needs love and support, and not hate and bigotry from that rag of a newspaper. The parents should kept the boy and his twin out of the picture, because both children will now become targets of the bullies out there.

  11. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Dec 2013, 4:42pm

    Meanwhile, Parliament is discussing persecution of Christians in the middle east and elsewhere not acknowledging that Christians have been persecuting gay people for centuries. Homophobia is mostly all rooted in religious indoctrination and responsible for much of the bullying going on. That’s why yellow tabloid journalistic rags such as the Sun do this sort of thing.

  12. some journalists think they have ZERO repsonsibility to any reaction for their actions!

  13. Martin Hodge 3 Dec 2013, 5:34pm

    The Sun shows its irresponsibilty and inhumanity once again. Absolutely appalling.

  14. Not surprised at what News International publishes, one merely has to look to recent history as to the low bar they have for “public interest”. As for the parents, are they “fit” to be caring for children? Seems to me they may have placed there children in harms way? This of course cannot be undone and will live with this family into the future. Seems to me the first duty of a parent is to protect there child, therefore there is no excuse for complicity here. I fail to see how such a story would ever be in the interests of the child. Thats before one considers the ‘gender issues”.

    1. John, You have never been to a support group meeting for parents of very young trans children and witnessed how the courage of a few to choose visibility, however you might criticise the medium or the vehicle, gives hope and inspiration to other families who live in fear or even just in isolation. It can be a very difficult, lonely road parenting a young trans child and stealth is not for everyone. Some families proudly choose visibility and of course they struggle with how they are represented in the media but the blame for misrepresentation and ignorance lies squarely with the media and not with the parent. This parent has not put her child in harms way. I spoke with a parent who said that since the show they participated in aired on national tv, the bullying at school actually stopped! But that doesn’t make the headlines does it?

  15. Hayley benson 4 Dec 2013, 12:54pm

    Im George’s mother , in no way was I expecting the article to go front page , I said one photo I was led to believe it would be a small piece , I didn’t think school would be named and I just want people to know before they judge me I was not paid a single penny for the article , have been inundated with offers of tv etc and I have for George’s sake turned down every single one , I have been naive but my intentions were for the good of my child , It certainly was not my intention to parade my child in such a way , Hayley benson

    1. Ms Benson, The Sun newspaper is a rag. You thought you what you thought was right for your youngster and Trans people in general. The newspaper decided to sensationalise the story. All son, ( I will use son as he wants to be known as a boy), needs is the love and support of his family. I am sorry if I offended you by saying the children should be kept out the photo, but I said it because you know how cruel people can be cruel.

      1. Hayley benson 5 Dec 2013, 1:36am

        I appreciate what you are saying , and have fully taken on board all of the comments , in parts I totally agree but there are lots of grey areas , in George’s small world in the here and now so many changes for the well being of George have occurred already , such as the teacher since the article broke has when doing register has called out the name “George” , other people in George’s world are now fully aware in no uncertain terms and now give the respect , understanding and dignity that George deserves , on a larger scale at this Moment in time George cannot read comments online and is fully protected and unaware of the publicity the article has caused , but in George’s world where George has been in tears , felt frustrated , upset already all that has lifted , and in the present in George’s world that to me as George’s mother is priceless , all I have is a happier George , sensationalist article gutter press but changed my child’s world for the better in the present xx

    2. Hi Hayley … May I suggest you contact Mermaids, a wonderful organisation who support children with gender identity issues and their families. They will not judge you and could offer you and George much needed support in the years ahead … friendship, advice on schools and dealing with the media. They’ve been going for nearly twenty years and all their members are parents and young people who share your experience.

    3. Hi Hayley. Im a parent of a very young trans child also and I want you to be reassured that I can respect that you had the best intentions and the best interests of your child at heart. Don’t listen to anyone else’s criticism’s. They are not walking your walk. The media can be a monster and while many people look down their noses at The Sun, it remains that lot of people still read it!! The Sun should have worked with you and advocate agencies to ensure their article was responsible and fair but it is not your fault if they didn’t. Many people who are experienced and media savvy have been tricked and misrepresented by journalists. For every person who chooses visibility, they give courage and hope to someone else who lives in fear. I have seen it happen. Contact Mermaids for support for yourself. I have found them to be an invaluable source of strength and support for myself. I’m sure you are doing a fine job supporting your child to be their best self. All the very best to you.

      1. Hayley benson 8 Dec 2013, 9:36am

        Thank you so much Catherine , I have been very naive , and to others who have no clue it is not as simple as putting a label on a “tomboy” this is very real and very upsetting and a long road of uncertainty of knowing what to do for the best , your comments truly do mean so much to me and have made me feel so much bettercaboutthis whole sorry mess , I have contacted mermaids I sent a email , all the very best to you and your family and best of luck for the future xxxx

    4. Hello Hayley
      If you have not yet contacted Mermaids please do so, we can help.

    5. Hayley, please don’t beat yourself up. People have been taken in by the Sun before :-(. There are a lot of other families like yours, you are not alone, and we at Mermaids can offer information and advice and most importantly, friendship.

      1. Hayley benson 8 Dec 2013, 9:37am

        Thank you Linda , I have emailed mermaids , thank you for your kind words ,

  16. Jay Hayes-Light 7 Dec 2013, 8:32pm

    Haley, you are an inspiration to all those parents out there with children who experience gender dysphoria. You did what you did FOR your son and that is to your credit. If there is any recrimination due it really should be directed at the SUN. At some point, trans people and their parents face the issue of whether to go public to raise awareness that gender dysphoria is no more a lifestyle ‘choice’ than being gay or being tall. I would second the advice that you contact Mermaids, they have an outstanding record covering many years of supporting trans children and their families. I am the Director of the UK Intersex Association and there is considerable overlap between the experiences of intersex children & their families and the trans community.

    1. Thank you so much , so lively and uplifting reading all these comments , really does mean a lot ,

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