Following a life threatening attack on a Cambridge academic by a stag, six national newspapers have admitted that it was irrelevant to include in their reports on the incident that she is transgender.
Dr Kate Stone was charged after the animal was cornered in Scotland on New Years Eve. As a result she was gored in the neck, and left in a coma.
The incident was reported by several national newspapers in England and Scotland, including the Daily Record, Daily Mirror, The Sun and Scottish Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
All of these papers mentioned that she is transgender, and headlines included: “Sex swap scientist in fight for life”, “Sex-swap scientist gored by stag”, and “Deer spears sex-swap Kate.”
The TED lecturer complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) following the coverage, saying that it was in breach of Clause 12 of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
The clause states that a person’s status as trans “must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story”.
Resolutions from the PCC on all six newspapers included the removal of offensive terms such as “sex swap”, and the removal of any mention of Dr Stone’s transgender status from any remaining online articles.
The All About Trans group told the Press Gazette: “For decades journalists have been in the habit of pointing to the transgender status of an individual as being sensationally newsworthy in itself. As the PCC notes, epithets such as ‘sex swap’, invented by and exclusively promoted by the tabloid press, can trivialize complex medical processes of gender transition.
“It is therefore extremely welcome that the papers, who got it wrong, have acknowledged that Kate’s transgender status was not relevant to the story and agreed that ‘sex-swap’ was a highly inappropriate term to use.”
All About Trans adviser Sarah Lennox said: “If Apple CEO, Tim Cook, were involved in a car accident tomorrow, you wouldn’t get headlines: ‘Homosexual CEO in Car Accident’ and you certainly wouldn’t get: ‘Pansy (or Faggot) CEO in Car Accident’…
“We’re living in the 21st century and the press have rightly moved on from that kind of finger-pointing and name-calling. ‘Sex-swap’ headlines are not okay.”