Trans charity reports papers to Leveson on ‘child safety concerns’

Stephen Gray March 1, 2012
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The Leveson Inquiry has received a charity’s submission regarding several articles about trans people published in recent weeks which it is says ‘deliberately misrepresented’ the realities of gender dysphoria.

Trans Media Watch, which calls for accuracy, dignity and respect for transgender and intersex people in the British media, said last night it had made a second submission to the inquiry into press standards since its first appearance on 8 February.

The Inquiry has been investigating invasions of privacy by the British press since it opened in mid-November.

Most of the stories concerned in Trans Media Watch’s submission relate to the trans man who gave birth to a child and to a five-year-old who was born male and is now living as female.

Leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas tabled an Early Day Motion at Parliament condemning the media’s attempts to discover the identity of the transgender man, describing the attempts as a “transphobic witch-hunt”.

Speaking to, The Sun’s Interim Managing Editor David Dinsmore defended that paper’s decision to ask readers to call in if they knew the man in question though he had not come forward himself.

Helen Belcher, Treasurer of TMW, said the recent coverage of the trans father and five-year-old Zachy Avery raises issues of child protection.

She said: “With both stories, there are significant concerns over misrepresentation and, with both, there are serious concerns over the press affecting the safety of children.”

The charity refers to a Daily Mail article by Paul Bracchi which claims gender dysphoria “didn’t exist” twenty years ago.

Bracchi writes: “Some might ask whether it’s wise to allow vulnerable 13-year-olds to attend ‘sessions’ with 25-year-old transexuals.”

At one point, Bracchi also says: “Some might ask whether it’s not Zach but his parents who need counselling for allowing him to go down this path.”

Ms Belcher commented: “We are particularly concerned about the inaccuracies and discrimination that appear in the Mail’s article of 25 February, and have taken these concerns to the Press Complaints Commission.”

Paris Lees, TMW’s Project Manager, adds: “How dare Paul Bracchi claim that gender dysphoria didn’t exist 20 years ago? It did. I was a child then, but I can tell you it was very real. Sadly, like most of the journalists whipping up hysteria over trans children, he hasn’t got the faintest idea what he is talking about.”

“In the search for a salacious story, parts of the press disregard the safety of innocent children. Why? Well, for the most part, these articles are just an excuse to point and stare.”

She concluded: “This isn’t about transgender people, it’s about bad journalism. The tabloids are driving an atmosphere of fear by parading a vulnerable minority group as freaks and deliberately misrepresenting the realities of our lives.”

TMW said that between early November and early February, there had been, on average, fewer than one article published in the UK press on trans issues.

In the fortnight following TMW’s appearance at Leveson, it said, 34 articles were published. 14 of those were published by the Daily Mail and subsidiaries.

The Daily Mail had not responded to’s request for comment at the time of publication.

More: daily mail, gender, gender dysphoria, Leveson Inquiry, press, The Sun, Trans, Transgender

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