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BBC issues ‘impartiality warning’ to Woman’s Hour host over transgender row

Nick Duffy March 6, 2017

The BBC says it has warned Woman’s Hour host Dame Jenni Murray to stay “impartial” after she spoke out about transgender women in a newspaper column.

The veteran radio broadcaster penned a piece in the Sunday Times Magazine suggesting that trans women can never be “real women” because they could experience male privilege before they transition.

In the piece, Murray slamed transgender women including the late Rev Carol Stone and TV presenter India Willoughby, claiming they were not “real” women because they cared about make-up and dresses.

The piece also uncritically drew on inaccurate tabloid claims that the British Medical Association has banned medical staff from referring to pregnant mothers as pregnant mothers, and uncritically repeated a string of other falsehoods on trans equality.

In response today, the BBC says it has warned Murray about “impartiality” – but has declined any formal rebuke against her.

After calls for her to be removed from chairing future debates on trans rights, a statement said: “Jenni Murray is a freelance journalist and these were her own views, however we have reminded her that presenters should remain impartial on controversial topics covered by their BBC programmes.”

In her column, Murray wrote: “The first time I felt anger when a man claimed to have become a woman was in December 2000, when the Rev Peter Stone announced he had undergone . . . surgery to transition from male to female and was now called Carol.

“Her primary concerns, she told me, were finding the most suitable dress in which to meet her parishioners . . . and deciding if she should wear make-up.

“I remember asking Carol what she owed those women who had struggled for so long to have their calling to the priesthood acted upon. His calling, as a man, had never been questioned. I had nothing but a blank look and more concerns about clothing. ‘I know it sounds silly,’ she said. ‘But I’ve nothing to wear.’ ”

Despite allegations of a so-called “powerful transgender lobby”, PinkNews was unable to find any transgender people with Damehoods and national radio programmes given space to write about their opinions in Sunday newspapers.

More: BBC, Dame, impartial, impartiality, Jenni Murray, LGBT, Trans, Transgender

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