Current Affairs

Newspaper faces backlash for article ‘shaming’ a transgender woman

Nick Duffy October 31, 2017
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A newspaper in Kent has faced a backlash after a reporter wrote a piece about a local transgender woman, concluding that she’s a man.

The opinion column was published in the Kentish Gazette newspaper, published by the Kent Messenger group, alongside a story about transgender people in prison.

The piece, written under the ‘Harry Bell’ pseudonym by a member of staff earlier this month, took aim at a local trans person.

It read: “One argument advanced by such people is that they have women’s brains, but are in men’s bodies.

“In Canterbury, there’s a very obvious transperson. Well, I say transperson, but it’s just a bloke with a feminine haircut who wears women’s clothing.

“With that in mind, I conducted a little experiment. I showed a picture of this person – I happen to know his name – to five women between 23 and 71 and asked them what they thought

“Each correctly said they were looking at a man. Four out of five said something even mroe telling: that he has no idea how to dress as a woman.

I”n other words, to their minds he does not possess what could be reasonably be [sic] called a feminine brain.

“It’s here, therefore, that it seems impossible to disagree with Germaine Greer when she says that dressing up a a woman and calling yourself one does not actually make you one.”

Greer, cited in the column, famously said: “Just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman.

“I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel.”

The newspaper has since apologised for the article.

Hold The Front Page reports that Kentish Gazette reporter Alex Claridge, who penned the article under the pseudonym, has been suspended pending investigation along with editor Bob Bounds.

The Kentish Gazette has since published a retraction.

It reads: “The Gazette has come in for heavy criticism over the publication of last week’s Harry Bell column, which included an item about transgender issues.

“When you get things wrong, the best course of action is to hold your hands up and say sorry. Last week’s column did get it wrong – badly wrong.

“We feel it is appropriate to dedicate our letters pages to the many messages we have had criticising the comments contained in the article.

“Harry Bell has never purported to be the Voice of the Gazette, nor to represent the views of anyone other than the author.

“However, we must take responsibility for providing the platform for such opinions to be aired.

“Over the course of its long history, the Gazette has prided itself on fighting for the community it serves.

“That includes ALL those who help make the Canterbury area such a diverse and wonderful place to live.

“Over the coming weeks we will be attempting to rebuild links with those upset by last week’s column and will ensure we learn from our mistake.”

More: anti-trans, England, Kent, LGBT, Trans, Transgender

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