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British newspapers go wild for ‘Britain’s first transgender parents’ – despite there being plenty of other trans parents

Vic Parsons December 18, 2019
Hannah Graf and husband Jake

Hannah Graf and husband Jake attend the premiere of Colette in London (John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)

Over the weekend, UK newspapers reported that “Britain’s first transgender parents” are expecting a child.

The reporting was unusually positive, and almost all the headlines referenced the trans couple as “Britain’s first” to have a child together.

Papers including the Daily Mail, Mirror, Sun, as well as ITV, all covered the story that Jake and Hannah Graf have announced they are expecting their first child via a surrogate with headlines hooked on them being the “first” transgender parents.

But the trans community has been quick to point out that the Grafs are hardly the first trans parents in the UK, and that portraying them as such perpetuates the “dangerous” idea that trans people are “new”, “novel”, or only worth favourable coverage when achieving a “first”.

Ruth Pearce, a sociologist who wrote the book Understanding Trans Health published by Bristol University Press, said on Twitter, “Jake and Hannah Graf are not the ‘first transgender parents’. So, so many trans parents raise kids with both trans and cis partners. I’m part of an entire research project looking just at the specific subset who give birth after starting a transition!”

Pearce linked to a Leeds University project called ‘An international exploration of trans-masculine practices of reproduction’, adding: “I definitely wish the Grafs all the best for their new family, but the same can’t be said of the irresponsible journalists reporting yet another trans ‘first’. Here’s a podcast where I explain how dangerous it is for trans people to be a constant novelty.”

In January this year, the Daily Mail reported on “Britain’s first transgender family” – an article that seemed to escape the notice of the headline writer for the story about the Grafs.

But Twitter users were quick to spot this. One person said, “‘First British transgender parents’. What. You’d think they’d catch on from how many ridiculous headlines there have already been about transgender parents.”

“Who exactly is it who keeps selling trans stories on the idiotic, ahistorical basis of ‘youngest’, ‘first’, etc.? How can they possibly be ‘Britain’s First Transgender Parents’?” another person said.

Despite the stories being largely positive, some Twitter users also called out the Daily Mail for running pre-transition photos of Jake and Hannah Graf.

The Grafs are one of the most prominent trans couples in the UK, and they first discussed their intention to have a baby last year.

First falling in love back in 2015, the pair have battled anti-trans groups and people in the name of simply existing, falling in love and starting a family.

More: daily mail, hannah graf, Jake Graf, trans parenting

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