A charity calling for accuracy, dignity and respect for transgender and intersex people in the British press has condemned the Sun newspaper’s hunt for a pregnant man.
TMW’s Project Manager, Paris Lees, accused the Sun of harassment and hypocrisy:
“This week, the Sun claimed it was subject to ‘a witch-hunt’. Odd, coming from a newspaper now trying to expose an innocent member of the public simply for being transgender.”
“Is it in the public interest if a private individual chooses to become pregnant? Quite frankly, this person’s gender identity is nobody else’s business – and certainly not cause for a national phone-in.”
The Sun has urged its readers to call a hotline to expose the man’s identity. This, says Paris Lees, has caused great anxiety in the trans community:
“There are trans men around the country who’ve been living in fear for the past few days, scared they could be paraded as freaks on the Sun’s front page. What right does a newspaper have to make innocent members of the public feel this way?”
TMW points out that papers pursuing the story breach the PCC Editors’ Code in four distinct areas: privacy, harassment, protection of children, and discrimination.
Helen Belcher, TMW’s Treasurer, advised the PCC that its code had been broken, but says that the regulator was unable to take action:
“The PCC clearly felt there was some substance in those claims but, sadly, has yet again shown it is incapable of halting such abusive behaviour.”
The charity’s criticism comes just one week after Ms Belcher presented evidence of gross invasions of privacy to the Leveson Inquiry.
In the submission, TMW made clear reference to the damage often caused by such outings, whether individuals or families are linked to a story or not.
The Sun’s editor, Dominic Mohan, also spoke to the Inquiry last week, where he insisted his editorial team had: “raised [its] game in terms of transgender reporting”.
This, Ms Belcher argues, brings Mr Mohan’s evidence into doubt:
“The manner in which the Sun is pursuing this story raises serious doubts that they have mended their ways, despite Dominic Mohan’s evidence in front of Lord Justice Leveson”
TMW calls on all press outlets to end the unnecessary search immediately and allow the individual to continue their pregnancy undisturbed.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Trans Media Watch is a charity which works with the media to ensure transgender and intersex people are treated with accuracy, dignity and respect. Formed in 2009, it has collaborated with regulators, broadcasters and government, as well as with trans and intersex people, and their families, who are approached by the media.
TMW does not advocate censorship, but encourages journalists and editors to take responsibility for their work. Its style guide, which provides advice on the coverage of trans and intersex-interest stories, and is backed by the PCC, has been widely circulated. TMW also boasts strong support on social networking sites, and has links with parallel organisations across the globe.
TMW addressed the Leveson Inquiry on 8th February.
For more information please contact:
TMW Project Manager
Tel: 07857 350121
Treasurer of TMW