In the final ruling, transphobia was judged to be a motive in the slaying of Warrington teenager Brianna Ghey. Many were unsurprised this happened in England given the steady transphobic output of our media. They’re equally unsurprised the same media is reporting on Ghey’s case without any attempt to question their own reporting over the past decade.
Unsurprised but horrified, of course:
The right-wing media
Zoe Williams wrote in the Guardian:
We know that when the rightwing media selects a hate group and constantly demonises it, it has real-world consequences. We can see so plainly how language gives licence to real-life violence – the judge highlighted the “dehumanising” language Radcliffe used to describe Ghey prior to the murder – and yet it is somehow still considered melodramatic to say so.
Trans people have been used instrumentally as a muster point for the right, and the far right, in media and in politics, and this has concrete, foreseeable results.
There’s certainly a lot of shame to go around for the tabloids and broadsheets of the right:
These outlets aren’t the only ones which should be ashamed, however.
The Guardian has also been criticised for rampant transphobia, with multiple trans journalists having flagged the issue, writing:
For far too long, the UK’s supposedly most progressive mainstream media outlet has routinely monstered trans women, undermined non-binary people and misrepresented our desire to simply live in peace and safety. It has amplified conspiracy theories about trans healthcare and trans and gender non-conforming children and has contributed to attempts to smear those working to support trans people. On social media, it’s even worse, with prominent writers routinely amplifying and generating misinformation about trans women, trans men and nonbinary people.
The issues have been obvious for a long time:
UK media problem
The mainstream British media in its entirety has an issue with its reporting on transphobia. As openDemocracy reported:
“When the trans community is discussed in the British media, there is a particular word that crops up again and again,” said Niamh Simpson, a trans illustrator and community organiser from Oxford. “That word is ‘debate’.
“Trans people cannot simply exist. We must justify our existence in the public arena – in a format that is inherently dehumanising because it assumes that a fundamental aspect of our personhood is up for discussion.”
Simpson was one of more than a dozen speakers who addressed a crowd of trans people and allies outside the BBC’s London headquarters on Saturday (8 January), protesting against the broadcaster’s “agenda of hate and discrimination”.
It’s good there’s now a glimmer of self-reflection, but we’re a long way off the issue being properly acknowledged – not least in the Guardian.
Featured image via the Canary