Two Trans employees leave the Guardian due to its reporting on trans issues

The Guardian offices in London
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A transgender employee at the Guardian has shared her reasons for leaving the organisation with Buzzfeed News, citing an anti-trans culture that “is not contested in any way”.

“An incredibly transphobic organisation”

The employee, referred to as Victoria in the Buzzfeed article, sent a resignation email to her whole department in July. In it, she described the Guardian as “an incredibly transphobic organisation”, and went on to say:

As a trans person myself I’m often conflicted because while being here gives me immense power to try and fix that […] it also means I’m supporting an institution that fundamentally not only stands against my own values but also against what I am.

Victoria describes a hostile work environment where she was afraid to use the women’s toilets and received transphobic remarks from colleagues both within and outside of the workplace. Another trans member of staff also reportedly resigned weeks later, giving similar reasons.

Internal rifts

The Guardian’s coverage of trans issues in the UK has also caused a rift between the media outlet’s UK and US offices, with the latter being more pro-trans. The outlet’s American employees have openly criticised an editorial on the Gender Recognition Act published by the Guardian in October 2018. They clarified that “Guardian journalists in the US had no input in the editorial”. They went on to say that the editorial was “misplaced and misguided” and “promoted transphobic viewpoints”. The statement continued:

nearly all reporters and editors from our New York, Washington DC and California offices wrote to UK editors with our concerns.

The editorial was an attempt to make sense of a growing debate about trans rights in the UK. While focused on the Gender Recognition Act, the editorial and resulting conversations have exposed some of the fundamental divides between American and British feminism and progressive politics – and highlighted for us an alarming intolerance of trans viewpoints in mainstream UK discourse.

Read on...

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Mainstreaming of transphobia

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Victoria expressed concern over the Guardian’s mainstreaming of transphobic sentiment in the guise of balanced debate:

The way it works is [to suggest]: transphobia is actually a ‘woke’ way of thinking. I think it misleads people into thinking the respectable thing to do is to raise these issues.

In response to the allegations, a Guardian spokesperson said:

Guardian News & Media is committed to being an open and tolerant place to work for all our employees. We value and respect our staff and diversity and inclusion are central to our workplace culture.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has recently launched an enquiry into how UK media reports on trans issues.

Featured image via Wikimedia/ Bryantbob.

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  • Show Comments
    1. I hope this article is not supposed to actually imply the Guardian are anti-trans. This is a complicated debate and shouldn’t be used to point score against the Guardian. Don’t get me wrong I love the Canary and can no longer abide the Guardian due to its quite obvious acceptance of new-liberalism. However the trans issue is more complicated than pro self ID you are a nice person, concerns about the erosion of female only spaces/puberty blockers for children = bigot.

      1. But trans women are women, including them in female only spaces helps to boost these spaces, it doesn’t erode them. And puberty blockers for children are safe and reversible, and prevent more pressing and serious risks to mental (and physical) health. Trans teens are at high risk of mood disorders, self harm and suicide, puberty blockers help them stay safe and well. And in any case, it is pretty standard to prioritise short- and mid-term health over long term health – many treatments with long term health risks are used to prevent self harm and suicide in children and teens (speaking from experience). But there is little evidence that puberty blockers even have these risks, and they save lives.

        This treatment isn’t that old, so there has been less research into it than other treatments. However, medical support is (nowadays) always present before treatments become mainstream, and we have to recognise the limitations of non-scientific media `discussing’ (or sensationalising) this issue. It is in the interest of media companies to promote hysteria around trans health, especially in children, because it sells so well. The guardian has been transphobic for a long time now, but in a quiet way that has seeped into the consciousness of the UK left (especially those who don’t know any trans people well). And as basically the only mainstream UK news source that is at all leftist I think there’s a temptation to defend it because we literally can’t not read it. But it is possible to be mature and accept that the media we consume isn’t perfect, and may sometimes just have to be the least of evils. I still use the guardian to stay up to speed, but support and read the canary because I much prefer it (and it doesn’t fill me with such a boiling rage). Also gal-dem. Let me know if anyone recommends others!

        The guardian has created this culture in the UK left where we constantly `both sides’ a question that has a pretty clear science (not to mention welfare) based answer. Respect teenagers right to know their own bodies and minds. As a person who had medical interventions forced on me when I was too young to be allowed to consent, I know the dangers of adults who claim to know better. Everyone is very apologetic now, but the damage has already been done.

        Also, trust scientists to do science! We don’t have to be experts in everything.

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