Video campaign launched against transphobia in the media

Besi Besemar January 28, 2013


Scotland’s leading transgender equality charity has welcomed the release of a video campaign in response to recent transphobic attacks in the press, including a column in the Observer by Julie Burchill.

“Trans Cabal: Right to Reply” features individual transgender people and their allies telling of the impact of Burchill’s comments and the media furore which followed.

TransBareAll, an organisation working to improve the health and wellbeing of trans people, decided to launch the video campaign “to show the real impact of the way language is used and how it affects the people it targets.”

Jay McNeil, co-founder of TransBareAll, said:

“Some of the terms published are so deeply rooted in discrimination, violence and hatred that it is just not ok to say them. It refers to me. It refers to many of the people in this film. It harms all trans people, and the people who love us.”

The Scottish Transgender Alliance said of the article:

“Such offensive language was used purposefully to attack the identities of trans people. We know that transphobia has a hugely negative impact on the mental health of transgender people, and in this case it was directed at them using the British media.”

McNeil co-authored the largest UK study into the mental health of transgender people and discovered the true extent of the problem.

A shocking 48% of respondents had tried to take their life at some point with 33% attempting to kill themselves on more than one occasion. The majority of those surveyed felt that media portrayals of transgender people had a direct and negative impact on their mental health.

Since Observer editor John Mulholland withdrew Burchill’s article from publication amid mounting criticism, discussions in the mainstream media have focussed on freedom of speech. The press complaints commission has launched an investigation into the publication of the article after receiving over 800 complaints.

Rather than debating freedom of speech or the rights and wrongs of different sides of this argument TransBareAll are encouraging people to upload videos which simply explain how transphobic comments in the media have made them feel. It is hoped that the campaign will highlight the very real impact that transphobia has on the lives of trans people, and encourage others to think more carefully about the language they use.

To view the video, click here: