On Tuesday, October 26th, the BBC published an article entitled ‘We’re being pressured into sex by some Trans women’ which has been widely deemed as transphobic rhetoric, but also condemned for having a lack of journalistic credibility.
The piece has been accused of being poorly researched, biased, and transphobic by prominent members of the LGBTQ+ community, over 15,000 of whom have also signed an open letter to BBC management.
The letter criticises the piece for suggesting that “transgender women as a minority group pose a threat to cisgender lesbians, and should therefore have their rights restricted in the UK.” It also highlights that the study cited within the article, carried out by a member of an anti-trans campaign group, does not meet the BBC’s own guidelines for publishing.
Furthermore, the letter states that the story fails to represent balanced views from the wider lesbian community, who do not hold transphobic sentiments. While the experiences of the people featured are valid and should be taken seriously, it is misleading to present them as something that happens to the majority of lesbians. As GCN’s own Saoirse Schad reported yesterday, “two things can be true: these women may indeed have been victims, while also the BBC article is indeed anti-trans rhetoric.”
Speaking to PinkNews, publisher of DIVA and founder of Lesbian Visibility Week, Linda Riley, said, “During all my time as the publisher of DIVA magazine and indeed as a member of the community, I have never heard from a lesbian saying she has been pressurised into having sex with a Trans woman.”
Another interviewee said that the article is not only anti-trans, but also “anti-lesbian”. “This narrative does not fit with the majority of lesbians. It does not speak for me or any lesbians I know,” she commented.
Co-founder of Stonewall, Lisa Power, took to Twitter to condemn the article, tweeting: “I’ve been a lesbian for almost 50 years. I’ve known Trans women, mostly lesbians, all that time. None have ever “pressured” anyone into sex that I know of. This grubby fantasy is identical to the straight sex fears of the ’80s about gay people.”
I’ve been a lesbian for almost 50 years. I’ve known trans women, mostly lesbians, all that time. None have ever “pressured” anyone into sex that I know of. This grubby fantasy is identical to the straight sex fears of the 80s about gay people.
— Lisa Power ?☠️ (@alisapower) October 26, 2021
The controversy surrounding this article comes as the BBC continues to face criticism for platforming anti-trans campaigners in a way that has been described as spreading harmful propaganda. It also further highlights the need for including Trans people within the conversation, instead of speaking on behalf of and excluding them, in turn, silencing the community.
the UK media is institutionally transphobic & has been for decades. it's also wildly racist, islamophobic, classist and obsessed with using minorities for clicks.
instead of being outraged by the latest anti-trans clickbait, why not amplify trans journalists instead? i'll start:
— Vic Parsons (they/them) (@vicparsons_) October 26, 2021
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