Trans Writers Union's boycott of Irish Times gathers momentum

The boycott of the Irish Times began on August 21 in response to the alleged imbalance surrounding Trans representation in their paper.

The Irish Times building
Image: Cian Ginty, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Since the Trans Writer Union took the decision to start a boycott against The Irish Times, many groups, universities and organisations have followed suit.

In an article for GCN, the union laid down their stance and demands.

“We at the Trans Writers Union are boycotting the Irish Times. We will not write for, pay for, nor read the Irish Times until these demands have been met. We as writers will not add prestige or financial support to a paper publishing anti-trans rhetoric, and we urge others to refuse with us.

“Our demands include:

1. The Irish Times withdraw and apologise for their recent conversion therapy article, published August 9, 2021.
2. The Irish Times take practical, committed steps to adopting a trans-inclusive editorial line.”

The boycott began in August in response to an article written by The Irish Times entitled ‘Bill to ban conversion therapy poses problems for therapists’, which received significant and immediate backlash from Trans activists and allies alike.

However, the boycott is not solely born from that article. Trans Writers Union, as well as many other parties, feel that there is an imbalance when it comes to Trans representation in the prestigious Irish paper. While they have published pieces that are largely viewed as anti-Trans, they have not published counterpoint articles arguing in favour of Trans rights.

“This is a marked editorial pattern,” said Jack Kennedy, editor of the student paper, Trinity News.

Kennedy and his editorial team stated emphatically online that Trinity News supports the Trans Writers Union boycott of The Irish Times, and Kennedy severed the student paper’s almost decade-long commercial partnership with the company.

“They have made the decision to make their opinion pages near-exclusively hostile to Trans rights. Hence our decision,” Kennedy went on to say, adding “I don’t think we’d feel comfortable financially supporting or directing students to the kind of coverage they’re engaging in.”

The move from the student journalists was met with praise online and student unions for Dublin City University, University College Dublin, NUI Galway and the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology have all followed their lead in joining the boycott.

Additionally, a number of writers, performers and producers from the Dublin Fringe Festival have also gotten on board, announcing that they will not welcome press from The Irish Times to review their shows, pledging solidarity to the boycott.

Louise Bruton, who has a longstanding professional relationship with The Irish Times, has also announced that she will no longer be contributing to the publication until these issues are rectified.

The boycott has been going for almost three months now and a spokesperson for the Trans Writers Union said that they are “both pleased and disappointed in how the boycott has progressed so far”, as reported by LADbible.

“Pleased in that we have had incredibly meaningful and practical support from areas we did not anticipate, such as the student unions and Fringe performers, and this has already determined a more positive, reinforced course of action for future organising.”

The spokesperson went on to say, “We are disappointed because we have not received this same support from the industry in which we work, the writing industry. This may be a reason as to why the boycott is not getting adequate coverage”, adding “A boycott of a national paper should be acknowledged.”

As of yet, The Irish Times has not directly issued comments. If you wish to support the Trans Writers Union, you can sign their petition and pledge to join the boycott here.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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