TCS signs statement against transphobia in the media

Image credit: James Cridland

The Cambridge Student has this week signed a statement agreeing to “work with the trans* community and CUSU LGBT+” to attempt to combat the “misinformation and falsehoods about trans* people currently being spread by the media [which] goes against the fundamental principles of journalism.”

Acknowledging that TCS has “not always been blameless in this matter”, the editors of University of Cambridge’s only weekly student newspaper have committed to providing “fair and accurate reporting of stories involving transgender people” and “allowing the transgender community to comment upon the issues that affect them.”

The statement, which has also been signed by Varsity, notes: “Transphobia remains a large problem in our society, unjustly limiting the lives and happiness of many people. The media often plays a key role in perpetuating this hate and misunderstanding, dominating the public’s discourse about transgender identities.

“We are saddened that, despite the advances in understanding and acceptance in society, a large portion of trans* representation in the media continues to be negative and focused around sensationalist stereotypes. We believe that this state of affairs, which has lead to 51 per cent of trans* people feeling that their represention in the media had a negative effect on their emotional wellbeing, is deplorable and should have no place in our society.”

This final statistic comes from section 4.16 of the ‘Trans Mental Health and Wellbeing Study 2012’ carried out by the Scottish Transgender Alliance. One participant told this study, “Tabloid stories about trans* people are often exploitative, invasive of privacy, inaccurate, irrelevant or intended to drum up transphobia in their readers, often successfully as revealed in the comments on stories.”

Sarah Gibson, trans* rep for CUSU LGBT+, told TCS: “CUSU LGBT+ is delighted that our student newspapers are taking a stand against transphobia. The way that our country’s press treats trans* people is terrible, frequently portraying them as sensationalist caricatures and misleading the public with slurs and half-truths. We hope that the next generation of journalists will see this behaviour as completely unacceptable and that they will help create a culture of understanding and respect for all within our press.”

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