• Fri. May 24th, 2024

Transphobia and the media

ByLucy Jackson

Feb 23, 2023
A sign reading "Brianna Ghey, rest in power" outside Teviot Row House

Transphobia has never been so rife, and the blame lies with the media. The way our media treats trans people – in broadsheet, on ‘debate’ shows, on social media – reflects how deeply rooted transphobia is in everything we consume.

These attack lines aren’t simply being ‘conjured up’ by the media. They stem from a handful of organisations and individuals – who I will not name, as I’m sure they would love to sue our student publication out of existence – who have somehow managed to assume a position of legitimacy, and who are now prevalent in our headlines and our politics.

I can’t believe I even have to say this, but the right of trans people to exist is not political, and we shouldn’t be engaging in political debate about whether or not trans people deserve to exist – let’s be very clear on that.

Today’s media is a cesspit of vitriol and hatred towards trans people, and for what?

I have read so much bile over the past few months. The vast majority of headlines aren’t worth repeating, because quite frankly they’re peddling absolute bollocks. Much of the rhetoric is an echo of the discourse around Section 28 – the belief that trans people are trying to ‘trans’ kids, that trans people are therefore groomers, that they’re predatory and a risk to society. This is exactly what the media of the 1980s was trying to say about gay people.

Fast-forward to today, and the gender critical movement is trying everything it possibly can – making the most absurd and abhorrent reaches – to vilify trans people. I’ve seen multiple prominent individuals state that being transgender is an act of conversion therapy against gay people; that transgender people are actually just gay, and that to encourage a transgender person to transition is an act of homophobia.

First of all – what the actual fuck?

Secondly, this isn’t just being said, it’s being believed. This is just one of the many ‘arguments’ being put forward by the gender critical movement. Look where it’s gotten us. A teenage girl is dead.

Brianna Ghey was brutally murdered by two fifteen-year-olds. Children don’t just decide to pick up a knife and stab someone. Their motivation stems entirely from the narrative they have consumed in the media. There is no need for speculation; today’s media is a cesspit of vitriol and hatred towards trans people, and for what?

When we say there is blood on people’s hands, this is what we mean. Brianna Ghey was sixteen years old.

I attended the vigil at Bristo Square last Friday. Two sixteen-year-olds from Edinburgh spoke to a crowd of hundreds about their experience of being trans, the fact they were the same age as Brianna, and how scared they were for the future.

This shouldn’t have to happen. We have collectively failed as a society to protect trans people. It is costing lives.

All media outlets, including The Student, have a responsibility to speak out against this vile outpouring of transphobia. It is on us to make sure that we advocate and platform trans voices. It is on us to ensure that trans voices can and always will be heard.

Image by Lucy Jackson

By Lucy Jackson

President of The Student.