Tuesday 21 February 2012

Bad Journalism

Today's Metro carries a badly-written story about a young trans-girl -- one of the youngest patients to be diagnosed with GID by the NHS. Not, as they called her, "a boy living as a girl": It even says in the article that she prefers to be called a girl, yet they still managed to deny her even that courtesy.

We explained to the other kids at the school that [still using boy name]'s body was that of a boy but in his brain he was a girl. We said _____ was just happier being a girl than a boy. But the other kids haven't batted an eyelid.

Well, that's good at least. Primary-school age kids are still learning about the world, and seeing someone who does not fit the stereotypical gender binary model can only be a good thing for them. But anyone who consistently uses the wrong pronouns is part of the problem, not part of the solution. And revealing the child's name (unconfirmed reports suggest that another paper has revealed her location) is potentially exposing her and her family to trouble.

This could, and should, all have been done so much better. The article in the Metro as it stands is just fodder for transphobes and misogynists (someone out there is going to take from it the message that Dora the Explorer turns healthy young boys into disgusting perverts and it's all the fault of uppity women not knowing their place). In fact, in some ways, it might have been better for it to be a full-on, frothing-at-the-mouth anti-trans rant; because at least them there would have been something immediately, obviously wrong with it that reasonable people could have latched onto.

Come on, journalists. You can do better than this. Please try to remember that there are human beings behind stories, and afford them the dignity that they deserve.

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