In the final days of the Gender Recognition Act consultation, the (UK) Guardian newspaper published a one-sided string of anti-trans pieces culminating in an editorial regurgitating a lot of bigots’ tropes about dangerous predators. The latest criticism of it comes from an unlikely source: most of the US edition’s writers and editors. For journalists to openly criticise their colleagues in such a fashion is incredibly unusual.
The piece, published yesterday, is credited to three writers but is apparently representative of almost all the US editorial team’s opinion. Reporter Sam Levin on Twitter:
The @Guardian published an editorial about trans rights that many @GuardianUS staff felt was transphobic. Nearly all reporters and editors from our US offices wrote to UK editors with our concerns.
Senior reporter Lois Beckett:
Nearly all reporters and editors on @GuardianUS staff wrote our UK editors with concerns about a recent @guardian editorial on trans rights, which we believe promoted transphobic viewpoints.
The article has also been shared approvingly on social media by a number of women journalists, some of whom are Guardian contributors.
It doesn’t pull its punches.
The editorial’s unsubstantiated argument only serves to dehumanize and stigmatize trans people. Numerous academic studies have confirmed that trans-inclusive policies do not endanger cis people. On the contrary, there is overwhelming evidence that trans people, particularly women of color, are victimized at disproportionately high rates and suffer abuse in places of public accommodations. Levels of HIV and depression are at crisis levels, all brought about through extreme prejudice and social and economic marginalization.
…Cis women’s intolerance should not be a legitimate reason for limiting the rights of trans women. The idea that all trans women should be denied civil rights because a trans woman might someday commit a crime is the essence of bigotry and goes against feminist values.
The UK edition has occasionally featured positive trans voices, albeit sparingly: Juliet Jacques’ transition diaries in 2012, for example, or one-off pieces by trans writers such as Shon Faye more recently. But the editorial appears to be the final straw for many of those voices.
It’s a final straw because there’s a difference between having a columnist put forward a point of view and having the newspaper’s leader column do it. The former is “this is what one individual thinks”. The latter, “this is what the newspaper stands for.” By nailing anti-trans colours to its mast, the UK edition has told its trans contributors as well as its trans readers that it doesn’t value them, that it doesn’t respect them, and that it has no interest in speaking for them.
The Guardian likes to quote its former owner and editor, CP Scott. It’s less keen on mentioning that he was on the wrong side of history on several issues, most notably the “misguided fanaticism” of the suffragettes. The Manchester Guardian was on the wrong side then, and the UK edition of The Guardian is on the wrong side now.