Writing in Bella Caledonia, Caitlin Logan describes the current backlash against trans people as evidence of widespread media failure.
In Scotland, the conversation on trans rights started out as distinctly civil in comparison to our counterparts in England. Womenâ€™s organisations stood alongside LGBT campaigners in explaining why trans people can and should be included in their joint efforts for a more equal, safer and socially just Scotland. MSPs from across the political spectrum were photographed with â€˜Equal Recognitionâ€™ campaign signs, demonstrating their support for reforms which seemed a fairly simple extension of progress which had already taken place with limited fanfare.
It was as the public â€“ media-driven â€“ debate in England intensified that the Scottish media began to follow suit.
… the news media has always been driven by competition to be the â€œmost interestingâ€, but I fear that its decline in the digital age has spawned a whole new impetus to shock, to incite debate, and even to anger.
…We are now witnessing, on multiple different issues, the political and personal consequences of a media strategy centred more on generating heat than shedding light, coupled with a disregard for clarifying whether the controversial opinions it platforms are even based in fact.
It’s hard to express just how draining this poison is. Writer and activist Julia Serano is as sick of it as the rest of us are.
We are now living through the biggest anti-#trans backlash since the 1970s. it’s been going on since at least 2016. it’s not just Republicans or evangelicals â€“ it’s coming from numerous fronts. & most cis people seem entirely oblivious to it…
…anyway, my point is, these cis people â€“ often people very close to me â€“ seem surprised that lots of people are still very much anti-trans. because they (the haters) have all since learned to couch their bigotry via buzz words about “biological sex” & “women’s safety”Â and “the science is still out on that” & so on.
The media is not merely a mirror, reflecting society back at itself â€“ it is part of society, and to ignore its own power in shaping the social and political dynamics it reports on is a dereliction of duty which can no longer stand.