There were two newsworthy trans-related stories in the last 24 hours. In one, a YouGov poll reported that most people, especially women, are in favour of gender recognition reform. This is quite important, given that Liz Truss is expected to announce her plans to kill gender recognition reform later this month.
In the other, the BBC has suggested to its staff that, if they want to, it might be quite nice if they included their pronouns in their email signatures. But, y’know, it’s okay if you don’t want to!
Only one of them made it into the newspapers*. You’ll never guess which one.
The Times even ran a damning editorial about the BBC’s “well-intentioned but mistaken” policy, and the Mail published a rewrite so it could get its army of simpletons to talk about the P.C. Gone Mad Biased Broadcasting Corporation.
Meanwhile PinkNews, which commissioned the poll in the first story, tried and failed to get any newspaper to run it. “It doesn’t fit the narrative,” they were told.
I didn’t realise The Times had also written an editorial when someone asked me this morning what I thought of the pronoun story. But the fact that it did just proves the point I made in my reply:
On the face of it itâ€™s a nice gesture by the BBC, not just for trans and non-binary people but for anybody whose name doesnâ€™t necessarily indicate their gender or whose name is from a different part of the world. Ten years from now itâ€™ll be the norm because itâ€™s simple politeness that doesnâ€™t harm anybody.
But as a news story itâ€™s a distraction, and itâ€™s probably not a coincidence this is in the Times. It has the potential to combine two of The Times’ favourite themes: “The BBC Has Gone Mad”, and “These Days, If You Say You Want To Stab Trans People Theyâ€™ll Arrest You And Put You In Jail.”
This is an example of what I blogged about earlier: the deliberate focus on non-stories and culture war bullshit.
As far as the BBC goes, I’d much rather it stopped giving uncritical coverage of anti-trans misinformation and scaremongering; when some programmes appear to have a very anti-trans agenda, knowing the producer’s pronouns is rather like the fire brigade sending you a “sorry your house is on fire” card instead of a fire engine.
I don’t care what Huw Edwards signs off his emails with.
I care very much that people with no expertise are allowed to present themselves as experts about people they know nothing of and in some cases are clearly prejudiced against.
And I care very much that multiple national newspapers won’t run stories about trans people if those stories conflict with the “narrative” they push in their pages.
* Update, 14 July: The Independent ran the story yesterday, so clearly some newspapers consider it newsworthy. Just not the ones with an agenda.Â