Complaint to the BBC about Caroline Lowbridge and Stephen Nolan’s transphobic ‘journalism’

I’m sure most readers will have seen some of the recent transphobia, now emanating from the BBC, as well as the rest of mainstream British journalism. So I made a complaint to the BBC, making sure to reference the appropriate BBC Guidelines. (It’s a lot of them.)

You can complain here.

I am very concerned by recent reporting that fails to meet basic standards of journalistic accuracy or impartiality.

Caroline Lowbridge’s article is a combination of bias, inaccuracy, hate speech, the repetition of unchallenged bigotry: unsubstantiated claims that trans women are regularly pressurising lesbians into sex — being made by a serial rapist. Similarly, Stephen Nolan’s podcast series “investigating” Stonewall is full of inaccurate claims, bias and unchallenged hate.

The article is founded upon 80 respondents to a Twitter survey from a hate group, statistically inaccurate and biased beyond redemption, in violation of BBC Guidelines 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.8, 3.3.9, 3.3.11, 3.3.12, 10.3.21, 10.3.30, 10.3.31, 10.3.44 and 10.3.46. The article is likewise full of inaccurate and damaging stereotypes from hate groups such as the LGB Alliance, without balance from trans voices or the majority of trans-supporting cis (non-trans) LGB people, failing Guidelines 4.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.3, 4.3.6, 4.3.7, 4.3.9, 4.3.10, 4.3.12, 4.3.14, 4.3.19 and 4.3.29; Mr Nolan’s podcast series breaches most of these same Guidelines, plus 4.3.11, 4.3.18 and 4.3.30. Both publications clearly also fall foul of Guidelines 5.3.32, 5.3.38, 5.3.39 and 8.3.3, as well as 8.3.10 in the case of Ms Lowbridge’s piece.

Given the UK media is currently overwhelmed with inaccurate and harmful reporting about trans people — as described at the Council of Europe by Foura ben Chikha’s September report and Dunja Mijatović’s comments to committee in May, as well as news coverage abroad — BBC editors should be especially sensitive to uncritically repeating anti-trans rhetoric — both in Ms Lowbridge’s article and Steven Nolan’s recent podcast where so little research was done that Nolan admits he knew neither the word “cis” nor the origin for Stonewall’s name.

The BBC has a responsibility for impartial, unbiased coverage that does not harm minority communities. These pieces should urgently be withdrawn with apology.

The header image is 2018.05.19 Capital TransPride, Washington, DC USA 00483 by Ted Eytan, licensed Creative Commons 2·0 Attribution Share-Alike, via Wikimedia Commons.

As with all my writing, this letter’s text is dedicated to the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Zero licence. Please feel free to translate, copy, excerpt, share, disseminate and otherwise spread it far and wide. You don’t need to ask me, you don’t need to tell me. Just do it!

 by the author.

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Owen Blacker

Owen Blacker

🇪🇺🏳️‍🌈🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿♿⧖ Mainly-gay, mainly-Welsh political geek; proud social justice warrior+trans ally. @WikiLGBT, @OpenRightsGroup, ex- @mySociety. he/him