Various outlets expressed horror, and even a sense of growing danger
The past month has seen a significant shift in media coverage of the trans issue, with several major outlets appearing to legitimise a more gender-critical viewpoint.
BBC Sounds released Nolan Investigates: Stonewall, a ten-part series revealing the cultural sway of the LGBTQ+ lobbying group, while the news arm of the same broadcaster published an article addressing lesbian critiques of trans activism. That was before Professor Kathleen Stock’s resignation from Sussex University, which led to a full half-hour interview on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour ahead of her more in-depth interview the same day at UnHerd.
To those on the more gender-critical side, this no doubt will feel like a breakout of common sense in a mainstream media that has hitherto been reluctant to pose difficult questions.
But how has this shift been received among trans activists?
We spent some time reading their reactions in their favourite media outlets, and the answer is: with horror, and even a sense of growing danger.
In an essay called ‘We need to talk about Britain’s transphobia problem’ in The Canary, Jacob Stokoe characterises this trend as part of a sinister growing threat to their own safety:
Describing it as a “growing movement of hate”, Stokoe adds:
Pink News, meanwhile, has been quick to invert the apparent victimisation of Kathleen Stock by her university. The real victims are actually the activists who forced her out, writes Vic Parsons — they now “face harassment and discrimination.”
Specifically, according to Parsons, the discrimination is coming from faculty staff and lecturers, referring to a 2017 Stonewall report in which more than one-third of trans university students say they have experienced negative comments from staff.
An opinion piece published this week by Chrissy Stroop at OpenDemocracy went even further. She writes that, as an American transgender women, she would now feel frightened to visit the UK because of its growing reputation as “TERF Island” (TERF stands for trans exclusionary reactionary feminists).
In it she claims that the BBC’s podcast about Stonewall was more like a conspiracy theory from Alex Jones, and a transparent attempt to make queer people more vulnerable:
The reactions to the past month of stories are totally opposed. Instead of coming closer together, the two sides of this ongoing controversy only seem to be growing further apart.