- 2016 National LGBT Conference
- 28 July 2016
Over the last 50 years society has made significant progress in adjusting its views on what is deemed to be acceptable when discussing and portraying people from a wide range of minority groups.
Racism, anti Semitism, religious hatred, disability discrimination, homophobia etc are now commonly viewed as unacceptable. In addition to laws enforcing these issues the media have contributed to this shift in attitude and in recent years presenters and programme guests who have publicly made racist remarks have been dismissed.
However where they consistently fall short is in employing celebrities who have outspoken views regarding trans people and whose public comments stir up transphobic abuse.
Germaine Greer is a prominent academic and writer, holding celebrity status within the United Kingdom. She is a very outspoken feminist who has expressed extreme views regarding trans people which are deeply offensive.
Despite this the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) continues to invite her to participate in light entertainment and topical shows, including Room 101, Would I Lie To You and Question Time. Some of these are broadcast for many years after the initial screening through the commercial and digital networks.
The issue isn’t limited to Germaine Greer, there appears to be a general view that to mock or poke fun at trans people is acceptable as they are perceived to be a legitimate target.
Last year the BBC screened a show starring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. The show opened with the greeting of “welcome ladies, gentlemen and transgenders”.
Trans people are not without a sense of humour, or unable to recognise and respect differences of opinion regarding their gender status but mainstream television has not caught up with the fact that transphobia is a real problem for the trans community.
Conference acknowledges the positive work that has been done by the television companies in producing programmes about trans people and their lives but this does not absolve them from their responsibility to ensure their employees and paid celebrities do not behave in a transphobic way.
People in the public eye are role models and the media needs a greater understanding of the negative impact their personal views can have on sections of the community.
Conference calls on the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Committee to:
1. Work with sister organisations like the Gender Identity Research and Education Society and Scottish Transgender Alliance to challenge transphobia in the media;
2. Work with the national executive council to raise awareness of transphobia in the media encouraging people to complain about negative transphobic portrayal in the media to the appropriate watch-dog organisations;
3. Work with Trades Union Congress LGBT on the portrayal of trans people by the media, paying particular attention to transphobic portrayal and to support the important work carried out by Trans Media Watch in combating prejudiced sensationalist and inaccurate depictions of trans people;
4. Campaign for a more positive portrayal of trans people in the media.