This is painful. Aside from The Guardian newspaper being one of the few independent and largely reliable news sources available, it is also a newspaper I’ve been reading since I was a kid. Over the years, as I’ve travelled round the world I would by The Guardian Weekly to catch up on UK news and later would subscribe to the newspaper electronically.
The backlash against recognising the basic human rights of transgender people has taken many forms. It is no surprise to find right wing extremists demonising and dehumanising people because of their gender but the anti-trans element of the centre & left has also been vocal, particularly in the UK. In the process supposedly progressive voices have adopted far-right rhetoric and modes of argument to push positions that will make life as difficult as possible for transgender and gender non-conforming people.
The Guardian and it’s Sunday equivalent The Observer appears to have had a degree of internal conflict over the past few years. Opinion pieces pushing alarmist arguments on the topic of people transitioning or transgender people in sport have been frequent. However, the agenda against transgender people has extended into news articles.
Consider this article:
Politicised trans groups put children at risk, says expert:Counsellors and other mental health providers fear being labelled transphobic.https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/27/trans-lobby-pressure-pushing-young-people-to-transition
School counsellors and mental health service providers are bowing to pressures from ‘highly politicised’ transgender groups to affirm children’s beliefs that they were born the wrong sex, a leading expert has warned.
Once you get into the article it becomes clear that what is being cited is the opinion of just one person. However, the structure of the headline and the piece is designed to create the impression that these are all likely events corroborated by an ‘expert’ as opposed to this being an inflammatory opinion by a guy with an beef against his ex-employer. More pertinently nowhere in the article is any space given to anybody to refute these claims. Specifically no spokesperson for any “trans groups” is asked for comment, no school counsellor or mental health service provider who doesn’t think they are “bowing to pressure” is asked.
The article breaches multiple aspects of The Guardian’s own code of conduct (https://www.scribd.com/document/273521476/Editorial-Guidelines#fullscreen&from_embed ) most obviously Article 2 of the Editors Code “Right to Reply”.
The hostility to transgender people within The Guardian has also become clear with at least two people having resigned because of a culture of intimidation: https://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/two-transgender-employees-quit-guardian-transphobia
This shouldn’t be hard. It really shouldn’t. I understand that shifting attitudes and just simply paying attention to the issues is something that many progressive cisgender people have had to work through — I know I have had to dump a whole pile of toxic ideas and casual assumptions. However, there’s some basic touchstones of human decency that should set off alarm bells for anybody who regards themselves as not just progressive but basically a decent human being: if you words and attitudes and opinions are DIRECTLY HURTING PEOPLE then you have a moral obligation to STOP and reconsider.