Trans group angry at Stonewall’s nomination of journalist it criticised

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Stonewall has been attacked for honouring a writer who it criticised for using stereotypes about trans people in 2007.

Scottish Sun journalist Bill Leckie is one of five nominees for the gay charity’s annual Journalist of the Year award.

However, he was criticised in a 2007 Stonewall Scotland report for poking fun at a drag queen bingo night.

Mr Leckie wrote: “Eight o’clock on Wednesday and an army of frighteningly ugly women are pouring into a boozer called Prism for bingo night. Or at least from a distance they LOOK like women.”

Stonewall Scotland, which is a subsidiary of Stonewall UK, said that although such writing was “probably intended in a spirit of light heartedness”, it was “prurient” and made fun of trans issues.

The same report did commend Mr Leckie for another article in which he criticised the lack of legal protection for gay people in the US.

In 2008, he criticised the use of taxpayers’ money on treatment for trans prisoners. He could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Two years ago, trans groups protested the Stonewall awards to complain about the nomination of Julie Bindel for the journalist of the year award. They accused her of having “anti-trans opinions” for her articles on gender reassignment surgery.

A protest is planned at next month’s ceremony to call for marriage equality.

Jennie Kermode, of Trans Media Watch, told “Following in the wake of [Stonewall’s] nomination of Julie Bindell last year [sic], it suggests they do not care about trans people at all. It is no excuse for them to say that, as a gay, lesbian and bisexual rights campaigning group, they do not work for trans people.”

Trans writer and activist Jane Fae added: “First it was Julie Bindel. Now it is Bill Leckie. It is truly disappointing that Stonewall, an organisation that grew out of one very particular form of social exclusion, should regularly be so careless of the feelings of the transgendered.”

Laura Doughty, Stonewall’s deputy chief executive, said the charity had “rightly” critiqued Mr Leckie in 2007 but wanted to commend his recent writing.

She said: “Stonewall produces reports with recommendations on how to improve things. Since our Scottish Written Out report in 2007 we’ve worked with journalists and publications – including Bill Leckie and The Sun –to help progress them on issues of LGBT equality.

“Compare Leckie’s writing now to 2007 – his article for The Sun in December 2009 on Gareth Thomas showed a passionate, powerful defence of LGBT equality in sport.

“It’s encouraging to us that journalists and newspapers can be influenced on their journey of progress towards full support of LGBT equality and we wanted to recognise this three years after – quite rightly – critiquing his less helpful writing.”