London: NUJ to host debate on homophobia and transphobia in the media

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The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is hosting a debate on homophobia and transphobia in the media, later this month.

It will take place on Tuesday 16 April at 6.30pm inside the NUJ’s head office on Gray’s Inn Road in the London Borough of Camden.

A slideshow, 30 Years of LGBT Protest and Dissent, by NUJ photographers who have documented LGBT rights protests and demonstrations will be shown on the night as well.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet, and Helen Belcher of Trans Media Watch will be on the panel.

The debate, which is being organised by NUJ Pride, comes at a very appropriate time.

More than 200,000 people signed a petition last month calling on the Daily Mail to sack columnist Richard Littlejohn. It was as a result of him writing an offensive article about a transgender teacher in December 2012, who then died in March.  

Meanwhile in January, the editor of the Observer newspaper was forced to apologise after publishing a transphobic article by Julie Burchill.

The columnist wrote the article in defence of her friend and fellow writer Suzanne Moore – who had also caused offence in the trans community with some of her remarks in an article that was published first in the New Statesman and then in the Guardian.

In all of the cases, the Press Complaints Commission ruled that the articles did not breach the Editors’ Code.

According to the 2012 Trans Mental Health Study, 51% of respondents reported the way that trans people were represented in the media had a negative effect on their emotional wellbeing.

Only 4% felt it had a positive impact.