British newspaper bosses hit back at claims they are ‘fuelling anti-transgender moral panic’

UK newspaper editors have defended themselves from criticism after a surge in negative coverage of transgender issues led to accusations of inciting “moral panic.”

Representatives of The Sun, The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph and Metro all appeared before Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee’s hate crime inquiry on Tuesday to answer concerns that the media has fuelled hostile sentiment towards minority groups.

Labour MP Stephen Doughty used the opportunity to challenge newspaper bosses over a spike in of negative stories about transgender people.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband recently warned about a “moral panic” on transgender issues in the British press – after months of negative stories and columns relating to transgender people.

Echoing the concerns, Doughty said: “There appears to me to be a concerted effort by certain publications at the moment to promote some extremely unpleasant transgender hate material.”

Labour MP Stephen Doughty

Doughty continued: “There’s the Daily Mail [November] 2017 headline, ‘Church: let little boys wear tiaras,’ and The Sun in November with: ‘Now kids, it’s Alice in Transgenderland,’ ‘The skirt on the drag queen goes swish, swish, swish’ and ‘Trans classes for kids aged 2’ on the front page.

“Very recently, in March 2018, there was ‘Tran and wife.’ You’ll recall the horror of the couple involved. I thought it was absolutely disgusting, quite frankly.

“In the Express, there was Leo McKinstry talking about transgender people tightening their ‘demented grip on our society,’ ‘the growing pattern of transgender madness’ and ‘making a mockery of biological science.'”

Doughty added: “I have been very disappointed, particularly with the Telegraph and The Times, to see both publications jumping on the anti-trans bandwagon. There have been an increasing number of stories focusing on the issues around the trans community in The Times that seem to have been given particular prominence in recent months.

The Times opinion piece in November 2017 had the headline, ‘Children sacrificed to appease trans lobby.’ You will understand why that is a particular concern, given the previous use of ‘gay lobby,’ ‘Jewish lobby’ and all of those sorts of things.

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