MPs and LGBT campaigners call out ‘relentless’ media hostility towards trans people

Lords, MPs, and leading LGBT+ campaigners have signed an open letter condemning anti-trans media coverage in the UK, saying hostility has led to a “significant decline in the mental health of many trans people.”

The letter is signed by MPs including Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader, and ex-shadow secretary for women and equalities, Sarah Champion. It demands that British media revise their coverage of trans issues.

The document, published by PinkNews in full below, calls on the media to look at the detrimental impact anti-trans coverage has on the mental health of trans people, urging publications to apologise for the psychological damage caused over the past year.

Other people among the 41 signatories are Lib Dem peer Liz Barker, Labour peer Lord Cashman and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

It’s also backed by Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids UK, Jay Stewart, founder of Gendered Intelligence, Christine Burns, author of Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows, and trans campaigners and non-binary film makers Owl and Fox Fisher.

The open letter was organised by Helen Belcher, chair of the LGBT Consortium and co-founder of Trans Media Watch.

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The public consultation for the government’s planned review of the Gender Recognition Act closes on October 19. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Belcher told PinkNews: “We have just had a relentless series of scare stories around trans people…that narrative largely goes unchallenged.”

“I wanted to show that there are people in influential positions who didn’t share that view.”

Belcher continued: “For my own mental health, I felt as though I needed to do something.

“It was something to do, which I thought would benefit myself, benefit trans people at large, and actually would benefit the media and society to get a few facts out rather than all this fear-mongering.”

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