Columnist Janice Turner wins award, sparking controversy about trans rights

Times columnist Janice Turner won the Comment Journalism award on December 10.

Openly gay MP Stephen Doughty has criticised the choice of awarding a journalism award to columnist Janice Turner in virtue of her role in “whipping up inflammatory prejudice against transgender people.”

British Journalism Awards organisers Press Gazette awarded Janice Turner the prize for comment journalism of the year at a ceremony on Monday.

The prize, which considered submissions published between September 2017 and August 2018, rewarded journalists who “brought new ideas and thinking to bear when discussing a matter of public interest.”

Turner, whose work is regularly published in the The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers, has faced criticism from LGBT+ campaigners and the trans community.

In October, trans rights campaigner Helen Belcher quit the Comment Awards’ judging panel following Turner’s nomination in the Commentator of the Year category.

“I find it deeply sad that someone who has whipped up inflammatory prejudice against trans people has been rewarded in this way,” Doughty tells PinkNews.

He added: “Trans people deserve the rights and respect the rest of us enjoy. Debate around these issues can be difficult and sensitive at times and many voices must and should be heard. But the debate must be conducted with respect and care for our fellow human beings as a primary objective, unlike many of her shrill and regrettable comments.”

Janice Turner wrote a piece criticising the “trans lobby”

Doughty previously criticised one of Turner’s pieces during a session of the Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee’s hate crime inquiry in April, in which he condemned the Telegraph and The Times for “jumping on the anti-trans bandwagon.”

The article—published on November 11, 2017 and titled “Children sacrificed to appease trans lobby”—began with an attack against artist, writer and activist Travis Alabanza, whose protest against Topshop’s gender-segregated changing rooms led the retailer to implement a gender-neutral policy.

Turner suggested the change would endanger teenage girls getting changed in spaces where “any man” could walk in, writing: “I’ve been shocked at how the trans lobby, abetted by a cowed LGBT movement and deluded politicians, are prepared to sacrifice the wellbeing of children.”

Labour MP Stephen Doughty

Labour MP Stephen Doughty

Doughty found the depiction of the trans community as a “lobby” particularly troubling.

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