Press watchdog rules against ‘misleading’ Sunday Times trans coverage

Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women. Sunday Times Article

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has ruled against a “misleading” article by The Sunday Times that suggested trans people were not free to use public toilets aligned with their gender identity.

The article “Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women,” published on July 29 2018, attracted complaints for its coverage of a City of London consultation on a transgender-inclusive policy.

As PinkNews reported at the time, the piece incorrectly asserted that the review “could give trans women the ability to use ladies’ public toilets for the first time” and described the plan as a “radical move.”

Edward Lord, chair of the City’s establishment committee, told PinkNews that trans women have long been welcome to use public bathrooms in the City, and their right to do so is enshrined in the Equality Act 2010.

IPSO: Sunday Times ‘had no basis for claim’

The newspaper published a correction on January 6, after independent press watchdog IPSO ruled that the publication “had no basis for this claim” and found “there had been a failure to take care over the accuracy of this information” in breach of the IPSO code.

The IPSO ruling states: “Under the Equality Act, service providers can allow transgender individuals to use the facilities aligned with their gender identity, unless an exception is in force.

“By failing to record the position under the existing legislation, and in the absence of contrary evidence indicating that this Act was not being applied in the City, the article gave rise to a misleading impression that required clarification.”

Sunday Times journalist Andrew Gilligan

Sunday Times journalist Andrew Gilligan (Scott Barbour/Getty)

The Sunday Times appears to have removed the online copy of the article.

A correction states: “Our report “Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women” (News, July 29) was misleading because it did not accurately explain the current rights of transgender women under the Equality Act.

“Service providers can allow transgender people to use single-sex spaces such as toilets but can exclude them if this can be justified as a proportionate way to achieve a legitimate aim.”

The original article was penned by Andrew Gilligan, who has attracted criticism from LGBT+ campaigners previously for his critical coverage of trans issues.

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