Former Mermaids CEO Susie Green blasts UK media for transphobic rhetoric: ‘They don’t care’
Former Mermaids CEO Susie Green has condemned the standards of ethical media reporting on the trans community in the UK, following the “frustrating” ruling over a Sunday Times article about her, and her family.
The 55-year-old trans activist and former chief executive of the pro-LGBTQ+ nonprofit told PinkNews that she believed certain news organisations “don’t really care” about the accuracy and ethics of reporting on trans people.
“A tiny proportion of the population just want to get on and live their lives and they’re constantly being held up to ridicule,” she said.
“It’s abusive, it’s horrible and it’s upsetting and distressing. And I’ve made it really clear that it hurts people.
“They’re just not taking any notice, they don’t really care as long as they can sell newspapers based on a few clickbait stuff, they don’t care.”
Green’s comments come in response to a ruling by the UK’s Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regarding a complaint she filed against The Sunday Times in 2023 accusing it of breaching the Editors’ Code of Practice.
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The Code of Practice is a set of guidelines established and enforced by the Press Standards regulator which aims to maintain a level of accuracy, ethics, and high standards in the UK media space.
Acting on behalf of her daughter, Jackie Green, Susie Green argued that a story run by the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Times, titled “The kid’s gender clinic that became a conveyor belt” had breached several clauses of the code.
IPSO found there had been no breach of its code.
The article, published in February 2023, reported on the closure of the NHS Tavistock and Portman’s Gender and Identity Development Service (GIDS) while accusing Green and Mermaids UK of exerting “undue influence” on the NHS service.
The two are unrelated organisations, although both work with trans people.
It misgendered Green’s daughter, who is a trans woman, on multiple occasions, which she claimed was a breach of the code. Additionally, she argued her daughter had no involvement in Mermaids UK and so was not relevant to the article’s report.
“It has nothing to do with the Tavistock,” she said. “The link was so tenuous. They basically included something about me and then linked it to my daughter for absolutely no reason whatsoever… I read it and I was like, ‘Why on earth?’
“Why on earth have they got a picture of me with my daughter in a newspaper piece that’s reporting about the Tavistock. I appreciate the fact that, you know, I was the CEO of Mermaids, but everybody else who they’ve spoken about within that article, they haven’t delved into their past personal lives.”
Green also argued that her daughter was not a public figure and, as a result, deserves a right to privacy.
In response, The Sunday Times did not accept it had breached the code in its reporting and accused the complainant of choosing to put Jackie’s story in the public domain by “giving widely viewed public talks and numerous interviews naming her,” which Susie Green did not accept.
“They say that because of the volume of stuff she did when she was younger that it means she has no right to privacy, she has no right to a personal life because of things she did when she was 18.
“It’s offensive, it’s unnecessary.”
Ruling gives ‘carte blanche’ for newspapers to misgender
The IPSO ruling found no breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice, arguing that the information about Jackie Green’s gender affirmation surgery was relevant and that misgendering her was “not prejudicial or pejorative.”
“Rather, the pronouns conveyed to readers that Jackie has undergone a gender transition, the use of “he” pronouns reference the sex she was assigned at birth,” it stated.
Susie Green told PinkNews that she believed the ruling has given “carte blanche” for newspapers to continue misgendering trans people and to refer to them as the wrong gender deliberately.
“It’s heartbreaking really,” she said. “Obviously, for myself, I kind of expect it now because I’ve become a target definitely for the media.
“But literally every time they mention me they drag her into it and it’s not fair.”
Green also condemned IPSO for making the ruling in the same week that it published new guidelines on sex and gender identity to create a better understanding on how to ethically report on the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s dishonest of IPSO to come out with a guide when they clearly don’t give a cr*p about trans people’s lives at all. If they did, then they’d have ruled that this was inappropriate, but they didn’t.
“When I went into the complaints process, I knew that there was very little likelihood of me actually getting any kind of result from it. And you see the volume of transphobic articles that are out in the press, and nothing’s ever done about them.”
Trans people used by government to ‘distract’ from UK nightmare
In its ruling, IPSO wrote that it did not consider two articles referencing Mermaids, Green, and her daughter published by The Sunday Times to constitute harassment, saying they only mentioned Jackie Green “in passing.”
But Susie Green argued that the vitriol against trans people by the UK media had resulted in an endless stream of transphobic articles.
“There’s been hundreds [of articles] about trans people in general and, you know, about me and Jackie, there’s been hundreds.
“They constantly misgender her and they constantly reference things from her past. You kind of think, ‘How long does somebody have to be out of the public eye before they can be forgotten?
“We know that trans people are like the government’s dead cat, as it were,” the former Mermaids CEO continued. “It’s the way to try to distract attention from the absolute nightmare that they’ve made of our country.
“The fact is there is so much out there that these people could actually be concentrating on. You could be talking about violence against women, you could be talking about the Me Too movement.
“You just look at it and you go, what on earth is going on? This is what the media are concentrating on. They’re responsible for people dying, frankly, and I really hope at some point these people get a conscience.”
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