Today (13 November), two of the major right-wing papers have decided to put stories about gender identity and school children on the front page.
The Sun led with the headline, “The skirt on the drag queen goes swish, swish, swish,” in reference to classes at some nurseries being given by drag queens.
Meanwhile, The Mail decided that new advice given to Church of England schools was worthy of outcry. “Boys as young as five should be able to wear tiaras at school without criticism,” they wrote. There’s no mention of encouragement; the guidelines simply encourage creativity and exploration.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, explained the new guidelines: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.”
The advice given to schools can be found below:
The Church of England advice is sensible and uncontroversial (barely even newsworthy): children should be allowed freedom to play. Move on. pic.twitter.com/IC3evqIYlv— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) November 13, 2017
This comes just a few days after a misinformed and transphobic column was published by The Times.
I'm not even going to justify an article like this with much of a comment. It is dangerous, fearmongering, and vile "journalism". Wake up. https://t.co/OREO6H3AML— Travis (@travisalabanza) November 11, 2017
Unsurprisingly, Twitter was outraged. Various trans writers have expressed outrage, as well as offering support and advice to trans children and their parents.
Oh for sobbing out loud. Get a fucking grip. What next? PANTOMIMES: BAN THIS SICK TRANS FILTH. https://t.co/2fGfk15fXZ— Juno Dawson (@junodawson) November 12, 2017
I was bullied violently at school. Like many LGBT kids, home wasn't always much better. But being anti-bullying is apparently now part of some evil trans agenda – according to 'news' papers that fail to even report on suicide stats for trans youth. Disgraceful. #AntiBullyingWeek pic.twitter.com/mMZMy9P3ea— Paris Lees (@parislees) November 13, 2017
Other prominent LGBTQ+ individuals also offered support, including the lovely Joe Lycett and the wonderful Olly Alexander.
the shitty U.K press continue to target and harass trans people, spreading lies and misunderstanding and misplaced fear. How would U feel if ur very existence was “debated” and exploited to cause a “moral panic”? We need 2 support our trans siblings and call out this bullshit— olly ✨ (@alexander_olly) November 13, 2017
Reminder to any trans folk feeling targeted right now: there are many, many reasonable people who don't think you are mentally ill, or a fad, or a threat to children. We're with you. #TransRightsAreHumanRights— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) November 13, 2017
This transphobia cannot be tolerated. Young trans and queer people already face many challenges on a daily basis. Inciting unnecessary hatred is damaging and dangerous.
We need to stand with the trans members of our community; if you’re uncertain what to do or say, giving a platform to trans people is a step in the right direction. Read and share the work of trans writers, instead of the incendiary, right-wing media.
You can also report the above articles to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the independent regulators of newspapers and magazines in the UK. The complaints page can be found here.