Don’t Buy Transphobia is a campaign for anyone who thinks ‘enough is enough’ about the way the transgender community are treated by the national press.
For many people that point came last week with the sad death of Lucy Meadows, a primary school teacher in Accrington, who was hounded by the local and national press.
Their interest in her was soley for being transgendered. Admittedly she was a teacher doing something not all teachers do, she was transitioning but her school were supportive and mostly she was just getting on with her life. It’s not really national news is it?
But the national press thought it was.
They thought it was such important news that they hounded her, opinion formers like Richard Littlejohn at the Mail poured vitriol on her life, and the press pack sat outside her house and hassled parents for comment… but only negative comment. They weren’t interested in someone just getting on with their life, or the fact she was a well liked, good and respected teacher.
So last week Lucy died.
And made the news for the second time in three months.
Again, teacher dies in Accrington isn’t national news is it?
But almost every national paper reported it and most of them in an appalling fashion – with pictures from her pre-transition life, her old name and even the wrong pronouns were used.
A woman called Lucy had died and they couldn’t even show her respect at that point.
Thats the point where a lot of people sat up and took notice, people for whom transphobia is just another political buzz word. People saw that someone who had already suffered badly at the hands of the press such a short time ago was still being treated appallingly even in death.
I wanted to do something not to wreak revenge on a solitary columnist but something that would help change a culture of reporting and I came up with ‘Don’t Buy Transphobia’ based on the same idea that was used a couple of years ago when Jan Moir (also in the Mail) wrote a horrendously homophobic piece after the death of Stephen Gately.
The campaign is focused on the Mail (not only for the bigoted calibre of its columnists) but becuase the Mail publishes more trans focused stories than any other paper – possibly in the world. Not all the stories are totally negative but the sheer number suggest they see trans people as the modern equivalent of a freak show. A group of people to be pointed and laughed at. If we can put pressure on the Mail to change its reporting culture that will be a huge step to the press in general having to do the same. I can’t believe that the ‘middle England’ who are its readership were not shocked by the death of a young teacher monstered by the press. The shock and outrage the ‘enough is enough’ hasn’t just been in the politicised pockets of the blogesphere and twitter… its been everywhere on the internet and most importantly out on the streets.
The idea is that pressure is put on those companies who spend money advertising with the Mail, both online and in print. Have they as a company REALLY thought about where their advertising is being placed? Do they really want to be linked to a paper still deep enough in the dark ages to point and laugh at a group of people for being ‘different’?
In turn those companies hopefully put pressure on the Mail by telling them their customers aren’t happy with where they advertise… who they are associated with. Ultimitely they stop advertising with the Mail and the Mail loses money, which when all else fails is often all businesses will listen to. In this case I’d say all else has failed as all this is happening post Leveson, the PCC is generally seen as toothless and organisations working within and on behalf of the transgendered community have worked hard for years… but the Mail still maintains its obsession with all things trans.
If companies are happy supporting the Mail, we are not happy shopping with them or buying their products – simple.
We don’t buy transphobia.