The organisation points to poor standards of BBC journalistic practice


Trans Media Watch, a charity dedicated to improving media coverage of trans and intersex issues, has called for an investigation into a transphobic article published yesterday by the BBC. Claiming that lesbians are being pressured into sex by “some trans women”, the report has been condemned in a statement released by the organisation.

The BBC article stirred up intense transphobic vitriol online. DIVA publisher Linda Riley rejected its claims, stating: “In all my years publishing DIVA Magazine, the leading and longest running magazine for LGBTQI women, I have never heard from a lesbian who says she has been pressurised into having sex with a trans woman. BBC News is reinforcing myths that are simply not true”.  

Trans Media Watch points to the article’s inaccuracies, citing the poor standard of BBC journalism. “It includes, as a supposed example of trans pressure, a screenshot of a tweet from a concerned person. That tweet is responding to an image that was part of a “false flag” campaign alleging that trans people considered genital preferences to be transphobic”, the organisation states.

Jane Fae, the organisation’s chair, says: “Yet again, the BBC is going after the UK trans community, by focussing on anti-trans claims, in a way they clearly wouldn’t do to other communities. In this instance they have again focussed on a minority that is unlikely to number more than 30,000 in total in the UK. Worse, they appear not to have done even the most basic background checks on their story”.

“We are calling today for a swift and thorough investigation into how this misleading material was published by the BBC and hope for an apology from them for it”, Fae concludes.

A recent report by Trans Media Watch concluded that reporting on trans issues has a negative impact on the wellbeing of trans people. 70% of those surveyed, constituting over 700 people, felt that media reporting impacted their mental health to some extent. These figures have worsened since the last Trans Media Watch survey in 2012.   

Further, Helen Belcher, trustee of Trans Media Watch and chair of trans advocacy organisation TransActual, highlights: “Irresponsible reporting like this is dangerous. It significantly and adversely impacts trans people’s day-to-day lives”.  

If you’d like to find out more about the work of Trans Media Watch, visit their website or follow them on Twitter. If you’d like to make a complaint about the BBC article, you can do so using their online complaints form.


DIVA magazine celebrates 27 years in print in 2021. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

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