A tweet in which the BBC apologises to transphobes for not being transphobic enough has attracted widespread criticism; “you should be better than this”.
The specific tweet is from the BBC Woman’s Hour account. It is a follow up tweet adding more information to a story they covered earlier, in which the finalists for the ‘Brain of Britain’ award are celebrated for all being women.
The follow up tweet reads as follows; The BBC has confirmed the following: “We can clarify that Brain of Britain’s list of women finalists included a trans woman, a detail which was not made available to the Woman’s Hour team when they covered the story.”
The BBC has confirmed the following:
"We can clarify that Brain of Britain's list of women finalists included a trans woman, a detail which was not made available to the Woman's Hour team when they covered the story." https://t.co/2puvULsp77
— BBC Woman's Hour (@BBCWomansHour) November 23, 2022
It follows after the BBC received a rather substantial dogpiling from anti-trans activists for having not declared one of the finalists is transgender. Something they have absolutely no right to demand to know. In this light its hard not to read this as the BBC apologises to transphobes for not being transphobic enough.
Criticism has come swiftly with almost 2,000 responses at time of writing. Twitter users such as Georgia Tennant (you may know her as Jenny from Doctor Who!) have quote tweeted the tweet where the BBC apologises to transphobes and lodged their criticism. Tennant writes; you should be better than this.
You should be better than this @BBCWomansHour. https://t.co/pdzDkxbclq
— Georgia Tennant (@georgiaEtennant) November 24, 2022
She’s right. The BBC should be better than this and transgender people shouldn’t still be fighting for the right to basic privacy, not least since we already took the UK Government to court for this once; and won!
Christine Goodwin’s case didn’t just help to force the government to create the Gender Recognition Act, 2004. Her case was successfully won on the basis of privacy in which the court agreed that someone’s transgender status is no-one’s business but their own. That means you don’t just get to demand our national broadcaster help to out someone and that the BBC could find itself in hot water over this behaviour.
Instead we have a tweet in which the BBC apologises to transphobes for not outing this transgender woman sooner – seemingly because they didn’t know until after the fact. I imagine that if they did know they simply would not have covered the story at all, as much like most of the UK media – positive stories including trans people just don’t get picked up.
As a result of the BBC’s behaviour I have made precisely two comments on the tweets and have already received pictures of the trans woman as a response. The tweets are sarcastic suggesting that they already knew she was trans before the BBC helped to out her – which is a) not the point and b) just misogynist and transphobic harassment, enabled by the BBC.
The point is that the BBC has absolutely no right to say someone is or isn’t transgender – especially not as a means of apology to bigots who feel entitled to that information about everyone. Such as the time they referred to Joanne Harris’ son as “undeclared transgender offspring” when they attempted and failed to unseat her as chair of Society of Authors.
The tweet in which the BBC apologises to transphobes comes in the same week that the BBC also falsely referred to a transphobic letter sent by a UN worker as a “UN report”. The letter appears to misunderstand the UK legal system and talks about right being linked to birth certificates – which is simply not how any of that works. BBC Scotland promoted this propaganda specifically because it targets transgender people.
It also comes amidst the UK trans community still waiting for apology from the BBC for its other numerous anti-trans actions. Including the time they used an alleged perpetrator of sexual violence, who later went on to write a violent anti-trans rant in which she named trans people she wanted to “lynch”; to shore up an article accusing trans women of pressuring cis lesbians into sex.
The BBC is a deeply sick institution, rotten to the core with transphobia – amongst other bigotries. Even I didn’t expect to see them apologising to transphobes for not being transphobic enough though, what a disgusting new low they have sank to.