A photo of some books on some bookshelves to represent The Bookseller for promoting anti-trans social media accounts
A photo of some books on some bookshelves to represent The Bookseller for promoting anti-trans social media accounts

The Bookseller is a magazine focusing on the publishing sector. Owned by The Stage Media Company Ltd, it serves as the only paper magazine reporting on UK publishing. Industry professionals are slamming The Bookseller for promoting anti-trans social media accounts via its website

In an article headlined “Publishing network launches for those ‘concerned about the impact of gender ideology'” originally bylined by Lauren Brown; The Bookseller writes exactly 9 sentences about the emergence of two “SEENPublishing” social media accounts.

That’s the whole story. The Bookseller does not provide any information on who runs the account, who supports the account, what the account’s purpose is, nor anything else. There is no actual news in this article because the mere existence/creation of a social media account is not news.

For the uninitiated; “SEEN” stands for “just some loser bigots trying to ideologically capture institutions”. They are just transphobes trying to organise and make more transphobia happen. They are not major or serious organisations, they are usually just Whatsapp groups.

At time of writing the post on Twitter advertising this article has over 600 quote responses and 300 comments. The vast majority of which express a deep disgust with The Bookseller for promoting anti-trans social media accounts.

This includes hundreds of industry professionals including; Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley, Kat Brown, Dr Fern Riddell, Marie Le Conte, Professor Pragya Agarwal, Lucy Irvine, Margaret McDonald, David Andress, Lydia Silver, and countless others.

Some publishing organisations also spoke up in an official capacity including; SRL publishing, Tramp Press, Farshore Books and Electric Monkey, UCLan Publishing, and Headwater Literary Management via founder Laura Zats.

Numerous transgender industry professionals also spoke up to express their disgust and disappointment with The Bookseller for promoting anti-trans social media accounts including; Andrew Joseph White, Leanne Egan and Jamie Windust.

Suffice to say the industry was absolutely not happy with The Bookseller for promoting anti-trans social media accounts. I reached out to The Bookseller for comment on this, initially via Twitter tagging in the author of the article Lauren Brown.

Subsequently the byline of the article was removed and replaced with “The Bookseller Editorial Team”. I also noticed that Lauren Brown had used Twitter’s “leave this conversation” feature to ‘untag’ herself from my tweet asking her why she chose to write this piece.

Knowing that she had in fact seen my tweet and deliberately chose to ignore it, I tried again. Eventually I was blocked by Lauren for having asked her about the article she chose to write and publish in her own name.

I decided to then try emailing a deputy news editor of The Bookseller, Heloise Wood – who I also tagged on Twitter with a screenshot of my email. I received no response either via email or Twitter until I noticed a new follower; Heloise Wood.

It seems she accidentally followed me while looking at my profile. Again confirming she has indeed seen and chosen to ignore my request for comment regarding an article she is responsible for as part of “The Bookseller Editorial Team”.

I have been completely unable to receive any kind of comment regarding why The Bookseller chose to promote anti-trans social media accounts, during Pride month no less. The deliberate nature of which leads me to only one conclusion.

They know they did wrong. They probably knew they did wrong before they pressed publish. But they also knew it would be a whole lot of easy views as both anti-trans and trans inclusive people alike click through to see what was said. They’re likely banking on trans inclusive people moving on to any of the far more pressing issues quickly and all of this blowing over.

Which is exactly why I hope industry professionals don’t let it blow over, and I don’t think it will. I have been speaking with some people connected to The Bookseller who are also disgusted by what they did. Alongside those above who already spoke out; many are taking this opportunity to push for further trans inclusion in publishing.

It really sucks to see a well-respected organisation like The Bookseller participate in such low tier outrage farming, especially when they are too cowardly to then stand by that decision in comment when criticised by the whole industry. But it has been absolutely beautifuly to see the industry stand by trans people and our inclusion in publishing. Kick-ass.

The irony of the fact that the backlash towards The Bookselling for promoting anti-trans social media accounts is far more newsworthy than the existence of those social media accounts could ever hope to achieve.

Yet we all know that The Bookseller is never going to report on this because it involves them either admitting they screwed up or standing by said screw up and receiving even more backlash.

Its like taking a dump in your lunch to stop other people from eating it. All you’ve achieved is making your own lunch inedible or having put yourself in the position where you’re going to have to seriously consider eating shit.

Ps Checkout this review we commissioned by a trans writer for some of Andrew Joseph White’s work! Check out this piece on Harry Nicholas’ work and his Trans Publishing Network. Also check out this piece on a book about Section 28 by Kestral Gaian and also this review Kestral wrote for Abigail Thorn’s The Prince too while you’re at it.

If you’re still not done here’s a review we commissioned on Mithago’s Burn a Building spoken word piece which brought Scroobius Pip out of video production retirement.

Why promote bigots when you could promote all of this beautiful and incredible art instead?