Activists from Manchester Trans Rise UP protested last Saturday in Salford’s Media City to speak out against the BBC’s handling of trans-related articles.
Phoebe, head of Manchester Trans Rise Up, said: “We are members of the trans community and we are here because the BBC has been publishing, for about a year now at least, institutional transphobia.
“ Most recently they published an extremely hateful article based mostly on evidence that they gathered from a hate group that says all trans women rape women, and in doing so softened a lot of the message of the original hate group, so they have effectively laundered the hate group’s propaganda into a public broadcast.”
The BBC article “We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women” featured research from the group ‘Get the L out’ which members of the trans community deem as “transphobic” and “biased”, and a statement by Lily Cade; someone who admitted to partaking in sexual assault.
The activist held another protest back in October, just after the article was released, and from the lack of action from the BBC, they came to protest again in the windy and cold weather.
Phoebe said: “We want the BBC to engage in accountability… to start investigating why they are institutionally transphobic, and to understand how bad things have gotten, and we want them to apologize to the trans community and to lesbians.”
The article although heavily edited to the time of this publication still created distress among the Trans community, with known charity ‘Mermaids’ standing with the trans journalist who may face “hostile” and “transphobic” environment.
She said: “All I want to say is that the BBC has another thing coming if they think this is going away, this is not going away, this problem has been a long time in the making, so see you in a few weeks.”
Lisa Severns, a trans activist on the protest said: “I am here protesting against the BBC, systemic institutionalized transphobia, discrimination, and the always platforming of anti-trans voices.
“There is just never any representation for trans people on the BBC when we speak up, and the articles when they accuse trans people of sexual crimes its disgusting.
“How dare they? I’m 50 years old I never thought I stood here protesting because the BBC is ignorant.”
A survey conducted by group TransActual and containing 700 different members of the trans community revealed that 85% of surveyors felt that transphobic rhetoric in the media has impacted how people in their family treat them.
A non-binary speaker in the protest said: “The problem is that we don’t trust the BBC on issues around trans people, I think a lot of trans people don’t.
“We are talking about a situation where trans people are warning each other not to speak to the BBC because we fully expect to be monsters, we expect the BBC to misrepresent us, we expect the BBC to misunderstand us, we expect the BBC to make factual errors: harm us.
“We expect this, I expect this.”
The protesters and the trans community want change from the BBC and other media organizations
Until a statement is issued, groups like Manchester Trans Rise Up say they will keep protesting.