Monday, 1 November 2010

Girl wins scrabble contest

    Someone described as a transsexual has won a scrabble contest. Sadly she did it wearing a pink wig and pink PVC dress, so the newspapers have picked it up and all seem to be referring to her as "he". The BBC web site gets her gender right, but sadly not their flagship radio news programme.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jennyalto
Date: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 7:23 AM
Subject: Misgendering of transsexuals

Good morning,
   I've just heard a news story being read about someone you describe
as a "transsexual" winning a scrabble contest. The story then went on
to refer to the winner as "he".

Misgendering of transsexuals is not acceptable. It does not matter
whether or not someone presenting as female was born as male, if she
is a transsexual she has transitioned to the female role and is female
so MUST be referred to as "she". Even if she is not transsexual but
transvestite, i.e. a man dressed as a woman, it is still common
courtesy to refer to her as "she".

I expect higher standards from Radio 4, but since your journalists
seem to lack experience in this matter might I suggest the following
rule of thumb? If the person identifies as female or is presenting as
female, refer to her as "She". If the person identifies as male or is
presenting as male, refer to him as "he". It is not difficult and to
do otherwise is extremely insulting and offensive.



  1. Mikki's style may not be exactly street wear, but if a genetic girl wore that outfit for a Scrabble contest, she'd probably be applauded for not taking the whole thing too seriously.

    She's presenting as female, so you treat her as such. It's a pity this has become a careless 'skateboarding duck' story.


  2. It is sad to see that the press on your side of the pond is just as bad as they are here in the USA, when it comes to transsexuals.

    At least they didn't feel it necessary to include her male name!

  3. Hi, Jenny! I find it more than a bit absurd that every time that there's a story, whether positive or negative, when the person in the headline is transsexual, that the sensationalist media always zeroes in on the transsexuality to the exclusion of all else! One couldn't imagine them making any mentioning that someone has type 2 diabetes in a similar context, it's as irrelevant to the story as the transsexualisim of this woman is!

    Dani xxx

  4. An argument could be made that this girl wanted the trans angle to be at the forefront and that's why she dressed that way, so while it annoys me I can just about forgive the "transsexual wins..." bit. But the wilful misgendering is the part that made me reach for the keyboard, especially from the today programme. Our press is unfortunately often as bad as that elsewhere in the world, but one likes to think parts of the media are above all that.

    At least the public nature of the Beeb means I'll get some response from one or other of my missives.

  5. Here, here! Jenny

    Shirley Anne xxx