Monday, 1 November 2010

More on girl wins scrabble contest

    As a follow-on from my email to the Today programme about their misgendering of Scrabble champion Mikki Nicholson (Here, scroll to about 1:08:50) this morning I put in a complaint through on the BBC complaints form. It's funny, I see organs such as the Mail or Express as lost causes, but somehow I expect more of the usually-painfully-politically-correct BBC.
    Here's what I wrote in the complaints form:
This morning at about ten past seven, the Radio 4 Today programme carried a news feature about a transsexual who won a Scrabble championship. 
The news script referred to her using male pronouns. Intentionally misgendering of a transsexual in this way is about as insulting and offensive as it gets to a transgendered person and I believe that in doing this the Today programme and the BBC fell short of their usually high standards in two ways. 
Firstly, it does not matter what the standard of her presentation may be, if she has assumed the female role and is presenting as female then the only appropriate way to refer to her is as female. 
Secondly, was the fact that she is transsexual relevant to the story? Perhaps "Woman" would have been as good a description. 
Such poor coverage of what is a rather vulnerable and marginalised group does not help our quest for equality and is a poor reflection on the BBC as a whole.  


  1. Thank goodness we have a smart literate writer on our team, shame they don't seem to employ folk like that any more at the BBC, once the upholder of standards.

    Look forward to their reply.

    If they don't give us satisfaction, could you go round and intimidate them a little?

    Caroline xxx

  2. Thanks both!

    I wonder if I'd be more intimidating as bloke or as girl? :)

  3. Jenny-

    That was a very good call. It's about time they used the terms "she" and "her" properly.

    I would appreciate it if you read my blog, The blog is a virtual compendium of articles from newspapers, newsweeklies, and magazines, both popular and scholarly. The articles have a viewpoint toward transgender / transsexual news. If you like it, please put
    "Emily's virtual rocket "under the title commonly called
    "Blogroll". Thank you so much!



  4. Wow, so many idiots in the world. I'd hate to go through the trouble of winning a competition, just for the honor of being misgendered on a massive scale. That could of insensitivity is infuriating. I'm glad you took the time to write in her support. Most kind of you. :)

  5. Thanks both, I'll post any reply I get.

    Emily: a word of advice. Don't spam us with your blog, people will take it the wrong way. Just make comments like everyone else and people will find you organically.

  6. I heard the same error made on 6 Music as well, probably took their cue from the PA wire copy.

  7. It's a shame that one piece of bad journalism can affect so may other sources who parrot it verbatim without applying their own filters to it.

    Still haven't had a response to either of my queries.