Monday, 13 September 2010

Who's furious, exactly?

You know what you're getting with the Daily Star and progressive liberalism it ain't, so complaining about the horrendous way it reported a "story" about transsexual prisoners being allowed to request a strip search by a member of staff who shares their adopted gender seems rather redundant. Let's just say that the paper ran with the headline*:

Tranny strip-search fury

...and that it all went downhill from there, even managing refer to people whose:

"meat and two veg are still intact"
Classy. As I said, complaining about the use of language such as "trannies" in a Daily Star story is somewhat pointless. Suffice to say it wouldn't pass muster with the good people at Trans Media Watch. So let's ignore the bigotry (and the, er, interesting choice of photo on the website) and focus on the facts, starting with that headline. There's "fury" about these new rules, apparently. As the first sentence says:

"Female prison officers are angry at new rules which mean they may ordered to strip search transexual [sic] lags"
Further down we're told that;

"The move is creating unrest among female prison officers reluctant to strip-search male inmates."
But the only quote in the story, direct or otherwise, comes from a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice who, somewhat predictably, points out that these are not "new rules" but draft guidelines that have yet to be approved or implemented. Nowhere is there any evidence whatsoever of "angry" prison officers reacting with "fury". There's no quote from a named or anonymous prison officer expressing any opinion at all. There's not even that tabloid staple, the made-up quote that perfectly matches the paper's editorial line using language only ever deployed by tabloid hacks. They can't even get a response out of the Prison Officers Association, who are never shy about generating a media profile.

In short, there's absolutely no evidence of anyone being "furious" or "angry" about the proposed guidelines. Yet the Star manages to put "fury" in the sub-head, "angry" in the opening sentence and "unrest" further down the story.

Surely if prison officers up and down the land are up in arms, as the paper suggests, they'd be able to find at least ONE person who could actually say so?

*That's in the paper itself - the website used the slightly tamer "Female guards may be forced to search male trannies"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be honest, i think you sort of miss the enormous gaping hole in the whole piece... Its the bit where they state:

Under existing laws, anyone affected by the condition can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Once this certificate is obtained, the person has the legal right to be treated as their desired gender in every respect.

GRC's are a dog's breakfast already - and in my view, pretty bad law designed to get the government off the hook with the European Court. However, the fundamental "right" in terms of treatment first surfaced in the case of Goodwin vs. the UK in 2002 (and a couple of slightly earlier precedent cases), and the Gender Recognition Act 2004 merely legitimised a position that Human Rights law had already made abundantly clear.

Basically, the GRC gives you very few rights, whilst the idea that “anyone affected by gender dysphoria” can apply for a GRC is just plain wrong. The narrative sort of misses out the years of hormones, living in role and surgery that you need to go through beforehand.

As for “controversial new guidelines”…what a load of nonsense: pretty much ALL government departments have been edging their way towards treating individuals according to their lived gender for some while now…NHS guidelines on this matter, issued last year, are pretty good, even if ignored by the GIC’s.

It’s a strange article. All the building blocks are there: the writer has done SOME research, clearly being more aware of some legal issues than your average member of the public…just hasn’t connected with real trans persons along the way at all.

Ah well.