Media interactions, a new patron and new work: Our
year so far

20 May 2016 by Kate Llewellyn
A meet-up with IPSO

All About Trans volunteers meeting with the Independent Press Standards Organisation

It feels like yesterday that we were wishing you all a happy new year and letting you how the work went in 2015. We certainly hit the ground running in January, so now we want to give you a quick update our major projects.

All About Trans

Since September 2015, our ongoing project All About Trans has been specifically looking at the challenges trans people may face in education, by bringing trans people together with senior media professionals to improve media coverage of trans experiences in schools and universities.

As you’ll know, we kicked off a new series of nationwide, trans-led media interactions in September 2015 and met with the Department for EducationHollyoaks, the Mail on Sunday and the New Statesman. All the interactions are led by trans facilitators (who we trained in November 2015) and are designed to improve the media’s understanding and coverage of trans people.

Volunteers at MediaCityUK

Volunteers at MediaCityUK

We celebrated the start of 2016 by returning to BBC North West for the second time. This led to a new BBC Radio 4 play, based on Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books with Fox Fisher playing a central trans role. It’s on air every weekday at 10.45am until 27th May.

All About Trans teams also re-visited creative departments at BBC Wales, and met with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) again. We’re hoping their consultations with the trans community will feed into IPSO’s new guidelines and resources for journalists covering trans stories, to be published later this year.

Boy Meets Girl and a new Patron

There were more exciting developments, as the award-winning BBC Two sitcom Boy Meets Girl has been commissioned for a second series! One of the major outcomes of All About Trans, originally broadcast in September 2015, it received rave reviews, averaging 1.3 million viewers across the 6-part series. In May, it won the British LGBT Awards Media Moment, writer Elliott Kerrigan won Rising Star Award at the Royal Television Society North East and the Border Awards and the show is also up for TV Choice Magazine’s Best Comedy Award. Filming for the new series began in early 2016, so hopefully we won’t have to wait for long until it’s back on our screens.

AAT's new Patron

All About Trans’ new Patron

This leads us to our next announcement – Boy Meets Girl star Rebecca Root has become All About Trans’ first Patron! The actor said in our blog“I’ve been privileged to play a part of AAT’s previous campaigns; becoming a Patron means that I can now help spread even further the message that being trans is not a thing to be joked about, misunderstood, or regarded with fear and animosity.” Thank you, Rebecca!

Finally, in January All About Trans worked with the publicity department at Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee to help promote the Transgender Equality Report and arrange for trans spokespeople across England to speak to the media about its recommendations. This report contained the Committee’s recommendations to the government based on findings from an inquiry into trans peoples’ experiences in the UK. Spokespeople from different backgrounds with varying expertise, spoke about healthcare, education, young trans people and raising awareness across national and regional media. You can read about the report’s findings here and check out this blog and Storify with highlights of the coverage.

Sexual Abuse and the Media

We are launching our first series of interactions for this project in the autumn, so we’ll have an update on this work before the end of the year. The project will improve media coverage of sexual abuse and assault, with the aim of raising conviction rates and increasing the quality of public conversation and understanding of sexual crimes, perpetrators and victims.

Nina talking to Sky News

Nina talking to Sky News

Earlier this year, we released videos of several talks and panels from the Clear Lines Festival such as “What should we tell the kids about sexual abuse?” and “Media coverage of sexual assault“. We decided to do this to coincide with #Itsnotok week, a national awareness raising campaign in February. Check all the videos out here.

Recently, Dr Nina Burrowes, who we are closely working with on the project, was on Sky News discussing current support systems for paedophiles. She also wrote the article “There’s no direct line between compassion and justice in sex cases” in the Observer and was referenced in the national Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

That’s all for now! Keep an eye out for our next update, and feel free to get in touch for more information about what we do.