Working with press regulators to improve media
representation of transgender people

5 October 2016 by Alana Avery
All About Trans meet IPSO

All About Trans meet IPSO

With our ongoing project, All About Trans, earlier in the year we organised two consultations between the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and members of the trans community. Today they issued new guidance on researching and reporting stories related to transgender individuals, based on the Editor’s Code.

IPSO is responsible, post-Leveson Inquiry, for supporting those who feel wronged by the press. They, as an independent regulator, uphold professional standards for the UK press and deal with complaints, determining whether standards of the Editors’ Code of Practice have been breached.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot today, and I’ve done it through the means of a friendly chat, which is a great way of learning new things.”

Bianca Strohmann, Senior Complaints Officer, IPSO

The All About Trans interactions we delivered earlier in the year, which are part of ongoing trans-led workshops facilitated with the media, supported their staff to better understand trans experiences and the challenges they may face. The sessions, blogged here, were involved and led by members of the trans and non-binary community with senior IPSO staff, complaints officers and senior editors from a range of broadsheets and tabloids.

Ayla Holdom facilitates

Ayla Holdom facilitates

“I’ve followed IPSO (& PCC’s) work since 2013, when All About Trans held a first meeting with them and was extremely pleased that they re-engaged with the community to facilitate the revision of existing guidelines. Their recent consultations with All About Trans volunteers, on how to improve press regulation of reporting on transgender topics and stories, demonstrates the desire for progress in this area and desire to let the community affected help shape that. It was fantastic meeting with their staff and being given the opportunity to normalise trans experiences – I hope this now feeds into the new guidance and good practice later in 2016. I look forward to seeing how IPSO’s guidelines and supporting resources develop from here and hope they will continue to engage with the trans community for feedback and advice”.

Ayla Holdom, Facilitator for All About Trans

Transphobic or inaccurate media pieces can have a powerful and negative impact on trans people’s lives. IPSO staff gathered a better insight into why someone might complain to them about an article or comment piece during their meetings with members of the trans community.

Their new guidance covers areas such as relevance, language, publicity, terminology, and statistics. They particularly look at cases in the press involving children.

Listen to a member of IPSO staff talk about her experience with All About Trans.

Head of Standards, Charlotte Urwin and colleagues went on to hold a further consultation with the charity Mermaids, who support parents and families of trans or gender variant children. She writes about how useful she found her meetings in this blog, and describes how grateful she is that those engagements with the community contributed to IPSO’s new and revised guidelines. IPSO also kindly mentioned All About Trans in their annual report. We look forward to sharing their new guidelines and encouraging their usage.

For more on All About Trans and the media interactions with the trans community, visit the website.