‘All About Trans’, is the second phase of our work with the trans community, which began with Trans Media Action in October 2011.
Over the past two years, we’ve been working closely with the support of broadcasters and funders to engage media professionals (journalists, presenters and editors) with trans issues in creative ways.
From late April to September 2013, we’ll be holding 20 “interactions” (social meetings lasting no longer than 2 hours) between a media professional and one to three young trans people. Supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the BBC, It’s a chance for media professionals to get to know young people in a setting of their choice and at their convenience.
It could involve anything from a trip on the London Eye, to coffee at their favourite place around the corner from work, to a black cab home being serenaded with their favourite music.
Instead of traditional campaigning methods of trying to disseminate key messages about the community, we’re creating chances for empathy to grow through social interaction. Our experience from phase 1 has shown that a media professional that has been moved in some way is a much more powerful ally than one who has been fed lots of facts!
We want to move media professionals by introducing them to some inspirational and talented young trans people who we think may challenge their preconceptions in a really positive and enjoyable way.
From mid-March 2013, we’ll be delivering special invitations by hand and from April-July 2013, we’ll be carrying out interactions between lucky media professionals and a carefully chosen pool of volunteers.
A new website (www.allabouttrans.org.uk) showcases the interactions, resources for media professionals and other activities throughout phase 2.
Paris Lees, journalist, presenter and All About Trans facilitator explains the work:
What media professionals say:
Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News Presenter
It was useful in challenging perceptions, education, suggesting story ideas and what surprised me most was that there is no need to define trans people by their surgery or lack of surgery.
Ally Oliver, Assistant Editor, Closer magazine
The language I would use around the subject would be different and I also think that I have a greater understanding which I’ll carry with me and hopefully pass onto other journalists.
John Mulholland, Editor, The Observer
The interaction was extremely useful in raising awareness of trans people and issues relating to the trans community.
Piers Bradford, Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio One
I expected to be lectured but this was an opportunity to have an open and honest chat with some trans people. I found it very insightful, and has led to several programme ideas which have made it on air.
Ian Critchley, BBC Controller of Production Talent
The experience gave great promise of a better awareness of the issues facing the trans community. Having spent some time listening to people’s stories we came to the view that the best way to help move things on was to think about some kind of bursary or writing competition which would give the opportunity to explore things further. (On the Trans Comedy Award)
Jane Hill, Presenter, BBC News
I found the most useful aspect to be hearing directly from trans people and I realised that even I, as a gay person, can improve my use of language – therefore the newsroom as a whole could learn a huge amount.
Daniel Fisher, World Affairs News Editor, BBC
I found the most useful part of the interaction; chatting one on one with people and I learnt about the feeling of the invisibility of the community and words that are offensive.