The Argus coverage of Trans Pride Brighton

arguspride

Dear Mr Beard,

 

I am writing to you about the article published in The Argus, Monday 29th July, page 5; The Return Of Doggy Pride.

 

As a proud doggy owner I was over the moon to read about Brighton’s hosting Doggy Pride, for too long doggy owners have had to fear for their lives while walking the streets of their home town, just because of the fact that they own dogs. Ever since they were young they have had to hide their love of dogs from the people they hold nearest and dearest for fear of being physically and mentally abused and shunned. I think it is wonderful that doggy owners are finally standing up for themselves and showing the world that they are not ashamed to be who they are and embracing their identities. Together they are stronger.

 

I think it’s disgusting that people demean and misrepresent doggy owners, grouping them with other completely unrelated things such as trans* people, I mean, trans* people have never had to put up with the hardships that doggy people have, they have never had some newspaper editor infer that they’re less important than… oh, wait…

 

Let me start this letter again.

 

As a trans* person, Trans* Pride Brighton committee member and an ex dog owner (and aspiring future dog owner) I kinda feel that The Argus has been a bit disrespectful to Europe’s first ever trans* pride event, I don’t think you’ve given it enough credit. The significance of this piece of British history has seemed to have passed you by. It’s understandable though as trans identified people are probably the smallest minority there is, less than 20,000 have been through the NHS system and we are easily forgotten. Even so, this doesn’t make the fact that Trans* Pride Brighton was a runaway success  with a footfall of over 1500 people was any less newsworthy. I just found the way we were mentioned as an afterthought in a Doggy Pride article a bit insulting.

 

 

I am writing to you because I want to see if there is a way we can fix this, can we talk about it? If you don’t want to talk to me personally, (I can understand why I come across as a bit strange) why not check out this website http://www.allabouttrans.org.uk/ They promote greater understanding between media professionals and the transgender community. Anyway, you sent a photographer down and it would seem a waste not to use his photos, no?

 

 

Faithfully,

 

Sarah Savage.

 

EDIT 21:45 30/07/13

I have received a reply from the News Editor and I think it’s a bit of a win…

 

Dear Sarah,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

I am sorry the story appeared to belittle the importance of the Trans Pride event. That was certainly not our intention, but sometimes we get things wrong.

 

As a result, we have republished the story online www.theargus.co.uk/news/10580921.Brighton_and_Hove_celebrates_Britain_s_first_ever_Trans_Pride_event/ and will include a lengthier version with pictures in tomorrow’s paper.

 

Regards,

 

Lawrence Marzouk
News Editor

 

 

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30 thoughts on “The Argus coverage of Trans Pride Brighton

  1. The fact that Trans-Pride gets lumped under Doggy Pride by the Argus is insulting. Everyone involved put in a great effort to make a really memorable event, but apparently in the eyes of the Argus trans pride ranks below dog pride.

  2. Considering the majority of the article is actually about trans pride at not the dog show, I can’t help but think there’s a few ‘subtle’ undertones…

  3. I’m gobsmacked – I cant believe that anyone would be so stupid as to innocently place an article about Trans pride under an article about doggy pride – what I want to know is whether the author is just a moron or if he/she meant to give offence ?

  4. I can understand why you feel slighted… and the title of the piece is unfortunate (I’d suggest “A weekend of Pride” or “Pride for all” as better titles to the piece).

    But, the ordering of the article itself makes a lot of sense. You’ve said yourself, there are less than 20,000 identified trans individuals nationwide. By contrast there are 8 million dogs in the UK, and approximately 23% of households have at least one dog (Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association Statistics, 2012), meaning you’re outnumbered 400 to one by the dogs, and approximately 800 to 1 by their owners (which is the important number, as dogs can’t generally read). The newspaper will almost certainly have more dog owning readers than trans readers, so it makes sense that dog owners get mentioned first and get more photos etc. I know that this may seem unfair, but owning a dog is just as much a way of life as being “trans” or anything else. It takes up at least as much of a person’s life as any other lifestyle (perhaps more… I’d hope a human companion wouldn’t have a tendency to chew furniture and crap on the carpet if not taken for walks no matter the weather) and “inter-species cohabitants” form a larger portion of the population than most other ways of life.

    The upshot for the trans-cause is that those dog owners are now all aware of the trans festival if they kept reading. If the article was split in two, many may have just skipped the trans bit as “not relevant”, so you got good PR out of this.

    Numbers is what it comes down to, and you can’t expect a local newspaper to write for every niche interest with a full page-spread. The fact remains that there are more animal lovers / golfers (http://www.bgia.org.uk/industry-news/adult-uk-golf-participation-hovers-around-4000000) and a whole host of other identifiable groups who mass media are going to write for/about before they document your interests. Your two options if you want to change this are: 1. Grow/convert/sign up more members so that a larger population percentage is being written about. 2. Do something outragous/dangerous/illegal so that you actually become “news”.

  5. Well spotted, Sarah. This is clearly offensive to trans people – whether the Argus intended it or not is a moot point. Due to the somewhat baffling shared title, it reads as if Doggy Pride and Trans Pride are exactly the same thing. As if trans people need any more challenges to overcome! They deserve better than being treated like dogs by their local rag. This is, at the very least, poor reporting. This was, arguably, an historic event and needed to be treated as such. Bad show, Argus. You’ll be very lucky if the organisers don’t decide to take legal action. Trans people may be in the minority, but you’ll find that their friends and family make up significant numbers. Times are changing, attitudes are changing and you need to adapt and embrace these changes very, very quickly. A public apology may help things move in the right direction. Yours Sincerely, Charlie Burn, Sister of a trans man.

  6. You see, I don’t think they’re being treated “like dogs”, that’s hyperbole to get a reaction and provoke a bit of sympathy.

    The article is pitched at literate people who’d been to, or might be interested in, various events at the weekend… and more people have dogs than are trans, so statistically it makes sense to order it like that.

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  8. @Andrew Peck;
    You haven’t noticed that there is absolutely nothing separating the focus of the article from dogs to transpeople (e.g. a box), and that the paragraphs about transpeople are literally under the title of the article?

  9. Andrew, I’m a former dog owner and hopefully a future dog owner too. I really do love dogs. However, the idea of a doggy pride is so trivial that where you comment that there are so many more dogs and dog owners than there are transgendered people it really does come across as though you are taking the p……

  10. Andrew Peck woe betide you if you think it is appropriate to justify transphobic abuse like that, your glib cis smugness is revolting. Locally, we are your doctors, your dentists, your nurses, your anaesthetists. Statistically trans people are much more intelligent than the general population. Seriously Andrew, there’s a very good chance of coming across a trans or genderqueer professional. How would you like it if we turned the table and treated you like an animal when you are most vulnerable?

  11. I agree with Andrew peck 1000%, you are a minority. And nobody cares whether you’re male, female or in between. The only people that care are the trans community and as I said you are a MINORITY. And if you think for one second that any normal person is going to see your event as ‘HISTORY’ then you must be absolutely bonkers! Nobody cares, do you really think screaming out to the world for some attention because you’re a transsexual/gender/whatever is going to get you where you want? Atleast you got a mention in the newspaper… It’s not like they were COMPARING you with the dogs. And I wouldn’t be interested at all if I saw an separate article about a trans event, I probably wouldn’t even read it. You’re all going to be quick to get your backs up and get all defensive but it’s an opinion. And as for that ‘historic event’ crap, I can’t explain to you how much that angered me, history, my arse. You got a mention in the paper, you should feel lucky for that alone, because anyone out of the trans community could not give two sh*ts so stop whining and get on with it.

  12. There’s a differenc between trans phobia and opinions. ANDREW PECK IS NOT SHOWING ANY SIGNS OF TRANSPHOBIA, GO ON PLAY THAT CARD… Just because you’re not getting nice positive feedback because we do not agree does not mean its trans phobia. Nobody said about hating trans people… Nobody said that you’re sick, or wrong. You didn’t agree with the article, and we don’t agree with your feedback. Get over it.

  13. Well done Sarah for challenging the Argus. I agree with the comments about it being weird the paper did not spot the howler, not really believable. The “Peck” comment follows an oft repeated formula seen hundreds of times, without point of substance.

  14. Good on you for writing to them Sarah.

    “And if you think for one second that any normal person is going to see your event as ‘HISTORY’ then you must be absolutely bonkers!”

    This is the first Trans Pride in Europe! How can this not be an historic event?? I think you my friend are bonkers!

    Changes are happening, and the world is growing into a better place, Trans Pride being one of those changes, I myself look forward to reading more about these events in the future.

    🙂

  15. I really don’t see what the issue is here, they’re leading on an established Pride event knowing that people will be drawn to the article because of cute doggie pics. The TransPride part of it is positive and has twice as many column inches. It’s likely there are less Trans people reading the Argus than there are doggie lovers so as a minority interest story I think you did well. I’m sure for the majority reading this blog trans rights are an important issue, for the majority of Argus readers I’d hazard a guess and say they couldn’t give a toss.

  16. I didn’t say I didn’t care. I even suggested a better title for the article… but everything these days has to be about someone getting “offended” or “upset”. And it is “someone” not a group… of those 20,000 you mentioned you’ve got what how many chiming in to agree? In all of this you’re making assumptions about my sexuality and who I am that may or may not be justified… but do I get upset or start pointing out where you’re wrong? No… because I believe that a big part of being accepted and getting on is playing the game and keeping your head down.

    You know what, if you want a fanfare playing every time you walk in a room, or every time you have a “feeling” there are places where you can go where you can go to have that… but if you want us to be considered as equals to everyone else… then being a footnote in the kind of article that includes a dog show is more or less the way to go. IF there was a women’s institute bake sale, a boy scout jamboree, a parade or a Diwali festival on the same day as an event… and we get put in the same article (even if the title’s a bit shit), then whoop-de-doo, because it means that the treatment is on a level, and people aren’t approaching us the way they do certain other groups. I’ll be honest, if I see a cartoon of a trans individual, I laugh if it’s funny, and I think “oh good”… because that means we’re a whole lot more acceptable than the guys who are going to plant a bomb or issue a fatwa over a cartoon… so no-one dares depict them with any kind of levity or humanity; and believe me that can be bloody aweful, there was this Lebanese couple in Asda the other day, obviously a bit hard up, looking at the reduced fruit and veg… there was loads of rhubarb there, so I went up to them and said “this is a fruit, you can cook it the same way you cook apple”, and they were so happy, they took 3 or 4 packets and then they said “we’ve been here for 4 years, and noone’s told us about local food like this”, and you know what, if you or I or anyone else is stood looking a bit lost or puzzled it would be nice if the rest of the world didn’t think we were so easily upset and “other” that they couldn’t come up and say “excuse me, can I be of assistance”, because that’s what’s at the end of this road you want to go down… isolation and kid-gloves.
    If you want to be the kind of person who need a “community spokes-dude” every time someone bakes a cake, looses their cool or gets press coverage, then that’s your choice, but why make it on behalf of everyone else… it’s rather missing the point about being a part of a wider community and fitting in. To have any kind of legacy or role in society it’s all about being treated as equals and the minute you start harping on about this kind of stuff… which I admit is ill-considered on the part of the newspaper – their editor needs to have a long hard think about how little time he gave to this, because with a simple retitle or like you say a little bit of a box or dividing line, then this would have looked very different. But that’s a person doing a job, and people miss things sometimes, and it’s not about “trying to upset people”, so maybe he/she is at home thinking “oh dear, I didn’t really mean to upset people… now there’s a disciplinary and loads of crap coming my way” because you’ll go on and on until retrospective action is taken. But then you’ve make it so that people second guess and think about being our friends/mates/partners… it’s not about what you’ve written, it’s about the whole tone… no-one on this planet is special enough to need “perfect treatment”, no-one has ever not made a mistake at work, and life is being spoilt for those of us who just want to get along and have mates by those who want to make everything about being “offended” as a group.

  17. It’s the veiled insults that really get to me… all based on assumptions. Beccy Williams you may be a surgeon, which is nice for you, but you’re talking to a polymath with multiple degrees who also has a very responsible job.

    Daring to disagree with your perception of zeitgeist in no way diminishes my intelligence whereas basing everything on a knee-jerk emotional response hardly helps your case. If you are the kind of person who gets this easily worked up, then I’d actually rather you weren’t the one opening me up just in case Shania Twain’s “Man I feel like a woman” was playing on a radio somewhere in the hospital and you felt the need to vent… and no, it’s not because you’re trans before you try pulling the discrimination card out of your hat, it’s because your rational self needs to be in the driving seat at all times, no matter what you look like or how you identify yourself.

    As for the other side of your argument, there is no causal link between gender/race/sexual-preference/eye-colour/food allergies and academic achievement, which is what you’re really trying to say (because let’s face it, intelligence is almost impossible to quantify by the time we start looking at the multiple intelligences model which accounts for different ways of being “smart” like kinesthetic or emotional competence: I wouldn’t want David Beckham diagnosing me or dosing me up, but then again there aren’t many doctors I can think of who I’d trust to place a crossed ball on my instep mid-run from 30 yards away).

  18. Andrew, John

    If we were looking at a story about a group of kidney transplant patients which was part of an article about about Steak and Kidney pies would that be appropriate?

    Of course it wouldn’t.

    The Argus had a lack of thought, I personally don’t believe it was intentional and they’ve tried to fix it. Fair play to them, its the way forwards.

    Maybe you would have read the article, maybe you wouldn’t. You’ve certainly read it here and taken the time to post regarding it. Again fair play as with discussion and conversation things will move forwards and be a better world for everyone.

    Here is the thing that you are both missing. In comparing straight numbers you are being spurious. Being trans isn’t a lifestyle choice, owning a dog is. The articles should not have been run together like that.

    For most trans folk apart from the tiny minority who can pass unnoticed by the general population life would be easier not to be trans, if it were only a matter of a lifestyle choice then we wouldn’t wish this on ourselves.

    For myself and many others transitioning was a matter of survival, so yes it does matter that articles about trans people and events are given approriate treatment.

  19. Andrew, your comments about the article not being insultingly placed questions the intelligence of trans people. It’s pretty obvious how badly it comes across, even you admitted that yourself later in your rants! It’s also clear that your dislike for people speaking out against discrimination extends to women, and the very old fashioned and classic sexist response that women are too emotional to hold positions of responsibility pretty much highlights that misogyny and transphobia go hand in hand!

  20. “20,000 have been through the NHS system and we are easily forgotten”
    […]
    ” Even so, this doesn’t make the fact that Trans* Pride Brighton was a runaway success with a footfall of over 1500 people was any less newsworthy”

    Trans* encompasses far more than just transsexual people going through the NHS system. The asterix is there for a reason. I’m getting rather tired of people apparently involved in Brighton Trans Pride co-opting the term “Trans*” to mean “transsexual”. If you want to worry about offense, worry about the offense BTP organisers are causing by dismissing Britain’s *actual* first Trans* Pride event: Sparkle in Manchester, supported by Manchester Pride.

    And no, the article is not insulting. It is perhaps an unfortunate juxtaposition, but that does not make it insulting. Co-opting a term – “Trans*” – that was deliberately coined to be inclusive of the *entire* trans* community and making it appear to mean just “transsexual” is insulting.

    • I’m getting rather tired of people assuming things.

      From the Trans Pride Brighton website: “We are a not-for-profit, non party political community group, here to inspire and promote inclusivity of all trans, intersex, gender variant and queer people to help us make a real difference. By promoting equality and diversity through visibility, we will educate and eliminate discrimination we face, and also to celebrate our unique history and gender diversity.”

      Exactly how is Trans Pride Brighton “co-opting the term trans* to mean transsexual”? Please explain because your argument doesn’t hold any weight…

      We are not and have never dismissed Sparkle, I myself have attended the last 3 years and it remains one of my favourite events. Sparkle is not and has never been a Trans* Pride event, it is a SPARKLE event. We are events at different ends of the country, at different times and some people have told me that they do not feel represented by an event that by it’s very name is focused on the female end of the gender spectrum.

      I don’t see the problem, we’re all fighting for the same cause, can’t we just all get along?

  21. One of the key aspects in deciding if an article/comment is discriminatory or not is to consider how/if it dehumanises the target group. Throughout history, dehumanisation has been used to align portions of society against each other and to justify such discrimination. It’s important to realise that this method is that which was used to justify the slave trade, and the abominable treatment of the Jews and other minority groups during world war 2. In this instance the news article dehumanised trans people by making them comparable to dogs. The continued comparison of trans people with dogs, and the attempted justification for this amounts to dehumanisation.

  22. Interesting response Rebecca that just seems to prove Andrew’s point. How do you get from “overly emotional” to “it’s because I’m a woman”? Men have emotions too, as you’d know if you had friends. He didn’t bring your gender into it Rebecca but obviously that’s another one of the little excuses you give yourself for failure.

    In terms of “dehumanising” that’s what surgeons do all the time; you and I and everyone else reading this are just “meat” at the end of the day. Have a philosophical response to the world if you want, but recognise that sooner or later every one of us, me and you included, are just rotting hunks of meat in a box (unless you go for the deep and crispy option of “cremation”… I’d be up for that if they put me in the municiple incinerator, my body fat would probably heat a small neighbourhood for a week – see, a fat joke from a fattie… laugh at yourselves a bit more often and the world will laugh with you!).

    The majority – including John, Andrew and I – are probably quite tired of reading about how this group or that group have got all “upset” about something, because when it REALLY comes down to it, if the groups getting upset were actually important, then they’d be making the rules rather than whining about them. The whole point of a democratic society is not one that is tailored to every individual whim or difference, but one that is best fit for the majority of its members. Like it or not, more people own dogs than are trans, and like it or not, more people want to read about dogs than trans people. I don’t really care whether “it’s a choice”… there just aren’t enough of you to warrant the level of press coverage you attract… and I’d say the same if you were Morris dancers, had webbed feet or spoke Oggham.

    Maybe it’s just having a healthier outlook, but the whole “steak and kidney pie” argument is hilarious. I’d like to think that if my kidneys failed I’d find that hilarious. I know that after my uncle’s went he ordered that whenever he could, just for the sense of irony (they’d even serve it in hospital). Look at the guys who’ve lost limbs in Afghanistan who go out and CHOOSE TO BUY T-shirts that say “land-mine awareness spokesman” just for a laugh… they know what it means to struggle and be properly disadvantaged, and yet they approach it with humour and dignity without whining in the media.

    The characteristics that should define a person are humour, courage and intelligence. This whiny “what about me” approach to the world that so many people seem to have is pathetic. If it hasn’t sunk in yet, it’s not about “gender”, it’s not about “trans” or “man” or “woman”… it’s about the fact that as a HUMAN BEING when you whine and moan and complain about these tiny things like it actually matters you dehumanise yourself, you infantilise yourself and all your qualifications and little gold stars mean sod all.

    You have the cheek to mention WW2 as if it’s in any way comparable… I didn’t see the newspaper suggesting a ghetto, stalag or death camp. In a real situation like that, not something you’ve fabricated so you can blame the rest of the world, your same lack of humour and fortitude would lead to you freezing and failing.

  23. Well done Argus for helping us start a dialogue. Great that the Argus finally got on board after so many people wrote in support.

    I’d imagine the first Gay Pride event in Brighton encountered similar (or worse) protest.

    Comments from the few haters on this post shows how far we have to go still, to help people to realise that this is a human rights issue, that we are just expressions of gender. Gender is extremely fluid, and why shouldn’t it be?

    Well done Sarah, for writing an article which allows The Argus the opportunity to rectify things and slowly, but surely we will see a lightbulb moment for those who cannot yet empathise with gender variance.

    It was amazing and heartfelt to see the wider community coming together, for us to celebrate and meet new friends & allies on a day which isn’t Trans Day of Remembrance (which is, obviously, an extremely sad event, in November annually).

    Suicide rates are too high for trans* people.. There are too many murders (one is too many, but there are hundreds ever year) as well as guilt, shame, depression & secrecy. Last weekend is most definitely a date to remember, and even when it rained, I could tell everyone really wanted to be there.

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