Skip to content

All About Trans – new website

April 30, 2013

aat_logo_LRGToday, we kicked off our first “All About Trans” Interaction – a social gathering between BBC comedy and entertainment executives and some young trans people.

As it’s the beginning of this new and exciting piece of work, we’re moving over to a new website, dedicated to “All About Trans”, to the projects that have funding and those that don’t…yet!

You’ll notice, if you’re a Twitter fan, that we’ve changed our Twitter page too, to fit in with the new project website. The website is very much a work in progress – you’ll see loads of information on how our interactions have gone, what other exciting things are coming up and information and links to other brilliant organisations doing great work in this area.

In the meantime, we’ll keep this blog up until we migrate the posts over to the new site, so nothing will be lost in the changeover.

Check us out at and on Twitter, @AllAboutTrans.

“All About Trans*” – The Interactions

March 8, 2013

Conversations at Trans Camp

*From now on, the second phase of Trans Media Action will be called “All About Trans”, in preparation for a new website which will be live at the end of April 2013. All About Trans will showcase the activities of phase 2 like the interactions (underway) and the Patchwork video project (still fundraising for this.)

‘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 July 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.


Next week we’ll be delivering invitations by hand and from April to July 2013 we’ll be carrying out interactions between lucky media professionals and a carefully chosen pool of volunteers.


A new website ( will be up towards the end of April 2013.


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.

Moore, Burchill and the Web – A Timeline

January 18, 2013

We’ve put together a rough timeline of what’s been going on since the 8th of January when Suzanne Moore’s original article was published followed by Julie Burchill’s column a couple of days later and the ensuing online debates. We’ll be adding relevant articles and links as they arrive.  Please feel free to comment below and share links of anything you find useful.

Tuesday 8 January: The New Statesman publishes Suzanne Moore’s piece “Seeing red: The power of female anger”. The line that provoked debate was:

The cliché is that female anger is always turned inwards rather than outwards into despair. We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual. We are angry that men do not do enough…

An article explains why this could have been phrased better and a debate grows on Twitter:

Here’s an account of tweets on Storify and another timeline of tweets on Storify.

Wednesday 9 – Thursday 10 January: Moore responds to the Twitter debate in the Guardian, “I don’t care if you were born a woman or became one“.

Some responses online:

Support from journalist Julie Bindel sparks further debate:

Friday 11 January:

10.51am: Suzanne Moore leaves Twitter and Pink News reports it here.

Support for Moore grows on Twitter: 

Saturday 12 January: Francis Sedgemore, science writer and journalist writes “On Suzanne Moore, gender identity and penis fixation”.

Sunday 13 January: Julie Burchill’s piece in defence of Moore is published in the Observer entitled “Transsexuals Should Cut it Out”. It was removed the following day, (see below for more details); here’s the PDF.

Monday 14 January:

Suzanne Moore returns to Twitter, issues an apology and thanks her supporters before subsequently leaving again.

Burchill’s article is amended to replace the word “transsexuals” with “transgender people”.

5.48pm: “The Observer withdraws Julie Burchill column as editor publishes apology”. The print version remains and only the online article is removed along with over 2,000 comments. John Mulholland editor of the Observer issues a statement:

On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers’ Editor will report on these issues at greater length.

Stephen Pritchard, Reader’s Editor continues the inquiry.

The New Statesman Trans Issues Week (planned previously): Writing for NS Trans Issues Week, Jennie Kermode outlines the facts about trans issues and language: “Everything you’ve always wanted to know about trans issues (but were afraid to ask)”.

Tuesday 15 January:

Wednesday 16 January:

Writer and trans activist Roz Kaveney, Columnist Toby Young, Laurie Penny Contributing Editor at the New Statesman and former Editor of The Guardian Peter Preston discuss the role of a columnist, free speech and social media on Radio 4’s The Media Show.

Thursday 17 January: The Guardian publishes Moore’s most recent response “It saddens me that supporting freedom makes me an opponent of equality”.

Rod Liddle writes “How Moore, Burchill and Featherstone all had a lovely bitch fight” in The Spectator.

Channel 4 News hosts a Google+ Hangout with Dr. Sally Hines, Paris Lees, Sarah Savage and Gary Ennis, debating “Transsexual people and the online ‘age of rage'”:


Peaceful Demonstration: 

Over 100 attend a “Transgender rights protest at Guardian and Observer offices over Burchill row”.

Guest blogger Hyosho writes for Media Darlings “Please no Moore: A snapshot of transphobia in Britain’s broadsheets”, explaining the issue with Moore’s original statement:

This is a related issue which speaks to a lack of intersectional understanding, but it is not the primary problem. The main issue is that it is dehumanising – it posits a stereotype as the norm, and uses it for a punchline. Moore is relying on the reader’s mental image of a transsexual woman for her joke’s humour and force, assuming that her reader shares her prejudices and preconceptions, mainly that a “Brazilian transsexual” is a) a trans woman, b) of a particular physical appearance, and most importantly c) not a real woman.

Friday 18 January: Roy Greenslade reports in The Guardian “PCC to investigate Julie Burchill column” and “Burchill column ‘a collective failing of editing’ by senior staff”.

The Observer reader’s editor, Stephen Pritchard provides a full explanation for the removal of Burchill’s piece.

Saturday 19 January: Deborah Orr writes “Feminism shouldn’t be about telling trans women they’re not female enough”  in The Guardian.  

Sunday 20 January:  The Observer’s ‘The big issue’ publishes “Prejudice: trans people shouldn’t have been subjected to such abuse”.

Monday 21 January:  

Tuesday 22 January:  Patrick Barkham writes “Voices from the trans community: There will always be prejudice”, in The Guardian Society.

Thursday 24 January: Fionola Meredith from The Irish Times writes “It is important to defend the right to offend”.

Friday 25 January: Diane Leigh Shipley posts on the blog Bea “In defence of intersectionality (and ‘priviliege’, and trigger warnings…)”

Monday 28 January:

Response to the Trans Media Action Timeline from Suzanne Moore:

Tuesday 29 January: Stavvers posts in Another angry woman “The value of trigger warnings”.

Wednesday 30 January: Paris Lees comments “Why it’s wrong to defend Burchill’s ‘right to offend'” in response to Fionola Meredith’s piece from Thursday 24th January .

We’re continuing to collect interesting links, articles and stories so please feel free to share any below.  

Trans Media Action needs you!

January 14, 2013
Fox from 'My Transsexual Summer' speaking to journalists at a Phase One workshop with BBC

Fox from ‘My Transsexual Summer’ speaking to journalists at a Phase One workshop with BBC

There has been a lot of community action in the last week or so. Firstly there was the response to the GMC’s investigation into Dr Richard Curtis – Twitter’s #TransDocFail feed (started by Cambridge City Councillor Sarah Brown) came alive with tales from the trans community of mistreatment by NHS and healthcare professionals. Then there was the Suzanne Moore-Julie Burchill furore – Read Paris Lees’ compelling response here.

It’s proof that there are thousands of people out there ready to come forward and have their voices heard and Trans Media Action wants to engage more of you in our next piece of work.


If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that one of our ideas is to carefully plan 20 ‘interactions’ with leading and influential professionals in television, radio and print.

We know that senior people don’t go to diversity workshops and we believe that tick-box diversity training, which focusses solely on labels and “what not to say”, is not the best way to build positive and sustainable engagement.

So instead, we’ll build a tailor-made 1-hour interaction for each professional, carried out with their preferences in mind (working to their schedule, providing their favourite food, meeting in a cafe they like, as examples) and delivered by a handful of trans people with experiences that are relevant to that professional’s area of specialism or interest. Our aim is that each carefully chosen professional goes away thinking not only that they know more about trans people, but about what action they can take, proactively, to help improve portrayals of trans people in the media.

It works…

Trans Media Watch has shown how this works by engaging Channel 4’s Stuart Cosgrove, which led to the signing of the MoU and the commissioning of My Transsexual Summer, amongst many other outcomes. And Trans Media Action has shown how this works in phase one by engaging people like BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s Commissioning Editor, which led to a series of appearances on Radio 1, and BBC’s Controller of Production Talent, which led to the creation of the Trans Comedy Award. As we’ve seen from the events this weekend, change doesn’t happen overnight and we need to keep plugging away, targeting individuals with firm and clear messages in a positive way.


The interactions will be carried out from April to June 2013 and will be published online, showcasing these new media ‘champions’ of the trans community in the UK.

So, what do we want from you?

1)       Can you think of a media professional (could be a journalist, presenter, editor or actor) who could have a positive influence on the way trans stories are understood by the media? We already have a growing list of people but we’d like to hear as many opinions as possible.

2)      Would you like to be involved in any way? Would you like to take part in an interaction? (Travel and lunch will be paid for.)

If you think ‘yes’ to either or both of these questions, then please take a minute to fill out this form…and if you’re on Twitter, please follow @TransMediaAct!

Trans Comedy Award is launched as TMA develops Phase 2

December 6, 2012

By @natmc, also blogged here.

Paris and Nathalie with Stuart from Channel 4 who has led support for Trans Media Action.  At the CDN awards on 15th November 2012.  Photo by Sarah Lake.

Last week I had the privilege to sit with hundreds of tv professionals and contributors who are helping to promote diversity in the television industry at the Creative Diversity Network (CDN) Awards.

The annual awards took place in Hackney Empire in East London on a cold November evening. Tucked up in the famous East London theatre I sat back with our friends from Trans Media Watch to watch clips of television as it should be – full of diversity, celebrating difference – a true reflection of the world around us.

And what a difference a year makes. At last year’s awards there wasn’t one mention of the word “trans” or transgender. This year, not only were there several mentions, but the opening speech by acting Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, introduced the “Trans Comedy Award”, an initiative cooked up at Trans Camp, organised by On Road earlier this year.

After all our work on Trans Media Action (so far), it is such an amazing feeling to witness a shift in perceptions, an increased awareness in the industry, and an excellent idea coming to fruition through the relationships we’ve helped to forge. We like to think our collective persistence in partnership with the brilliant women at Trans Media Watch, along with fantastic support from volunteers throughout the trans community and a big helping hand from the diversity departments at Channel 4 and the BBC, is starting to bear fruit. There’s a long way to go, but this is an exciting taste of great things to come!

We asked Claire Parker, one of the driving forces behind the project, and a trans comedian herself, to explain a little about the scheme.

So, what is the Trans Comedy Award?

  • It’s a development award of up to £5000 for the best comedy script written in a trans theme which is both affirming and new as well as avoiding all the usual stereotypes.  It can be a sketch show or a comedy drama or just a sitcom, all of which should have scope to be made into a series and 30 minutes in length.
  • It is being handled by our lovely friends at the BBC Writers room who also are putting up the money and the deadline for scripts is the 28th of February.The goal is to get a pilot made in collaboration with a production company and see where we go from there.
  • While that’s it in a nutshell, you can download loads of award information and interact with our blog and forum on where you can also talk to the Trans Comedy team who are running and guiding this project.
  • Trans representation in the media has not been brilliant, lets face it. Often clumsy and at best mawkish. For a long time now the ownership of the trans community’s identity has been by the media. By being demonstrably involved in change we can partnership with media outlets and guide them in better directions because we have one hand on the diversity tiller.

What does this mean for the trans community?

  • People often take their social cues from the media about how to react to minorities and to see trans people being directly involved in programming rather than being talked about sends a powerful signal to the average viewer that the media outlets are serious about representation and this will create better acceptance.
  • This will encourage other trans who do not wish to remain hidden to step up and get involved. While we may have right on our side it’s rare for people to come knocking on our door, so we have to be part of the solution.
  • Finally, comedy is a great way of sharing an experience as I have found in my stand-up career. Often I am self deprecating and people warm to this and engage me afterwards by asking me to tell them more. It makes us human with all the same foibles and idiosyncrasies and that builds bridges.

Visit for more information and keep an eye on On Road’s second phase of work with the trans community here.

Trans Media Action Phase 2

May 2, 2012

By @natmc

So Phase 1 has been wrapped up and we achieved a huge amount in a very short space of time. We built some fantastic relationships with people in the media and came together in January 2012 for Trans Camp (over 10,000 views!), an event that helped us to rethink how we might tackle the problem of trans narratives in the media.

Most importantly, we were able to come up with a series of very good ideas for phase 2 which will have the continuing support of Channel 4 and the BBC. We’re currently applying for funding and will keep you updated about progress. In the meantime, thank you for your support and we hope to have some good news for you soon!

Group Activities since Trans Camp

February 3, 2012

By Alana @OnRoadMedia

It’s been an exciting few weeks since Trans Camp last month! We wanted to give you an update of what the five groups came up with and what they’ve been up to since.

Trans Camp was about bringing people from different professions and backgrounds together to tackle problems about media coverage and awareness of the trans community.  We want to support all of the good ideas that came out of the camp (not just the winning one!) so we’ll keep you updated as they develop in phase 2 of Trans Media Action.

In case you missed the camp, here’s what happened:


The children’s Group looked at this problem:

‘There is very little awareness of the existence of trans children. How do we change that?’

The group’s pitch:

An online, support and information resource for parents who are dealing with a gender variant child. The site – “” – will be partnered with Mermaids and will launch with a short film portraying the stories and experiences of other children during Anti-Bullying Week.

Actions being taken since Trans Camp:

Jay Stewart is running a Gendered Intelligence Trans Youth Group Session in February which some members of the group will attend and discuss further steps. Mermaids will be approached with the idea.

Amy Whitney wrote a blog about her group’s progress at Trans Camp.


The media and headlines group looked at this problem:

‘What can we do to help the media create more accurate coverage about trans people? Headlines are appalling – how can we start to change them?’

The group’s pitch:

A website for users to analyse news stories and develop a campaign for contacting journalists and broadcasters to bring awareness to offensive stories or headlines.

Actions being taken since Trans Camp:

Some positive discussions about bringing the idea forward and working with Trans Media Watch.

Paris Lees wrote an article about the day for the Creative Diversity Network: ‘Putting the T into LGBT History Month’.

GROUP 3 (Winner)

The community reporting group looked at this problem:

Can we find a constructive way of galvanising the trans community to report on transphobia in the media in a way that can be acted upon?

The group’s pitch:

‘Trango!’ is a game played online or on a mobile application. Trango! creates a database of media coverage of trans people by players looking at stories and ticking off reoccurring phrases and words that are offensive. Players can comment on scorecards, deconstructing news stories and creating ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ which will then be awarded publicly.

Actions being taken since Trans Camp:

Lots of discussion within the group about bringing the idea forward with meetings scheduled over the coming weeks combined with Basecamp project management. They will submit an application for support from UnLtd. by the end of February.

Nicky Getgood wrote a detailed blog about her experiences at Trans Camp.


The comedy group looked at this problem:

‘How do we make producers of comedy aware of who they are making comedy about?’

The group’s pitch:

The Trans Comedy Bursary is a scheme that awards UK-based writers or performers in comedy, giving them the opportunity to develop the idea with a production company. An expert panel of judges will choose the winner’s idea to be developed into a taster film and pilot which will then seek broadcast funding.

Actions being taken since Trans Camp:

The group have met and developed a draft scoping paper outlining the idea, its process and the practicalities for each stage of the development. Working towards an August 2012 launch of the website.


The family and friends group looked at this problem:

‘How can we use the web to help family, friends and partners better accept and support trans people?’

The group’s pitch:

A website campaign where family members upload videos telling their stories about trans issues. The campaign will offer support and information by sharing experiences across all ages and creating the trans vlog-network “Tell Me About It – Trans Family Stories”.

Actions being taken since Trans Camp:

Working towards collecting videos, building the website, finalising the campaign name and marketing.

For photos of the event go to On Road Media on Facebook.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers