Concern that the Sun newspaper may have taken its enthusiasm for breaking a news story a step too far found political expression today with the tabling of a parliamentary Early Day Motion condemning its behaviour by Brighton Green MP, Caroline Lucas.
The motion was tabled yesterday and is sponsored by Caroline Lucas, leader of the UK Green Party in the Commons, Julian Huppert, Lib Dem MP for Cambridge and Mark Dukan, SDLP MP for Foyle. It states:
“That this House recognises that efforts by the press to identify a trans man and his child at the heart of a recent storygo well beyond any potential public interest; condemns the press’s chosen method of a hotline for identifying the person in question; further condemns the press for placing the child and family involved at such high risk of abuse and severe disruption to their lives; is concerned about other trans people and their families who have no connection to this case and yet are facing similar severe risks, such consequences being clearly identified in Trans Media Watch’s evidence of8 February 2012 to the Leveson Inquiry; calls on The Sun newspaper to immediately desist from urging readers to try to identify this trans man and his child, as it is not in the public interest; and further calls on the editor of The Sun to apologise for the fear and distress the newspaper’s hotline campaign has caused amongst many trans people and their families.”
Over the last week, national newspapers have been enthusiastically attempting to identify the trans man who, it was reported, was the first individual in the UK to undergo gender re-assignment and then later to become pregnant.
This search was undertaken by a number of newspapers, including the Daily Mail, which appears to have located the individual concerned at the weekend. It was also conducted with especial vigour by the Sun newspaper, which set up a hotline number on its website asking individuals to call if they knew the individual concerned and contacted a number of individuals and organisations within the trans community in efforts to establish the man’s identity.
The latter, according to trans campaigning group, Trans Media Watch, was conducted in a manner that amounted to harassment – a claim that has been robustly denied by David Dinsmore, Interim Managing Editor of the Sun newspaper.
However, concerns were also expressed at the wider effect on the trans male community, with several reports that individuals had been “outed” at work as a direct result of this campaign, harassed or generally made fearful for their own privacy and safety.
The Sun newspaper has not yet responded.
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