A new report on transphobia in the media reveals that poor representation of trans people is still a problem, potentially fuelling prejudice.
Social justice organisation Rainbow Rights Watch’s report, Translating Transphobia, analysed portrayals of trans Australians in the press between 2016 and 2017.
The report noted frequent use of prejudicial language, slurs, and inaccuracies in reporting on trans issues.
It found “a lack of fairness and balance in reporting, especially around matters of medical best practice”.
“The lack of transgender representatives in editorial decision-making positions, coupled with a strong resistance amongst some publishers to give any voice to liberal transgender views, means most transgender Australians are effectively silenced in the press, and Australians are exposed to a very narrow range of views on transgender issues”, the report reads.
It found that articles “frequently reduced transgender Australians to objects devoid of human qualities”.
The report discussed a number of media stories that disclosed inappropriate personal details about trans people, leading to vilification and violent threats online.
Rainbow Rights Watch said it believes the prevalence of media misinformation and moral panic around trans issues contributes to public prejudice and discrimination.
The report linked prejudice fuelled by poor trans representation to problems including inadequate access to healthcare, difficulty finding employment, and lack of acceptance for trans people.
Rainbow Rights Watch made a number of recommendations for writers and publishers in the report.
The recommendations included avoiding reporting on a person’s trans status where it is not relevant, avoiding disclosing details such as a trans person’s medical history or former name, seeking out and giving voice to trans views, and responding promptly and fairly to complaints from trans people.