Media coverage of sex and gender is often confused, biased, misleading or simply wrong.
This has become clearer than ever in recent weeks as the spotlight has fallen on Adam Graham, a man who decided he was a woman after appearing in court on rape charges. As in previous rape cases, his demand to be treated as a woman was greeted with immediate acquiescence, with the judge and lawyers referring to him as “she”. His defence lawyer even suggested that his “transition” – Graham had acquired a pink suitcase and jacket, long pink fingernails, and a blonde wig that hid his facial tattoos – weighed in the balance on the side of a “not-guilty” verdict:
“If you accept that evidence, that she is transitioning, that she is aiming to continue on the path to becoming female gender, that goes a long way to acquitting her of these [rape] charges.”
Edward Targowski KC
Graham was found guilty; he was then sent to a women’s prison while his sentence was decided. As a result it has finally come to wide attention that Scottish Prison Service has been accommodating prisoners on the basis of their self-declared gender identity since 2014.
Similar cases have been ignored by mainstream media in the past.
Sex Matters has produced a media handbook for journalists and editors, and today we launch our Bad Media Watch for readers and viewers, to advise them how best to make a complaint and to help us track bad reporting on sex and gender.
Both are intended to cover UK print, online and broadcast journalism, and are based on UK laws and media regulation.
(Ed: An Australian edition is urgently required!)