The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has removed court reporting guidelines described as “transphobic” from its website following heavy criticism.
The guidelines, which advised journalists to refer to trans defendants by their birth name and pronouns, were published by the university’s journalism department on Monday.
The guidelines were accompanied by a 15-page report reviewing “138 reports of court cases involving 39 transgender defendants” in the media.
Among the guidelines, the report advised journalists to “Make clear the biological sex of the defendant high up in the story” and “Use both birth and trans names where available, particularly for sex offences”.
Instructing reporters to “avoid using definitive words without caveat”, the authors wrote: “Headlines which use the word ‘woman’ to describe a transwoman implies that the writer, and publication, agrees with the proposition ‘Transwomen are women’. This is an opinion, not a fact…
The accompanying report claimed: “Defendants are incentivised by the justice system to claim to be trans, and may do so without any plans to change gender.”
Because of the purported incentivisation, the authors advised journalists that: “To refer to a biological male with female pronouns is to tacitly agree with their claim that they are a woman or transwoman. Owing to the incentives of the justice system, this may not be the case.
“Using their chosen pronouns is to collude in their possible deception.”
Binns confirmed to Press Gazette that she had been in contact with the university about the backlash.
“I am confident that the full research paper, and the guidelines it suggests, is in no way transphobic. In fact, I am motivated partly by concerns about the demonisation of the trans community. These suggested guidelines are intended to protect the trans community from being wrongly associated with crime, particularly with sex offenders, who may claim to be trans after arrest.”