Letter raising concerns about The Guardian and The Observer’s increasingly transphobic coverage

Equating supporting trans rights with being a violent misogynist for clicks

Dear Guardian reader’s editor,

I am an ex-employee of the Guardian and am increasingly concerned by the rising tide of transphobia and hate speech published in your pages (and in the pages of your sister paper, The Observer) every single day.

You are probably already aware of the many links between transphobia and the far right. As with anti-queer hatred more generally, it is a common sign of radicalisation, and a lot of your writers – particularly the older ones, who it seems have become lost in a feedback loop of anti-trans obsession via their peers and social media echo chambers – have quite evidently lost their perspective on the fairly simple issue of whether trans people should be allowed, peacefully, to live their lives, with the same rights, dignity and protection that everyone else deserves and expects.

Your mania on this issue is driving away many readers, and it’s difficult to know exactly where it is coming from. Do these writers not have trans friends, sons, daughters? Where is this ever-increasing attack going to end? Which marginalised minority do you plan on targeting next? 

A little experiment for you: go through the legion anti-trans articles the Guardian and Observer have published over the past couple of years, overwhelmingly from older, white, and wealthy staffers and columnists. 

Replace trans with gay, and see if it’s something you would defend. 

You don’t even have the excuse of the BBC, with its determination to cover both sides of the issue, even if that’s climate change and climate change deniers, or trans people and people who do not wish for trans people to exist. You are supposed to embody liberal values, not parrot the same attack lines of the Murdoch press.

The latest article, by your columnist Catherine Bennett, attempts to parallel the activities of far-right online troll Andrew Tate with people in the Labour Party raising concerns about transphobia.

I am aware that opinion writers feel that their job is to make controversial statements to engender “debate”, but there is no debate here. On the one side, there are trans people just trying to live their lives, and on the other, there is bile, hatred, and bigotry from an organisation that has always claimed to be on the side of oppressed and marginalised people.

I am aware of many younger members of staff who remain at the Guardian who share my views on this. 

Please, in the name of everything that is decent, end this transphobic crusade. 

I remember the previous readers editor, Chris Elliott, with fondness, and recall the pride of editorial separation and desire to remain independent and speak truth to power.

This issue is one of those where the readers editor needs to hold editorial to account, and with great urgency.

With best regards,

James Walsh

Address Supplied

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