On Saturday, 150 trans people and their allies held a vigil outside BBC TV Centre in London


Last week marked the annual observances of Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day Of Remembrance. Many activists called for us to “mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living” and part of that fight is to hold transphobic media outlets to accountability. Which is why it was so poignant that on this day of remembrance, some 150 trans people and allies held a vigil outside BBC TV Centre in London to demonstrate the trans lives lost over the last year across the world. In 2021, 375 trans people across the world have lost their lives which is a 7% increase from 2020 and has been marked as “the deadliest year” since records began. The number is sadly likely much lower than the actual amount as many trans deaths go unreported.

This year we’ve already seen a rise in hate crimes in the UK and the shocking results of the TransActualUK survey which upon many other horrors experienced by the trans community showed that: “93% of participants reported that transphobia within the media had an impact on their experience of transphobia from strangers in the street, 85% said it impacted how their family treats them.” Despite this being public knowledge, BBC News and other media outlets have continued to publish increasingly harmful and transphobic articles. The BBC also went on to quit the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme in the wake of its anti-trans article. In October, the media outlet took things a step further by targeting Brazil, a country with one of the highest trans murder rates in the world, with a Portuguese-language version of “one of the most inflammatory anti-trans articles” they have produced so far.

Those in attendance of the vigil this Saturday made it clear to the BBC that their careless transphobia was almost inevitably contributing to this staggering loss of life. Trans performers, including rapper Princess Armani, were also there to add their support. Organiser and speaker at the event, Natacha Kennedy, explained: “We were there first and foremost to mark the deaths, many otherwise unrecorded, of some 375 trans people across the world in the past 12 months. We were also there to send a clear message to the BBC, that the trans community will not be cowed by their bigotry and hatred towards us.”

On the topic of the controversial article, Natacha added: “Some very senior figures within the BBC today, including Director General, Tim Davie, and Head of News Fran Unsworth have bought into the misguided theory that in order to be effective, the BBC needs constantly to be ‘offending’ some people. We are not here because we were offended by the article, but because, by pushing it out to Brazil, a country with nearly 150 recorded murders of trans people this year, you can pretty much guarantee it will contribute to additional attacks on trans people. Even, to murders. What started out as a journalistic crime has become a journalistic atrocity, with the BBC literally targeting some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world in order to meet their managerial goals.”

Natacha went on to explain that despite not knowing whether Davie or Unsworth are “transphobic”, they are responsible for an organisational culture which allowed someone to decide that it was OK to translate the piece and push it out to Brazil, saying: “They should both be sacked.”

For further information on the Trans Day of Remembrance and how you can be an ally, check out TDOR.


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