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Protesters storm paper over trans hate article

Angry readers picketed The Dominion Post in Wellington, New Zealand, after it printed a 'dangerous' article about trans parents
Protesters picketed Wellington's Dominion Post over anti-trans article
Photo by Emily Haskell

Outraged protesters marched into the offices of a newspaper in Wellington, New Zealand, today, accusing the publication of transphobia.

The rally was organized by rights group The Queer Avengers after The Dominion Post printed columnist Rosemary McLeod's opinion piece 'Why I feel for the kids of ego-trippers'.

In the article, which was featured in yesterday's edition of the paper and criticizes trans parents, McLeod claims trans men are women and repeatedly uses 'he/she' when referring to a transgender person.

Anger soon erupted on Twitter and Facebook and this lunchtime saw dozens of people gather outside the paper's offices waving banners reading 'Transphobia is bullshit'.

The protesters then marched into the building, continuing to chant 'Hey, hey, ho ho transphobia's got to go' and 'We're here, we're queer, we're fabulous, don't fuck with us'.

'They're just profiting off bigotry,' says Queer Avengers activist Emily Haskell.

'It happens throughout the media and we won't stand for it.'

One furious reader, Chrisana Love, posted her views on the protest's Facebook page, saying 'Another willfully ignorant, entitled boomer spouting a bunch of dangerous, uneducated and straight up unprofessional shit in the mainstream media.'

In their own coverage of the story, Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney defended the column, saying it was originally published on dompost.co.nz and in print was clearly identified as opinion or comment.

She said: 'The piece represents Ms McLeod's opinion and, while I accept that not everyone would agree with it, and may even have been affronted by it, I believe that when balanced against the principle of free expression, it would have been going a step too far to have banned it.'

However, Michelle Joy Walmsley posted on Facebook that the decision to publish the article was 'shameful'.

She said: 'It's a terrible thing that people still hold these views but that a mainstream newspaper with wide circulation felt it was appropriate to publish this ill-informed utter nonsense, which by the way is appallingly written as well, is beyond my comprehension.'

And on Twitter, Craig Ranapia, @CMRanapia, said: 'I'll break it down for you @DomPost in tiny words. McLeod's "opinions" are her own. Decision to run editorial #transphobia yours. OWN IT.'

Campaigners are now demanding the newspaper give offended LGBT readers the write to respond by publishing their letters of complaint.

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