Six national British newspapers have been forced to admit their mistake after reporting on a trans woman who was attacked by a charging stag.
On New Year’s Eve last year in Scotland, Dr Kate Stone was gored in the neck by the animal and left her in a coma.
The antler had gone through Stone’s airway, fracturing her neck, smashing her throat and damaged the nerves to her vocal cords.
The scientist, notable for being one of the only trans people to have ever spoken at the TED conference, a place for the world’s leading thinkers, is thankfully alive and recovering.
The Sun, the Scottish Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Record were the newspapers forced to admit their mistakes over the reporting of the story.
‘Sex swap scientist gored by stag’ was one of the headlines used, with others including ‘Deer spears sex-swap Kate’ and ‘Sex swap scientist in fight for life.’
Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission saying the coverage of the six newspapers was in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
This states a person’s trans status ‘must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story’.
The Press Gazette reports all six were forced to admit they should not have mentioned Stone is trans and those who used ‘sex-swap’ said they recognized the term was ‘inappropriate’.
Following the ruling by the PCC, the Daily Mail interviewed Stone about her recovery. In the article, it did not mention her being transgender once.
‘It’s a miracle I survived – especially when you consider that if a car hits a stag, the car’s usually a write-off,’ she told the paper.
‘But I believe it was part of my path in life – and part of that path was that I survived. I suppose I could wallow in what’s happened, feel sorry for myself and ask “Why me?” but I don’t see the point.’
Helen Belcher, of Trans Media Watch, said she was ‘delighted’ Stone achieved a good result.
She told GSN: ‘Newspapers have a history of repeatedly breaching their own Editors' Code when reporting trans issues.
‘It should have been obvious that Kate's gender history was not relevant to her gory story.
‘Let's hope this is not just another decision that is subsequently forgotten by the papers involved.’