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Clarkson and Littlejohn’s anti-trans columns are pure hate

Clarkson and Littlejohn’s anti-trans columns are pure hate

Jeremy Clarkson attacked trans kids and their parents.

Richard Littlejohn and Jeremy Clarkson, two leading British newspaper columnists and broadcasters, are on the attack against trans people – again.

In his latest diatribe in The Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson brushes aside the deep-rooted feelings of some children about their gender identity by castigating their parents for ‘indulging their whims’.

Clarkson presented the BBC’s flagship Top Gear motoring TV show for 13 years but was let go by the BBC after verbally and physically attacked a Top Gear producer while filming on location.

He’s now been taken up by Amazon to host a similar show. Predictably they are already facing calls to sack him over his anti-trans comments.

Just recently Clarkson sought out a parent at a party to vent his opposition to children being supported through gender transition.

There is no evidence any parent pursues a ‘lunatic life’ just to ‘poison the mind of a child’ about gender transition, as Clarkson put it in his Sunday Times column.

No parent is asking doctors to ‘lop off’ their boy’s ‘todger’, nor is there evidence of many people regretting their transition.

In fact, a Parliamentary report has just pointed to significant evidence of people taking their lives or contemplating suicide because they feel trapped, unable to be their true selves.

Clarkson doesn’t have the faintest idea of the tough journeys people go through. That was evident in December 2011 when he commented on The BBC One Show about train delays owing to incidents when people have taken their lives.

He said: ‘Trains should resume their journey as soon as possible following a suicide and leave the body parts for scavenging animals.’

These interventions are cheap and nasty but columnists like Clarkson still persist with their mindless rants – encouraged by their editors. If their child was trans or gay, I suspect they would mock, turn their back and not care that suicide might be a consequence.

It comes a few weeks after a distasteful attack by Littlejohn in his column in the Daily Mail.

He was commenting on plans being discussed in parliament to remove gender markers from passports.

In a lurid flight of fancy, Littlejohn speculated this would lead to jihadist terrorist sneaking over Middle Eastern borders under the guise of being UK trans citizens.

With barometric passports and diversity of people’s presentation, gender markers aren’t necessary. Their absence isn’t going to create airport chaos, nor a rampage of cross-dressing transgender terrorists.

Let’s not forget it was Littlejohn’s column in The Daily Mail that humiliated trans teacher Lucy Meadows three years ago, tragically leading to her suicide.

At the inquest into her death, the coroner, Michael Singleton, stated press coverage of her gender reassignment was ‘ill informed bigotry’.

He said Littlejohn, in his article, had ‘carried out what can only be described as a character assassination, having sought to ridicule and humiliate Lucy Meadows and bring into question her right to pursue her career as a teacher.’

Opposition also comes from renowned feminists like Germaine Greer, who along with her disciples are probably lurking around the corner to claim yet again that trans women aren’t women at all.

Expressing their hatred may be considered by some as a legitimate pursuit, but the impact can be devastating on people struggling with their gender identity, as well as their families and friends.

The industry regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, is as useless as its predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission, at dealing with this.

They refuse to address any article which impacts a group of people, only those which target their hate at a named individual. If you pour hate on one trans person, you risk reprimand. If you target us all, you get away with it.

Yet there is hope.

A step-change in gender diversity was indicated by the recent findings from the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee which looked at the situation trans people face in Britain today.

It probably isn’t going to be a game-changer, but it certainly provides the roots from which progress can flourish.

There is hope too in the way the report and its findings were covered. Much of the media has taken an inquiring approach, if not enthusiastically supporting the recommendations. At least there is growing recognition that society is embracing difference.

I was the subject of a complaint against The Sun newspaper, upheld by the Independent Press Standards Organisation against another columnist, Rod Liddle. In his column, he mocked and ridiculed me on the grounds of disability and being transgender.

So it may be surprising for me to comment favorably on Britain’s most popular tabloid. But The Sun surprised me by speaking of ‘a seismic shift in attitudes is occurring’ on attitudes to gender diversity in its coverage of the report.

Likewise, the widely acclaimed social commentator, Polly Toynbee endeavored in The Guardian last week to encourage feminists to ‘welcome anyone into the sisterhood, which is already furiously diverse.’ That would indeed be progress, but it will have to be accompanied by fairer portrayal in the media.

Emily Brothers was a former Programme Head at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, responsible for health and social care policy. She came out as trans in December 2014. She was Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam in the 2015 General Election and is currently standing in the London Assembly Elections which take place in May 2016.