UK & trans issues

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Bodies, Gender, Law, Pop Culture
Tags: , ,

The UK really isn’t doing well on trans issues at the moment. The media behaviour in the case concerning Sonia Burgess’ death has been appalling – first the continued misgendering of Sonia Burgess herself, followed by misgendering of the woman charged with her murder, Nina Kanagasingham. The judge, Timothy Pontius, outed Ms. Kanagasingham in court according to today’s reports, and she has been remanded in a men’s prison.

When will authorities realise that a trans woman, no matter the crime she is charged with, is not a man, and is not safe in a men’s prison? It doesn’t seem that hard a concept… Also, as said in the above linked page on Bird of Paradox, the UK’s principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ should preclude this sort of treatment.

Also, Mikki Nicholson has won the UK Scrabble Championship. She has been misgendered by most of the UK papers, including the Times, which I’d have expected more of. There have been a range of reporting phrases used – the indirect reportage of her saying that she had been diagnosed as a ‘woman in a man’s body’ by a psychologist, and the Times’ memorable (shameful) use of the word ‘crossdresser.’ However, it is good to see that the Guardian has edited its article to use the correct pronoun, although shameful that they did not use it to start with. Well done, Mikki Nicholson, and may you always have the courage to be yourself and the talent and fortune to be successful.

  1. Alex says:

    It seems to be more important to you that David/SOnia and Nina/ ?? was “misgendered” — which seems to be about how he/she was described, than the David/Sonia was murdered.. died horribly under a train. I wonder about your priorities here.

  2. JKBC says:

    This post is on the subject of the reaction to the event rather than the event itself. It was, of course, a terrible thing to happen to anyone; but that is not what I was writing about. Misgendering a person is not a trivial issue, *whoever* they are, whatever has happened to them, whatever they have done. My priorities are that justice be done without disrespecting anybody. I cannot affect the course of justice (not a judge, not on the jury, not in the police etc) but I *can* call out the disrespect of the media and the system. So I do.

    (Misgendering is not ‘how someone is described’. It is a gesture of extreme disrespect, and can result in massive harm.)

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