A comment I sent in to the BBC’s “Thinking Allowed” last week on Transgender issues has been read out on air. I’ll publicise this here mostly because I just love the inflection the presenter has given my words. I don’t think I could have done better myself! Start from 13:45, it’s about 30 seconds long.
The programme I’m commenting on is the one from 2nd May and Zowie Davy’s piece is towards the end. Here is the full text of my comment – the second paragraph was read out on air.
I was somewhat surprised on today’s show to hear basic linguistic errors being made by both the presenter and the academic author, Zowie Davy.
As someone who has apparently spent some time working with trans people, I would have expected Zowie to understand that “Transsexual” is an adjective, not a noun. You would not say “John is a black” or “Sue is a disabled” as that is very othering. Similarly, you should talk about someone being “a transsexual person”, lest one cause serious offence.
I hope that Zowie’s overall research is better informed than her use of language would suggest!