Last night was the launch of Trans Media Watch’s Memorandum of Understanding with Channel 4, which for anyone used to Trans events would have seemed a little unusual, hosted as it was at Channel 4’s HQ in their James-Bond-esque underground bar and cinema. I do feel a little inadequate trying to explain the mood of the room and significance of the event as it really would need the eloquence of someone such as Laurie Penny to do it justice.
This was a novel event to be at because in recent years, when it comes to big LGBT events, I’m more used to standing outside waving a banner than being inside in the warmth with wine and canapÃ©s. But Trans Media Watch achieved something truly remarkable with this MoU, aimed to end transphobia in the media and promote more accurate, positive images of transgender people as a whole. As anyone who has been involved in Trans campaigning will know, we can be a very fractious and transient community so it’s good to finally have a cause that I believe everyone can rally behind.
We had several speeches not just from TMW, C4 and the BBC but also from a Government Minister (Yes, a Government Minister turned up and gave a speech about Trans issues at a Trans event organised by Trans folk! How cool is that?) and Channel 4 showed a few clips from “4thought”, a series of short vox pops that include trans folk and I understand will be going out during prime time some time soon.
It was good to finally meet up with many people I know from Trans campaigning that I have either not have the chance to meet or I have not seen for some time. As well as many people from Channel 4 and TransMediaWatch, we had Lynne Featherstone MP (LibDem, Minister for Equalities who gave a speech); Dru Marland and Richard Beard (Becoming Drusilla); Victoria Aitkin (Jason Costello, Hollyoaks); Juliet Jacques (Writes about her transition for the Guardian); David Allen Green (Lawyer, Journalist and Orwell Prize Judge, also gave a speech); Christine Burns MBE (“Just Plain Sense” podcast and co-founder of Press For Change); Dr Stuart Lorimer and Dr Leighton Seal (Charing Cross GIC); Roz Kaveney (Journalist, Author and ex-vice-chair of Liberty); Terry and Bernard Reed OBE (GIRES); Dr Richard Curtis (Transhealth); Dr Evan Harris (President of the LGBT LibDems); representatives from the Government Equalities Office and Scottish Governments; at least one person from the BBC (Who I understand will also be signing the MoU, if they haven’t already) and video clips from Caroline Lucas MP (Greens) and Julie Hesmondhalgh. (Hayley Cropper, Coronation Street). Apologies to anyone who was there who I’ve missed. There were enough people about that I’m sure I’ve neglected to mention someone significant!
And finally, two quotes from the event:
“There is no good reason why, just because a Trans person is caught up in a story, it becomes newsworthy” – David Allen Green
“This is game changing” – Everyone