Own-goal from Stonewall over transphobic Paddy Power campaign

In what appears to have been a colossally mis-judged own goal, an article published today in the Guardian and written by Stonewall UK’s media manager endorses the use of transphobia if it helps further their anti-homophobic campaign.

The trouble stems from an advertising campaign featuring run by Paddy Power in early 2012 that the Advertising Standards Authority banned, branding the campaign “likely to cause serious offense” and “irresponsible”. When it was announced that Stonewall were teaming up with Paddy Power with a rainbow laces campaign, it was met with some grumbling from trans activists, but given Stonewall’s long history of working with transphobes it was hardly news.

However, today’s article appears to be the first time Stonewall UK have said the transphobic actions of someone else are actually helpful in working against homophobia:

It was clear from the very start of the campaign that working with an organisation like Paddy Power would allow us to communicate directly with fans, players and clubs in a way we simply wouldn’t have been able to had we worked alone. This, coupled with Paddy Power’s reputation for eye-catching, and yes, at times risqué campaigns would allow us to draw attention to the issue of homophobia in football.

Just in case the reader was in any doubt what was meant by “risqué campaigns”, the link (Yes, that’s in the original article) points to another article discussing the banning of the transphobic Paddy Power adverts.

Looks like Stonewall UK are back to being S’onewall again.

Update: The author of the original article has now “unambiguously condemned” the Paddy Power transphobic campaign, stating that the link to stories about it was added by the Guardian after the article was written.


  1. Sigh, yet another example of how in the minds of many people, LGBTQI is just shorthand for “queer”.
    I was the token trans person in a panel discussion the other week where we were talking about how to best support LGBT young people living in rural areas, and everybody was “LGBT this, LGBT that” but were all just talking about sexuality and homophobia – and were quite shocked when I finally got a word in edgeways after almost 40 minutes and pointed out that I was the first person to actually mention the trans young people they were all T-ing about.
    I also, incidentally, had to call out Peter Tatchell on his use several times of the phrase “Whether you’re LGBT, or straight…” since obviously, many trans people are straight (he took it very well, bless him).
    I am regularly commenting on news items (Pink News is a big culprit) for describing support charities etc. as LGBT when they’re specifically geared towards supporting only LGB people, because these news items keep raising false hopes among trans readers.

    1. I’m on a panel with Peter Tatchell next week, if he repeats the “LGBT or straight” mistake I’ll be sure to put him right!

      Big problem with labelling LG(b) charities as LGBT-inclusive is also that the B and T organisations don’t get the funding or the consultation they would otherwise get.

      1. Yeah, just clear your throat at him and cock an eyebrow and he’ll probably correct himself :). The LGBT-vs-straight things is not uncommon – there’s a local LGBT youth group (with no out trans people in it, I wonder why?) who just put together a flyer with one of those “joke greetings cards” kind of captions with a glum-lloking woman, saying “Valerie realised with despair that she was too old and to heterosexual to go to [group name]…” When I asked them how they think a straight trans teenager would feel on reading that, they were (again) shocked, it just hadn’t occurred to them. I’m going to be volunteering with them, and I hope to draw some trans teens out of the woodwork by being there.

        And I quite agree about the other thing – it also means we can often end up with LG people being the apparent voice of B/T people too.

  2. When this was announced you could almost see it coming like a slow motion car crash. This really is a total facepalm.

    And yes Zoe, you are perfectly correct in saying that LGb organisations hoover up money with the result that T (as well as Q and I) organisations don’t get any. Something I am trying to work on…

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