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Press Complaints Commission Dr Kate Stone

National newspapers admit they were wrong to report on gender status of Dr Kate Stone after New Year's stag attack


By Gillian West, Social media manager

May 10, 2014 | 2 min read

Six national newspapers including The Sun, the Daily Record and the Daily Mail have acknowledged they were wrong to mention Dr Kate Stone's transgender status in reports that she had been charged by a stag on New Year's Eve after she complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

Most national newspapers reported on the incident, which left Stone in a coma and fighting for her life, with many highlighting her transgender status in headlines.

Stone raised the issue with the PCC under Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors' Code of Practice which states details of a person's transgender status "must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story".

Speaking to the Press Gazette, the All About Trans group said: "For decades journalists have been in the habit of pointing out the transgender status of an individual as being sensationally newsworthy in itself. As the PCC notes, epithets such as 'sex swap', invented by and exclusively promoted by the tabloid press, can trivialise complex medical processes of gender transition.

"It is therefore extremely welcome that the papers, who got it wrong, have acknowledged that Kate's transgender status was not relevant to the story and agreed that 'sex-swap' was a highly inappropriate term to use."

Sarah Lennox adviser at All About Trans added: "If Apple CEO, Tim Cook, were involved in a car accident tomorrow, you wouldn't get headlines: 'Homosexual CEO in Car Accident' and you certainly wouldn't get: 'Pansy (or Faggot) CEO in Car Accident'. We're living in the 21st century and the press have rightly moved on from that kind of finger-pointing and name-calling. 'Sex-swap' headlines are not okay."

The Scottish Sun, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record and the Daily Mirror all resolved the issue by removing all references to Stone's gender from online articles, acknowledging her status had not been relevant to the articles. The Scottish Sun, The Sun and the Daily Record all conceded that the use of the term 'sex-swap' was inappropriate.

Press Complaints Commission Dr Kate Stone

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