Mail, Telegraph, Sun, Mirror and Record admit wrong to mention transgender status of stag attack victim

Six national newspapers have acknowledged it was not relevant to state that a Cambridge academic who was attacked by a charging stag was transgender.

Dr Kate Stone was charged by the cornered animal, which gored her in the neck and left her in a coma and fighting for her life, in Scotland on New Year’s Eve.

Most national newspapers in England and Scotland reported on the incident, and six – the Daily Record, Daily Mirror, The Sun and Scottish Sun, The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail – highlighted her transgender status.

Headlines included “Deer spears sex-swap Kate”, “Sex swap scientist in fight for life” and “Sex-swap scientist gored by stag”.

Dr Stone (pictured above delivering a TED lecture in the US) complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the coverage of the six newspapers was in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. This states that details of a person’s transgender status “must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story”.

The All About Trans group said: “For decades journalists have been in the habit of pointing to 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 trivialize 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.”

All About Trans adviser Sarah Lennox said: "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."

Here are each of the PCC resolution statements:

The Scottish Sun

Dr Kate Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had breached the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant considered the use of the term “sex swap” in reference to her transgender status to be pejorative, in breach of Clause 12 (i) of the Code, and, furthermore, that the references to her gender status at all in the articles were irrelevant to the story, in breach of Clause 12 (ii) of the Code. She considered the reference to her former name intruded into her private life in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the references to the complainant’s transgender status from the online articles, as the newspaper acknowledged that her gender status had not been relevant to the story and that the use of the term “sex swap” in the articles had been inappropriate. (Cl 3 and 12)

The Daily Telegraph

Dr Kate Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had breached the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant considered that the reference to her transgender status in the article was irrelevant to the story, in breach of Clause 12 (ii) of the Code.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the reference to the complainant’s transgender status from the online article, as the newspaper acknowledged that it had not been relevant to the story. (Cl 12)

The Sun

Dr Kate Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had breached the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant considered the use of the term “sex swap” in reference to her transgender status to be pejorative, in breach of Clause 12 (i) of the Code, and, furthermore, that the references to her gender status at all in the articles were irrelevant to the story, in breach of Clause 12 (ii) of the Code.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the references to the complainant’s transgender status from the online articles, as the newspaper acknowledged that her gender status had not been relevant to the story and that the use of the term “sex swap” in the articles was inappropriate. (Cl 12)

Daily Mail

Dr Kate Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had breached the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant considered that the reference to her transgender status in the article was irrelevant to the story, in breach of Clause 12 (ii) of the Code.

 The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the reference to the complainant’s transgender status from the online article, as the newspaper acknowledged that it had not been relevant to the story. (Cl 12)

Daily Record

Dr Kate Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had breached the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant considered the use of the term “sex swap” in reference to her transgender status to be pejorative, in breach of Clause 12 (i) of the Code, and, furthermore, that the references to her gender status at all in the articles were irrelevant to the story, in breach of Clause 12 (ii) of the Code.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the references to the complainant’s transgender status from the online articles, as the newspaper acknowledged that her gender status had not been relevant to the story and that the use of the term “sex swap” in the articles was inappropriate. (Cl 12)

Daily Mirror

Dr Kate Stone complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had breached the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant considered that the references to her transgender status in the articles were irrelevant to the story, in breach of Clause 12 (ii) of the Code. She also considered the reference to her former name intruded into her private life in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the references to the complainant’s transgender status from the online articles, as the newspaper acknowledged that her gender status had not been relevant to the story. In light of the above, the newspaper also acknowledged that in these circumstances  (Cl 3 and 12)

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