Trans activists and campaigners have criticised The Daily Mail’s “reductive” coverage of the first transgender contestant on ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’.
The Mail Online ran an image of all of this year’s contestants with the headline “Can you guess which beauty queen from Britain’s Next Top Model was born a BOY?”
Jennie Kermode, chair of Trans Media Watch (TMW) told The Huffington Post UK they found this headline extremely disappointing.
“By inviting people to guess which of a group of women is trans, newspapers reduce trans women to their medical histories, encouraging readers to forget that they’re human beings,” said Kermode.
“This freak show mentality has no place in the modern world.
“We welcome the appearance of a trans contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model but look forward to the day when this is no longer seen as remarkable,” Kermode added.
Trans activist Fox Fisher felt the Mail’s coverage took away focus from model Talulah-Eve Brown’s achievement.
“First I’d like to congratulate the model involved,” Fisher said. “It is a big achievement for anyone to follow their dreams, let alone when you are trans person that is much more likely to have a harder time in society because of discrimination and stigma.
“The Daily Mail continues to fuel misconceptions that lead to stigma and discrimination, and they need to be aware of the impact that these things have.
“It is extremely important to be responsible when dealing with issues of minorities that still struggle on a daily basis because of ignorance.
“Violence against trans people and suicide rates are a real problem, and misconceptions fuelled by the media play a big part in public opinion and perception.”
Fisher added that the All About Trans project are having ongoing interactions with the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and the Mail Online to try and counter such reductive reporting, but said it often feels like they “take two steps forward and then one step back.”
Owl, a trans activist from Iceland, raised the issue of the way the Mail referred to the gender Brown was assigned at birth.
“The Daily Mail has yet again shown no respect to the trans community and the struggles we go through,” they said.
“Suggesting that the model was ever a boy is completely disregarding her gender identity and autonomy to self-identify.
“This title does nothing but belittle her and all trans women, by suggesting that they are not really women, or not as valid as cis women.
“This specific piece is practically saying ‘spot the freak’ – when are we going to stop seeing stories where trans people are used as shock value and they get the respect they deserve?”