Trans Media Watch

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Trans Media Watch
Logo: four differently coloured bulbs in a circle
Trans Media Watch logo

Trans Media Watch (TMW) is a British charity which aims to ensure "that trans and intersex people are treated with accuracy, dignity and respect by media organisations in the UK." It started as a Facebook group in 2009, collecting examples of transphobia in the UK mainstream media and providing information. It comments and advises on issues related to the representation of the transgender community in the United Kingdom, working with regulatory bodies, broadcasters and press organisations, independent production companies, journalists, regulators and politicians to improve the representation of transgender and intersex people in the media.

TMW also offers advice to transgender people who have been approached by the media.


In 2009, TMW published 'How Transgender People Experience the Media',[1] a research piece exploring how transgender people feel about media portrayal. The research concluded that widespread humiliating and demeaning media characterisation of trans people was playing a significant role in encouraging societal prejudice and abuse towards the community.

Memorandum of Understanding[edit]

In March 2011, UK broadcaster Channel 4 became the inaugural signatory of TMW's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),[2] a document which calls for better media representation of trans people.[3] In May 2011, Women in Journalism became a signatory, acknowledging the death of eminent human rights lawyer and trans woman Sonia Burgess, and its subsequent prejudicial media coverage, as stimulus to do so.[4] The Observer newspaper also took notice of TMW due to Burgess' death, saying there is a "need for sensitivity and respect" when dealing with transgender stories.[5]

At the MoU launch, held at Channel 4's London headquarters, Lynne Featherstone, the junior Minister for Equality, said "Congratulations to Trans Media Watch for this brilliant initiative and to Channel 4 for being the first (hopefully of many) broadcasters to sign up." [6]

Trans Media Action[edit]

In September 2011, Trans Media Watch and On Road Media launched the Trans Media Action initiative, with support from the BBC and Channel 4. Trans Media Action comprised a series of workshops and other initiatives designed to create contact and better understanding between the transgender community and journalists.

Leveson Inquiry[edit]

In December 2011, Trans Media Watch made a submission to the The Leveson Inquiry into the "culture, practice and ethics of the press," in which it described the "unethical and often horrific and humiliating treatment of transgender and intersex people by the British press."[7]

In February 2012, a representative of Trans Media Watch gave evidence in person to the Inquiry .[8]

Notable members[edit]

  • Paris Lees, journalist and campaigner[9] was a member of Trans Media Watch from 2010 to 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How Transgender People Experience the Media" (PDF). Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Geen, Jessica (15 March 2011). "Channel 4 signs agreement to treat transgender issues sensitively". Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Memorandum of Understanding" (PDF). Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "An evening of comedy and tragedy leads to a fitting legacy « Fiona Bawdon". 17 May 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Stephen Pritchard (23 January 2011). "The readers' editor on... reporting transgender issues | From the Observer | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Trans Media Watch and Channel 4". Lynne Featherstone. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "The British Press and the Transgender Community" (PDF). Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Leveson Inquiry" (PDF). Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Reuben, Matthew (17 January 2013). "Trans role models: Janet Mock, Paris Lees, CN Lester and Luke Anderson". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 

External links[edit]