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The BBC is getting slammed for article claiming trans women rape lesbians

BBC, transgender women, rapists, lesbians, BBC
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The BBC is receiving a huge backlash for publishing an anonymously sourced article that quotes transphobic hate groups to claim that transgender women are threatening and shaming lesbians into having sex with them. LGBTQ organizations say that the article could be used to deny transgender rights by relying on the stereotype that trans women are sexual predators.

A BBC article is entitled “We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women” and was written by Caroline Lowbridge, who discussed a “study” of lesbians recruited by an anti-trans organization who claimed that they feel pressured to have sex with trans women – even if they’re already in relationships with cis women – out of fear of being called transphobic.

Related: Jennifer Lawrence cracks up at Chris Pratt’s transphobic joke on BBC show

The article profiled anonymous lesbians who said they’d received threats of violence, rape, and death for not wanting to sleep with trans women and for not “accept[ing] the idea that a penis can be a female sex organ.” Others said they had been accused of being “a genital fetishist, a pervert” or a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) for not wanting to sleep with trans women.

One woman claimed a trans woman pressured her into having sex when she was drunk and couldn’t “have given proper consent.” Another said a trans woman raped her. Yet another compared dating trans women to being forced into “conversion therapy” to change one’s sexual orientation.

The article cited an anti-trans lesbian group called Get the L Out! which ran a small survey of 80 women already affiliated with the group. The critically flawed study found that 56 percent of respondents reported being pressured or coerced to have sex with a trans woman.

The article also quoted the anti-trans U.K. group LGB Alliance which claimed, without proof, that a “sizable minority” of trans women pressure lesbians into sex. Both LGB Alliance and Get the L Out! actively campaign against transgender civil rights, and Get the L Out! has protested Prides because of their opposition to transgender rights.

Another woman in the article acknowledged that pressuring cis lesbians to have sex with trans women is an “extreme” view that doesn’t “reflect the views of trans women she knows in real life.”

The CEO of the U.K. LGBTQ group Stonewall provided a quote for the article stating that anyone who writes off an entire group of people should consider how “societal prejudices may have shaped your attractions.”

When asked about the article, the BBC told Pink News that the topic is a “complex subject” and that the article “went through our rigorous editorial process” before being published.

“It is important that journalism looks at issues – even where there are strongly held positions,” the BBC said, defending the article. “The BBC is here to ensure debate and to make sure a wide a range of voices are heard.”

The pro-trans watchdog group, Trans Media Watch (TMW), noted that some of the tweets quoted in the article were part of a “false flag” campaign intended to vilify the trans community as pressuring others into having sex with them.

The TMW wrote of the report, “Either the BBC have failed to do due diligence on this story – or the team producing this story have knowingly colluded in a disinformation campaign targeted at trans people… Irresponsible reporting like this is dangerous. It significantly and adversely impacts trans people’s day-to-day lives.”

An open letter opposing the BBC’s article, signed by 10,378 people and addressed to the BBC’s Upper Management and Editorial Staff, says, “The clear implication of the article and its headline is that transgender women as a minority group pose a threat to cisgender lesbians, and should therefore have their rights restricted in the U.K.”

The letter slams the BBC, saying, “There is basically no evidence for the claim that this is happening in any sort of numbers that would justify generalizing this as a widespread experience.”

“The [Get the L Out] survey results come from a group who believe transgender people should not feel safe at Pride, and should have to face misgendering, slurs, and claims that they are rapists. This is not an unbiased source,” the letter continues.

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt, Political Correspondent for Yahoo! News UK, criticized Lowbridge and the BBC for using the group’s survey as a source, Gay Times reported.

“That BBC article about trans people is disgusting, I won’t share it as I don’t want to promote it. But whoever commissioned it should be ashamed,” Batchelor-Hunt wrote. “An article based on a social media poll by a group hostile to trans people with a headline that will drum up hatred is despicable.”

The Independent’s science reporter Adam Smith also called the article “propaganda.”

The aforementioned open letter also notes that the article doesn’t interview any cis lesbians who “are attracted to transgender women.” It also states that the BBC article perpetuates a dangerous stereotype depicting trans people as sexual predators, a stereotype used to justify violence and legislative action against trans people.

“The BBC has been continually platforming anti-trans hate groups, and anti-trans perspectives, without covering the perspectives of the transgender community themselves. This is a particularly egregious example, but it’s certainly not an isolated incident,” the letter states near its conclusion.

The author of the article reportedly deleted her Twitter account 18 minutes after her article was published. Other U.K. trans allies have begun tweeting messages with the hashtag #CisWithTheT to show solidarity with the trans community in the face of the transphobic article.

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