Not ideal

BBC insults women some more.

The BBC has rejected viewer complaints about the trans rapist Isla Bryson being referred to as a woman on a Scottish news programme. The corporation’s executive complaints unit (ECU) launched an investigation after concerns were raised about how Bryson was described in coverage of his conviction for raping two women.

A presenter said: “A woman has been found guilty of raping two women prior to changing her gender. 31-year-old Isla Bryson carried out the attacks in Clydebank and Glasgow in 2016 and 2019 while known as a man called Adam Graham. Bryson now identifies as a woman and is in the process of starting gender reassignment.”

Rubbing our noses in it. They didn’t have to say “A woman has” at the very start of the piece. They chose to. Rubbing our noses in it.

The viewers took issue with the fact the rapist was referred to as a woman, and female pronouns used, when Bryson did not have a gender recognition certificate. The BBC refused to uphold the complaints but said the wording used in the programme was “not ideal”.

I don’t give a flying fuck whether he has a “certificate” or not; he’s a rapist; he’s not a woman. I wouldn’t be fine with that insulting lede if he had had a “certificate” at the time.

The ruling said: “The ECU considered whether the programme met BBC standards of accuracy. The ECU agreed the opening line was not ideal (subsequent bulletins referred to ‘a trans woman’). However, it did not agree audiences had been misled on a material point. Anyone watching the programme would have been in no doubt as to the gender identity of Bryson at the point at which the crimes were committed.

But people don’t always “watch the programme” in the sense of staring fixedly at the screen while doing nothing else. People also listen to it while doing other things, with or without glances at the screen. It’s not a test. It shouldn’t be a matter of “Viewers knew if they were paying proper attention” as if the BBC were teaching first grade arithmetic.

“Notwithstanding the tension between the requirement to report accurately while using appropriately inclusive language, it was a matter of fact that Bryson was convicted as a woman.”

Azza. The court unfortunately went along with his insulting dodge, but it shouldn’t have, and neither should the BBC. The language was not “appropriately” “inclusive” – it’s not in any way “appropriately inclusive” to call a violent rapist a woman. Try being appropriately inclusive of women for a change.

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