What media professionals say:


It was useful in challenging perceptions, education, suggesting story ideas and what surprised me most was that there is no need to define trans people by their surgery or lack of surgery.

Cathy Newman Channel 4 News Presenter, journalist, The Telegraph’s Wonder Women, FactCheck blog
Mark Bickerton

I found the WHOLE interaction useful and enjoyable, though the one-to-one sessions proved the most invaluable in getting to know each other. I was reassured that nothing said in the meeting was to be deemed “the wrong thing” and when I made a mistake in terms of calling a person he or she wrongly, I apologised for my slip and the error was met with good humour…we should continue this dialogue and I’d welcome your input if and when we play an Emmerdale story about a transgender character.

Mark Bickerton Series Story Producer, Emmerdale, ITV

I think the best thing I got out of our lunch was meeting you all. I am aware that some are prejudiced against transgender people but I am not one of those which you may have gathered. The second thing was to hear that you are preparing a briefing note for all journalists on the phrases to be used and not used when transgender people are in the news. I look forward to seeing the revised advice.

Robin Esser Executive Managing Editor, The Daily Mail
Sean Hancock 1

I thought that it might have been a bit preachy and that there would be an agenda. This was not the case however…The stories about overcoming obstacles and the courage involved were very inspiring. The most useful part of the interaction was meeting people in a relaxed environment and just hearing their amazing stories.

Sean Hancock Executive Commissioning Producer, BBC Entertainment

I genuinely couldn’t have hoped for a better guide than Fox, who joined me for an hour today, and was a patient and illuminating presence. He was also a top bloke and I hope you enjoyed our encounter as much as I did.

James O’Brien Journalist and presenter, London’s Biggest Conversation 97.3FM

I enjoyed listening to people’s stories and what surprised me most was everyone’s resilience and commitment.

Yvonne Roberts Chief Leader Writer, The Observer

The language I would use around the subject would be different and I also think that I have a greater understanding which I’ll carry with me and hopefully pass onto other journalists.

Ally Oliver Assistant Editor, Closer Magazine

I expected to be lectured but this was an opportunity to have an open and honest chat with some trans people. I found it very insightful, and has led to several programme ideas which have made it on air.

Piers Bradford Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio One & 1Xtra

I’d expected it to be quite a formal, possibly confrontational meeting but chatting to Reubs and Paris about their own experiences and why we shouldn’t refer to ‘before’ and ‘after’ but rather to look as a person’s gender as a continuum with the defining factor being the moment they could properly express themselves. Also, realising that when you haven’t worked in a newsroom you aren’t necessarily aware for the pressures that we work under (which can lead to mistakes if not errors of judgement!)

Charlotte Philby News Reporter, The Independent
Ian Critchley 1

The experience gave great promise of a better awareness of the issues facing the trans community. Having spent some time listening to people’s stories we came to the view that the best way to help move things on was to think about some kind of bursary or writing competition which would give the opportunity to explore things further. (On the Trans Comedy Award)

Ian Critchley BBC Head of Creative Resources

I found the most useful aspect to be hearing directly from trans people and I realised that even I, as a gay person, can improve my use of language – therefore the newsroom as a whole could learn a huge amount.

Jane Hill Presenter, BBC News

I found the most useful part of the interaction; chatting one on one with people and I learnt about the feeling of the invisibility of the community and words that are offensive.

Daniel Fisher World Affairs News Editor, BBC

It was actually just really useful to meet some young trans people, which was certainly a first for me, and to get the chance to talk frankly, especially about the way stories are covered and the kinds of stories we might be able to work together on.

Ellen Branagh Chief Reporter, Press Association

Thanks to my @AllAboutTrans training, can confirm @independent and @mailonline have got Chelsea Manning story right.

Tom Peck News Reporter, The Independent

I found how informal the process was, very useful. As was being able to be completely open, without fear of saying the wrong thing. Being able to speak one on one with a member of the group enabled us to go into more depth, and sharing the information afterwards meant we could learn a little bit from everyone in the group.

Rick Laxton Head of Casting, Hollyoaks
David Leask

I think I was a very naïve about one thing. It had never really occurred to me that there were people who made assumptions about the sexual preferences of trans people, e.g. she has become a woman so she must fancy men. But I was wrong: this does seem to still be a widely held assumption.

David Leask Chief Reporter, The Herald
Vicky Allan

The wide and rather wonderful diversity of gender identity surprised me the most. I found it really refreshing. In the first place I was surprised by the use of the pronoun "they", since (probably a bit ignorantly) I hadn't heard it used before - but quickly I got used to the idea of it. I thought the idea of just sitting in small groups and talking, without any fixed agenda, was great. It felt like we could ask whatever kind of questions we want.

Vicky Allan Features Writer, The Herald
Laura Halligan

I think I was most surprised by the amount of misunderstanding that still prevails in society today. Being part of the LGBT community myself, I feel that I maybe have an awareness that isn’t necessarily commonplace. In saying that, there is still plenty for me to learn.

Laura Halligan Researcher, Hollyoaks