What media professionals and All About Trans volunteers say:
Sarah Oliver Features Writer, Mail on Sunday
I was most surprised by the hostility faced by some members of the [trans] community from their families. The support I would seek from All About Trans from here on would be able to seek advice and guidance when I am covering a story about a trans person.
Joe Goodden Senior Producer Interactive & Learning, BBC Wales
[On my interaction with All About Trans] I learnt about non-binary identity, which I wasn't previously aware of. Also, the huge array of experiences and stories.
Ethan on meeting BBC Wales All About Trans volunteer
Media representations have a very real impact on so many aspects of our day-to-day lives and by meeting personally with the media like this, we can start to see changes happen.
Mark Bickerton Series Story Producer, Emmerdale, ITV
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.
Jake on meeting the Department for Education All About Trans volunteer
It was great to meet people who can make things happen. They are the people who pull the strings which I have to work [with] every day. It was nice to know they want to do something positive about the lack of trans education in schools.
Mark about being on an interaction with IPSO All About Trans volunteer
I was really nervous about coming here today. I almost didn't come. And now I'm very glad that I did, it opened me up a bit and made me more confident in myself. It's nice to have a reassurance and faith in humanity.
Helen Lewis Deputy Editor, New Statesman
It was great to chat individually with people: it felt very friendly & informal. And it was useful to have a range of ages, races & genders represented. It was useful to hear about how important the census is for accurate data - as government funding is distributed on this basis. And it was eye opening to hear about some of the basic problems, like toilet use. It would be helpful to keep in touch as issues arise.
Megan on meeting Hollyoaks All About Trans volunteer
The relaxed atmosphere and the fact it was held on set with [the] cast gave me a unique insight into their working environment and what they expected to achieve. [It was] so important to have that relaxed environment. The opportunity to hear other trans experiences was brilliant for self-development and self-awareness.
Cathy Newman Channel 4 News Presenter, journalist, The Telegraph’s Wonder Women, FactCheck blog
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.
Robin Esser Executive Managing Editor, The Daily Mail
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.
Charlie on an interaction with IPSO All About Trans volunteer
In the interaction, I think I was just most surprised that these people we're so open and accepting, because to be honest if I saw most of the guys on the tube or in the street I would have thought they would be...someone who might be a bit transphobic, so its nice to know that not everyone is [transphobic] and that there are some good guys out there. It left me feeling really positive about the world.
Lauren Heeley Researcher, Hollyoaks
Our working relationship has been really effective and I would like for this to continue; advice on scripts and storyline points has been invaluable...I really enjoyed the group work as it gave me chance to get to know people better and hear their individual stories.
Lewis on meeting with Hollyoaks All About Trans volunteer
Hollyoaks treated me as they would any other worker – why wouldn’t they? I had such a positive experience with them. I’m...leaving with new films for my show-reel and new friends. To think all of this came out of one All About Trans interaction is incredible.
Owen Jones Journalist
Paris Lees is passionate about winning trans allies through the impressive awareness raising project All About Trans.
Cleo Bicat Script Researcher, EastEnders
What surprised me most was the fact that everyone felt that it wasn’t a choice to be transgender and a problem of society’s perception rather than an internal struggle. If we do a story with a transgender character it would be very useful for us to contact you!
Michael on meeting the Scotland Herald All About Trans volunteer
As well as helping [the media professionals] to understand trans identities, the interaction challenged some of my own prejudices. I had prepared myself for difficult questions to the point that I expected inappropriate ones, but [individuals I spoke with] were both really understanding, and keen to hear what we had to say.
Piers Bradford Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio One & 1Xtra
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.
Ian Critchley Independent Consultant, former BBC Head of Creative Resources
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)
Edward on meeting the Argus All About Trans volunteer
We were excited and giddy when we left, [but] it is hard to know what impression we left them with. If nothing more, hopefully that trans people are real people, living in Brighton, studying, working, and muddling on through their lives trying to figure stuff out like everyone else.
Jane Hill Presenter, BBC News
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.
Ellen Branagh Chief Reporter, Press Association
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.
Juno on meeting with the Department for Education All About Trans volunteer
The experiences [volunteers] shared had a real impact on the members of the Department for Education...Questions around ‘believing’ pupils and ‘accepting’ their choices as authentic seemed to promote genuinely positive debate that could enact change.
Tom Peck News Reporter, The Independent
Thanks to my @AllAboutTrans training, can confirm @independent and @mailonline have got Chelsea Manning story right.
Vicky Allan Features Writer, The Scotland Herald
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.
Jesse on meeting BBC Editorial Policy All About Trans volunteer
The interaction was really great fun and it’s fantastic to see [All About Trans] making an impact in media representation of trans people. I really appreciated that the focus was on positive trans experience and positivity in general which is actually quite rare with trans organisations! Also, all the other volunteers were really welcoming even though I hadn’t done an interaction before, and it was great to see so many people on board with the project.
Mark Nicol Defence Editor, Mail on Sunday
It's been very interesting, very educative. It's all been very human and personal without being schmaltzy.