Since August, All About Trans has been travelling across the UK delivering trans-led interactions with media and healthcare organisations. The series kicked off with BBC Newsnight in London, before zipping up to Leeds for a trans-led interaction with NHS England. A repeat interaction with staff from NHS England happened later in London, alongside meet-ups with the General Medical Council and Channel 5.
Before Christmas, it was over to meet NHS staff based in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, and we celebrated the new year with two interactions between trans people and BBC North West in January. So it seemed fitting that we bring locals together for a meeting with BBC Scotland in Glasgow. All the meetings were led by trained trans facilitators.
Jumping straight in
As interaction team members gathered in the lobby of Pacific Quay, BBC Scotland’s headquarters in Glasgow, there was lots of meeting and greeting of familiar faces. Trans and non-binary individuals came from a variety of organisations, including Scottish Transgender Alliance, Stonewall Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland as well as students from the local area.
“The most useful part for me was having my story listened to and to help people understand that trans matters are not just about transitioning.” Elaine, interaction team member and Creative Writing student
The facilitator for the day was Kate Adair, who has connections with BBC Scotland – appearing as part of their “The Social”. If you’ve not done so already, make sure to check out Kate’s short videos about trans matters!
There was a discussion about what the interaction team wanted to get out of the day and a top up of teas and coffees before the BBC participants arrived at lunchtime. After a quick intro from Kate, everyone had a general discussion in small groups – these covered non-binary identities, personal experiences, youth work and photography amongst other things.
Having an impact on reporting in the future
The BBC Scotland staff came from a range of departments and roles including Children’s, News, Talent, Radio, Senior Producers, Researchers and Editors.
Two staff from Radio were interested in talking further to the trans community about having more trans themed content on their programme. This was a common discussion, with the interaction team calling for more trans and non-binary voices in the media. It was clear that the News representatives had taken this on board as well.
“It was useful to learn more about problems trans people face [when] accessing healthcare. A great session – this will impact on our reporting in the future.” Andrew Browne, Editor, Reporting Scotland
There were conversations about having trans people involved in the media – either working behind the camera or presenting and acting. A number of producers said they were keen to encourage their teams to have more people from the community appearing in the media, but not just to talk about trans matters. (We mentioned the All About Trans Talent Register for anyone aspiring to or working in the media).
“[Most useful about the interaction was the] variety of lived experience; frankness, warmth, openness… A number of discussion elements can very easily be translated into programme/feature ideas.” Dave Howard, Producer, News (BBC Generation)
As there were people with a range of gender identities in the room, the BBC participants had the chance to get a better understanding of gender and non-binary identities. A representative from Scottish Transgender Alliance spoke about gender being a spectrum to staff from Children’s and “The Social”, who both took a lot away from the conversations.
“My understanding of trans experiences and gender spectrums has increased a lot.” Yvonne Jennings, Executive Producer, Childrens
When the interaction ended, the team talked about what they’d discussed with the BBC participants. Everyone agreed that there had been much learning and interesting chats, and were excited to see what happens next.