It’s time to stop saying ‘her penis’
The press is distorting the truth to appease trans ideologues.
The strange phrase ‘her penis’ keeps cropping up in the papers these days, usually in reports about the sex crimes of trans-identified offenders.
A recent example appeared in the Daily Mail last week, where we learned about a ‘Transgender woman who exposed her “penis and testicles” to police at her front door’. Last year, a Metro article was memorably headlined: ‘Ex-soldier exposed her penis and used wheelie bin as sex toy in public.’
The phrase ‘her penis’ does a major disservice to readers. It is downright absurd to use female pronouns when referring to body parts that only men can possess. What’s more, crimes like indecent exposure are almost always perpetrated by men. Readers can often work out pretty quickly that the suspect in question is a man, usually from an attached photo or a caveat several paragraphs into an article. But there is still no good reason for newspapers, which are expected to at least strive for objectivity and truthfulness, to engage in this act of deception.
Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable to read such a thing in a newspaper. There would have been no doubt that the suspects involved are men. But in recent years, most media outlets have adopted a policy of using trans people’s preferred pronouns in almost all circumstances. Indeed, research shows that most articles in the UK press about trans individuals defer to their preferred pronouns. This is even the case for newspapers that are generally critical of trans ideology, such as the right-leaning tabloids.
It is likely that outlets are following guidelines laid out by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which suggests that journalists should use ‘the pronouns the individual uses to describe themselves’.
Although the IPSO guidelines are clearly influenced by trans ideology, they do not state that preferred pronouns must be used at all times. Many publications are likely erring on the side of caution, for fear of having a complaint to IPSO upheld against them. Other outlets will be demonstrating their commitment to trans ideology. No doubt some editors really do think it is more important not to ‘misgender’ a sex offender than it is to report basic facts.
However, the recent controversy about the trans prisoner, Isla Bryson, formerly known as Adam Graham, may make some outlets think twice about always using preferred pronouns. Bryson is serving time for two counts of rape when he identified as a man. He was due to serve his sentence in a women’s prison, although this decision was overturned after a public outcry. There are serious doubts as to whether he is sincere in identifying as trans. He only began transitioning when his trial began in 2020. And his estranged wife has argued he is ‘bullshitting the authorities’ in adopting a trans identity.
Despite these doubts, many publications are still using Bryson’s preferred pronouns and are using the phrase ‘her penis’ in their reporting. Some, like the Sun, put it in inverted commas, but this is still paying lip service to what may be an entirely insincere trans identity. It is pandering to the demands of a convicted serial sex offender. There could hardly be a clearer case of preferred pronouns obscuring and distorting the real story.
News outlets seem to have lost sight of the fact that biological sex is an immutable physical reality. It is observable in all mammals, including humans. Gender ideologues, who wish to completely disregard biological sex in favour of ‘gender identity’, have been successful in inserting their ideas into mainstream discourse. This has been done partly through private lobbying by groups such as Stonewall and Mermaids, and through the capture of our institutions and regulatory bodies. Plus, many people in public life, including journalists, fear being labelled ‘transphobic’ if they don’t go along with this ideology.
This is toxic for public debate, which should be a frank exchange of opinions and ideas. It hinders our ability to speak and hear the truth. And the truth, in this case, is that people with penises are men.
Candice Holdsworth is a writer. Visit her website here.
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