Monday, 13 September 2010

Will the PCC act over Daily Star Sunday's 'needless abbreviation'?

Primly Stable has looked at a story in yesterday's Daily Star Sunday which carried the headline 'Behind bras: Tranny strip-search fury'.

As Primly Stable points out, there's no evidence produced that anyone is actually 'furious' and in any case these are draft proposals that have yet to be approved.

But what of the language used by the paper?

In January 2010, the PCC made what it called a 'landmark ruling on the use of terminology in this area' by saying:

Taking into account the full context of the piece, the Commission considered that the use of the word ‘tranny' - which was a needless abbreviation, held by many to be offensive - was pejorative. The complaint was upheld on this point.

So how have the Star felt able to run this headline in the print edition? The online headline is different but not much better: 'Prisons: Female guards may be forced to search male trannies'. And it's not the case that the word has been abbreviated to fit the headline space as Rick Lyons' article also refers to 'tranny prisoners'.

Trans Media Watch have a list of terms they consider derogatory and say the media should avoid. The list includes three terms the Star uses: 'tranny', 'sex-change' and 'any 'comedy' reference to genitalia'. Press For Change also say the terms are 'inappropriate'.

So if the PCC's ruling that 'tranny' is 'perjorative' and 'needless' is really a 'landmark' decision, they should have no problem holding the Daily Star Sunday to account for using it.


  1. Surely the answer to any question beginning "Will the PCC act..." is "categorically no"!

  2. Not only that but the term "male" in the online headline to describe a male to female transsexual is incorrect and offensive.


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