Mail on Sunday under fire for ‘outing’ transgender soldiers

The Mail on Sunday has received criticism for publishing an article naming two transgender soldiers serving in Germany.

The article, published on October 7, included names and pictures of the two soldiers before and after transitioning, while a third unnamed member of the army was mentioned as considering gender affirmation surgery.

It’s unclear whether the soldiers featured in the article consented to their names and pictures being published.

British Army Captain Hannah Graf (née Winterbourne) wrote on Twitter: “It is not appropriate to out people. It is simply salacious headlines, as well as having inaccurate information in there. There is nothing newsworthy here.”

“It’s a piece of quite irresponsible journalism,” Graf, who is transgender representative for the army and mentors transgender soldiers and their superiors, then told PinkNews.

“When there’s a story about transgender people and the story is that they are transgender and nothing else, then it’s not a story. It’s not more relevant than saying there are three women in the army in Germany,” Graf said, adding: “There’s a lot of soldiers in Germany, so it’s not particularly surprising that there may be more than one transgender soldier [in one regiment]. That’s just basic statistics.”

PinkNews has contacted the Mail and the British Army for comment.

Members of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers participate in a parade on September 5, 2018 (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty)

Unlike in the US, where President Donald Trump is seeking to—so far unsuccessfully—reverse the Obama-era decision to allow transgender troops to openly serve in the military, the British Army has had an employment policy including transgender servicemen and women since 1999.

“The army’s inclusivity for transgender soldiers is exemplary,” Graf said.

The Ministry of Defence has previously declined to disclose the number of transgender soldiers serving in the army, citing Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act (2004), which grants a right to privacy to transgender individuals and makes it a criminal offence for anyone who “has acquired protected information in an official capacity to disclose the information to any other person.”

The Mail on Sunday article has so far received 11 comments, but each of those received hundreds of reactions. Most of those expressing support for the soldiers have been downrated more than a thousand times.

Comments supportive of the transgender soldiers were “disliked” hundreds of times (Screenshot)

The first comment, reading: “What a positive story. We should all be accepted for the person we are, be who we want to be,” received more than 1400 “dislikes” versus 230 “likes,” while the comment below, stating “Not sure the NHS should be paying for this,” received more than 2000 thumbs up and 140 thumbs down.

Published at Sun, 07 Oct 2018 15:18:10 +0000