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'It's like we are not human': discourses of humanisation and otherness in the representation of trans identity in British broadsheet newspapers

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/08/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Feminist Media Studies
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)2962-2978
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/07/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper examines how transgender identity is represented across articles from three British national newspapers: The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph. Transgender identity has become a highly contentious issue in areas of western culture, especially Britain, and even within feminism itself, with heightened visibility leading to a backlash against the rights of trans people to protection, and even recognition, in law. However, the influence of the broadsheets, Britain’s so-called “quality” newspapers, in shaping the debate over transgender rights is under-researched. Using feminist critical discourse analysis (Michelle), I assess how the above newspapers position transgender subjects to alternatively legitimize or “other” transgender identity. Despite polarisation on issues of trans rights between newspapers, this paper finds that both “pro-trans” and “anti-trans” articles appropriate a feminist lexicon to define womanhood and gender in ways that justify their stance and foster division within wider society. I conclude that (white, cisheteronormative) feminism has become a vehicle for mainstream news media to further political agendas that can be crudely cast as either “progressive” or “conservative”.