Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Paper guilty of transsexual slur

Sunday Life masthead
The Sunday Life is one of Northern Ireland's biggest selling papers

A Belfast newspaper has been found guilty of breaching the press code of practice for describing a transsexual as 'a tranny.'

The Sunday Life was reported to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) by a male-to-female transsexual who had worked as a rape counsellor in Belfast.

The paper had raised concerns about her suitability for the role and described her as a 'tranny.'

The PCC said the use of the word was pejorative and upheld the complaint.

The newspaper had said that no offence had been intended in the use of the word which it considered to be "widely used" in articles about transsexuals and transvestites.


The complainant, Keira McCormack from Warrington, said that there was a significant difference between transvestites and transsexuals, arguing that the term tended to be used by the former and not the latter.

The PCC ruled that while the newspaper was entitled to publish a story about people's concerns over the suitability of Ms McCormack's employment, her gender identity should not have been open to ridicule.

Taking into account the full context of the story, the PCC considered that the use of the word was pejorative, breaching the discrimination clause of the editors' Code of Practice.

Ms McCormick made a number of other complaints about accuracy, privacy and harassment, but none of these were upheld.

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