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Ex-Guardian staffer who is trans explains why they left the publication

Exclusive: "You realise that some of your colleagues are actively campaigning against your rights; that they think awful, unfounded things about you"

2022-03-23

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Alamy

A former employee of The Guardian who is trans has spoken of their decision to leave the publication.

As part of an investigation into anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the UK mainstream media in Attitude's March/April issue, the individual – who wishes to remain anonymous– spoke of their "heartbreak" over the publication’s "growing anti-LGBTQ reputation."

The ex-Guardian staffer told Attitude as part of our feature: “I loved working at The Guardian but the first anti-trans editorial in 2018 changed everything.

"I still got on great with my immediate colleagues and there was no overt hostility – we know from internal discussions and organising that a large majority of Guardian staff are actually trans allies – but the atmosphere for LGBTQ+ staff felt different after that.

"You realise that some of your colleagues are actively campaigning against your rights; that they think awful, unfounded things about you and that on the outside, The Guardian’s anti LGBTQ reputation is growing and spreading. It’s heart-breaking."

If their decision to leave, they say: "I was aware of other trans people leaving the organisation and I eventually felt like I had no choice, either. Working for a company that might say inclusive things internally but then blast exclusionary misinformation externally – something over which most staff had no say or recourse – was wearing me down and damaging my mental health. I couldn’t stay and maintain my dignity or self-esteem at the same time.

"The situation felt, and still feels, totally hopeless. The only way for the paper to move forward and recover its reputation is to fully revoke its current anti-trans editorial position. But that feels like an impossibility right now. One of the paper's core values is: ‘We stand up for what we believe is right, not what is easy’ and I’d say that is its biggest failure."

"No organisation is perfect"

Before our article in our current issue was published, Attitude reached out to The Guardian for a response to the question: ‘What’s your message to LGBTQs and allies who believe The Guardian is systemically anti-LGBTQ?’

Attitude received the following response from a Guardian News & Media spokesperson: "We are a news organisation that’s always been committed to representing a wide range of views on many topics in our coverage. Our editorial remit is to engage with the important issues of the day, and to never shy away from difficult or divisive subjects – and we understand there will always be debate around the issues we cover.

"No organisation is perfect, and The Guardian continues to do as much as any major news organisation to highlight the rights and lives of LGBTQ people in depth and with empathy. We have worked hard to make The Guardian an inclusive environment for all staff over many years, and to support our LGBTQ employees."