The Guardian and the Observer, along with other media outlets, repeatedly use false statistics and sensational headlines when replaying addressing attempts of suicide by young trans-identifying individuals. This is likely causing parents of children with presenting “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD) or and those suddenly claiming a “trans” identity, to feel they have no choice but to set their child on a path of life long medicalization. It also increases the risk that more and more young people with gender dysphoria will think suicide is a viable option for themselves. But the statistics being reported are false and misleading. This is why journalistic standards in covering suicide, repeatedly violated by the Guardian and the Observer, are so important to adhere to.
What You Can Do
Demand the Guardian and the Observer adhere to the journalistic standards provided to journalists for covering suicide, so that parents are not terrified into making dangerous and irreversible decisions about their children’s lives and health and so that young people with “gender dysphoria” are not encouraged to believe this is a viable choice for themselves.
Dear Editors of the Guardian and the Observer,
You have an ethical obligation to cover suicide in a way that does not cause harm. More than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. The magnitude of the increase is related to the amount, duration and prominence of coverage. Yet The Guardian and The Observer have repeatedly transgressed these ethical journalistic standards when reporting on “transgender” suicide over the past few years.
Further, with sensational titles such as…
Nearly half of young transgender people have attempted suicide
Almost half of trans pupils in UK have attempted suicide, and
Too many of us young trans people are crying out for help. Will you listen?
…The Guardian and the Observer violate another tenet of the journalistic guidelines for suicide, which state that risk of additional suicides increases when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, use dramatic/graphic headlines or images, or sensationalizes or glamorizes a death by means of repeated/extensive coverage. If violating journalistic standards were not bad enough, the Guardian and the Observer. along with other media, are guilty of an even greater ethical transgression by reporting skewed statistics to sensationalize transgender suicide coverage. The 41% Trans suicide attempt rate is a tale of flawed data and lazy journalism. And yet these statistics are used to terrorize and blame “non-affirming” parents and teachers for “transgender”suicide.
These violations of journalistic integrity matter a great deal. Though suicide is not a communicable disease, there is a strong body of evidence that it is still contagious. The evidence suggests that suicide outbreaks and clusters are real phenomena; one death can set off others. Parents are reporting cases of children declaring rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) along with a transgender status in clusters with their peers. It is also increasingly common for gender dysphoric adolescents and mental health professionals to claim that transition is necessary to prevent suicide. This is creating devastating results for families who often feel they have no choice but to set their children on a course of life long medical treatment.
I am very concerned about the misuse of data and the potentially catastrophic results from journalists not adhering to the journalistic standards of integrity when covering suicide and would like you to address this.
Send an email to:
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