Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will need no introduction to the uneasy relationship with reality of Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan, the hack who came close to screwing over the BBC, purveyor of systematic dishonesty for London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and creator of smears and hatchet jobs for allegedly upmarket papers whose editors ought to know better.
But instead of knowing better, the Murdoch Sunday Times, which inexplicably gave Gilligan a berth following his departure from the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, has all too deliberately used his dubious talents to cobble together knocking copy on a variety of circulation and click boosting issues du jour. And it is one of those issues where he has once again dropped his paper in the mire.
Last July - note the length of time it takes for the press and non-regulator IPSO to act - an article by Gilligan told “Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women”. The piece, which has now been taken down, told “Women’s lavatories at Tower Bridge, the Old Bailey, the Museum of London and dozens of other places could be opened to people who identify as transgender in the most radical move yet to promote their rights”.
There was more. “The City of London, which owns some of the capital’s most famous tourist attractions and buildings, is proposing to open all its women’s facilities and services to anyone who ‘self-identifies’ as a woman or girl, whether or not they have transitioned”. But there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, just one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. And Pink News was soon on the case to show why.
“Edward Lord, chair of the City’s establishment committee, was quick to rebut the piece on Twitter, writing: ‘To be clear, thanks to the Equality Act 2010 #trans people are already welcome to use the @cityoflondon loos that most suit their gender. It is a shame that @mragilligan and @thesundaytimes have chosen to publish such a misleading article about our #GenderIdentity consultation.’” Lord had more to say on the article.
“Speaking to PinkNews, Lord, who is non-binary, said: ‘The City of London’s loos are open to trans people and have been, certainly legally, since 2010. And actually, I reckon trans people have been using the loos [they want] for years … It’s really sad that Andrew Gilligan and The Sunday Times are using trans people and using our gender identity consultation as a political football.’” And to, six months later, came the correction.
“Our report ‘Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women’ (News, July 29) was misleading because it did not accurately explain the current rights of transgender women under the Equality Act. Service providers can allow transgender people to use sigle-sex spaces such as toilets but can exclude them if this can be justified as a proportionate way to achieve a legitimate aim”. Or, put more directly, Gilligan told another pack of lies.
The ST knew what it was doing when it got Gilligan to write that piece. They knew the result would be a smear. And they knew that, somewhere down the line, they would have to make another of those mealy-mouthed “corrections”. But in the meantime, the mud has stuck and nudge-nudgery over trans people has been duly fuelled.
Andrew Gilligan is a disgrace to journalism. Sadly, so is the Sunday Times.
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