UK’s “Observer” owns up to transphobic article publication blunder

observer muholland pritchardTHE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — While the massive fallout from Julie Burchill’s now-pulled transphobic article continues, the United Kingdom publisher is owning up to what is, as Observer readers’ editor Stephen Pritchard, described as ‘a collective failing of editing by Observer staff’.

Burchhill’s article, which, among other things, contained transphobic slurs directed at trans people. The paper pulled the article after a massive social media protest from the trans community and allies.

I wrote briefly about Burchhill’s article here:

The paper’s editor, John Mulholland:

“It was a mistake to publish it. I could not let the mistake stand. I didn’t want that legacy for the Observer. The idea that I would compound a mistake by continuing to publish the piece online is absurd. . . .

“It was not a complicated decision to make. The responsibility I had was to try to make amends to a group of people we had needlessly and mistakenly offended.”

Prichard stated that the editor will have discussions with the trans community shortly. “A lesson has been learned,” Prichard said.

Meanwhile, the Burchill article has released pent-up anger within the trans community beyond the mere publication of it. The suppression or rejection of trans woman by certain vocal cis women has been a point of contention for some time and has now come to a head. I’ve found this site a good place to stay on top of the Julie Burchill affair:


The preceding was compiled from these sources and elsewhere:  Burchill column ‘a collective failing of editing’ by senior staff | Media |

observer muholland pritchard


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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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5 replies

  1. This latest rehash of Janice Raymond’s theories expounded in the Transsexual Empire from 1979 once again only serve to anger and disrupt the trans community and serve no useful purpose in the ongoing struggle for equality.
    Julie Burchill and Suzanne Moore serve up old stereotypes and promulgate the hate filled climate of a bygone era.
    I am opposed to censorship, for it often leads to an even greater lack of understanding and compassion, but in this case the attacks on transwomen ( I note that transmen for the moment seem to have escaped their wrath ) serve only to bring hate and no dialogue to the forum of understanding. One can only hope that the pulling of the column will start a new dialogue with those in a position of power in the publishing world and that after all the dust has cleared some progress towards human rights may be forged.

  2. I suspect that the reason we transmen escaped her wrath is that it never occured to her that we exist.

  3. I took the time to read virtually all of the comments on the Guardian. They, with very few exceptions, condemned the comments by Ms. Burchill. In truth, it was much to our benefit that her spiteful views were published in such a public place. It reveals her for a hateful, evil little toad and damaged her reputation irreparably. I doubt she will have much influence in the future beyond her small circle of radfem followers who are immune to rational thought in any case.

  4. The Telegraph however is a bastion of conservative bigotry and so…
    “Daily Telegraph columnist Toby Young condemned the Observer’s decision to remove the piece as a “black day for journalism”, and republished the article on the Telegraph’s website. ”
    Nice one Toby

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