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December 11, 2018updated 30 Sep 2022 7:14am

Buzzfeed’s LGBT editor worried by transgender media coverage as Times columnist Janice Turner urges free debate on issue

By Freddy Mayhew

Buzzfeed’s Patrick Strudwick said he worries about the effect the media has on transgender people as he collected the prize for Specialist Journalism at last night’s British Journalism Awards.

Strudwick, LGBT editor at Buzzfeed UK, said it was the first time that an LGBT specialist had been awarded in this way, adding: “And I know that because I’m the first LGBT specialist.”

Speaking after collecting his award at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in central London, he said: “I would very much like to thank everyone at Buzzfeed because they gave me this job.

“I never realised that I could become a journalist, because when I was growing up I used to read the newspaper and they would say about people like me that we were poofters and a danger to children and that we deserve to die of Aids.

“And so to have a job where I can expose what bigotry and hatred does to my community is extraordinary…

“What I described just then about what newspapers used to say about gay people sounds kind of crazy and anachronistic now – and things have changed, newspapers have changed towards gay people.

“But I feel there is a new scapegoat and that is transgender people and I worry very deeply about the effect that our media has on transgender people. I think we can sing better songs.”

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Strudwick was one of two Buzzfeed UK journalists to win at Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards this year, with Richard Holmes taking the New Journalist of the Year prize, sponsored by Bournemouth University.

Earlier in the evening Times columnist Janice Turner was awarded the gong for Comment Journalism. Turner has faced criticism for her articles on the issue of transgender identity.

She won for stories including “Children sacrificed to appease trans lobby” and “The battle over gender has turned bloody”.

Also speaking after collecting her award, Turner said: “When you write about really difficult and toxic subjects it really helps to have your newspaper behind you and I just want to thank the Times… who have been completely behind me in dealing with something that is complicated.

“I have a privilege in being able to write about this difficult subject, which is not something women in universities have at the moment, and I urge that we debate this more thoroughly and freely.”

Specialist Journalist of the Year is sponsored by drinks company Ableforth’s.

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