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November 17, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:47am

Suzanne Moore leaves Guardian months after staff send letter of revolt over ‘transphobic content’

By Charlotte Tobitt

A Guardian columnist whose work prompted a letter from more than 300 members of staff protesting against allegedly “transphobic content” earlier this year has left the paper.

Suzanne Moore, who won the Orwell Foundation’s Journalism Prize in 2019 for her writing for the Guardian, announced her resignation on Monday evening.

She tweeted: “I have left The Guardian. I will very much miss SOME of the people there. For now that’s all I can say.”

After an outpouring of support Moore later added: “It was entirely my choice to go. I will tell you all about it one day . For now thank you for these lovely messages. I feel like I am at my own funeral or something.

“Anyway I will keep writing of course! The efforts to shut me up seem not to have been very well thought through.”

[Update: Why Suzanne Moore resigned: Says Guardian editors removed views on trans issues from comment pieces]

A Guardian News and Media spokesperson said: “We wish Suzanne all the best with her future career and are sorry to see her leave.”

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In March, 338 Guardian employees across editorial, tech and commercial teams wrote to editor Kath Viner after the publication of Moore’s article “Women must have the right to organise. We will not be silenced” in which she wrote about sex being a biological classification “not a feeling”.

Moore also revealed that she and her children had received death and rape threats and been forced to get police involved after “being deemed transphobic by an invisible committee on social media” – something that happened once again after the publication of this column.

The staff letter, which was leaked and published without its signatories’ names by Buzzfeed and Pink News, criticised the newspaper for its “pattern of publishing transphobic content” which had “cemented our reputation as a publication hostile to trans rights and trans employees”.

Moore subsequently leaked the full list of names and called out her critics on social media.

The Spectator’s Scotland editor Alex Massie wrote on Tuesday that Moore’s departure left the Guardian “little bit diminished” where there has been a “narrowing, and perhaps even a closing, of journalistic minds”.

Similar rows have been going on at the New York Times where writer and editor Bari Weiss resigned in July over the paper’s “illiberal environment”, arguing that “Twitter has become its ultimate editor”.

The media row over coverage of transgender identity issues in particular has become increasingly virulent.

At the British Journalism Awards in 2018 Times columnist Janice Turner, who has received criticism for her coverage, 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.”

On the same night, Buzzfeed’s LGBT editor Patrick Strudwick said transgender people had become a “new scapegoat” for the media.

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Picture: Orwell Foundation

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