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What do you think about minority groups like transgender people? Unless you actually know someone in person, have you ever questioned where your beliefs and opinions come from? Chances are, like most people, what you believe and think can be traced back to what you've gleaned from media coverage.

The issue of media representation is nothing new. Study the history of any minority which has struggled for equality and you'll generally find that such issues have been of concern to those who were engaged bringing about social change.

Juliet Jacques is a transsexual writer and journalist who has thought a lot about these questions in her own context. She is writing a groundbreaking fortnightly column for the Guardian newspaper, documenting her own transition. She is therefore ideally placed to offer some perspectives on how the communication problems arise, and how to address them.

Since this show was recorded Juliet has blogged some more detailed thoughts about some of the topics we covered. Please also feel free to build on this discussion through the comments below and on her blog

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  • Ann Knowles

    Dear Christine - fab show, I really enjoyed, got me onto the Guardian article. I’m about one yr into my transition & so far everything is going really well. Ann Melb Aust

    Dec 30, 2010 at 10:12 am
  • Karen

    Hi Christine - a very good podcast, I liked hearing the background to Juliet’s column.

    Do you think that the problem with role models for transsexual people is that those who are most successful (at least in terms of appearance) will just not want to make their status public? The only one that strikes me as breaking this sort of taboo was Dana International, whose Eurovision contest victory was a pleasant surprise (although it also brought some of the trans-haters out of the closet too).

    I have to say that what saddens me the most is the sort of comments from people such as Julie Bindel in her 2004 Guardian article. While not typical of the LGB community as a whole, it is still disappointing to see such naked hatred given free reign in a national newspaper. At least with the Daily Mail I would expect it!

    Feb 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm
  • Christine Burns

    Hi Karen

    There is that problem@Karen. People only see what they see. They don’t see another side that’s invisible to them.

    On Julie Bindel, you may like to listen to my Oct 2008 interview with her. See ‘Past Episodes’ on the right and click on that month.


    Feb 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm
  • Karen

    Thanks Christine, that was a really interesting discussion with Julie Bindel. It was good to hear her apology. I do agree with a lot of the other views that she puts forward, so it is good that she is willing to admit where she is wrong. As someone who has only just discovered your podcasts, I’m having a great time listening to them!

    Feb 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm
  • Coxygru

    It’s wonderful to get the message out that straights, gays and lesbians and bisexuals need to explore trans culture more often. Thanks! I always love your podcasts.

    Feb 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm