If you appear in the media, the way you appear can affect a lot of other people besides yourself. It can have an impact on your family and friends, on the wider trans and intersex communities, and on the general public. This makes it all the more important to be prepared.
Sometimes people who have recently decided to transition are excited by the chance to appear in the media and celebrate their new life. This may feel like a chance to do something positive but it can be risky at a time when you’re likely to be more emotional than usual and may not have found your feet. Some journalists recognise these weaknesses and may try to take advantage, so be careful.
Although your own situation may mean that you notice a lot of media items about trans and intersex people, it’s important to remember that many people do not. Some may base their whole understanding of what being trans or intersex means on just one or two items. Most people are unaware of the diversity of trans and intersex people, so they may think that you can speak for everyone. This makes it important to think carefully about the things you say and the language you use. Try to avoid making sweeping statements if you only have personal experience to go on. Be cautious about using terms that other people may find upsetting.
If you appear in the media, your family, friends and work colleagues may find their own lives affected as a result. They may experience harassment because of their connection to you and they may even be approached by journalists keen to expand the story. It’s important to think carefully about this and plan ahead to deal with any potential problems. If you have school age children, it’s a good idea to talk to their teacher in case they have problems at school.
Members of some professions should discuss any possible media coverage with their bosses before it goes forward, or as soon as possible afterwards if they attract unplanned media coverage. This includes members of the armed forces and the police service. If you work in this type of profession, there may be a press officer available who can support you.
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