A Danish journalist has been criticised after repeatedly referring to a transsexual woman as a man and using the phrase “freak show” in a programme about sex change operations. The Danish National Organisation for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered Persons (LGBT) filed a complaint with TV2 after its Eastern Jutland affiliate broadcast the comments of reporter Soren Jensen last month.
In a report focussing on new gay magazine Proud, Jenson continually refers to a transgender woman (a man who has undergone a sex change operation) as a “man”. He also asked the magazine’s editor: “When can you stop describing such person as an affectionate ‘woman-man’ and start describing them as an outright freak show with perverted urges?”
In an interview with the Newspaq news agency, LGBT spokesperson Sebastian Svegaard said, “Referring to a trans-person almost exclusively as a ‘he’ shows a lack of respect.” He added, “When you make comparisons between trans-people and freak shows, you’re indirectly placing the two into the same category, even if you don’t explicitly say so – and that’s just not acceptable.”
TV2 has however refused to apologise for the remarks, arguing that they were acceptable. “They accuse us of being hateful and malicious, and that’s simply not right,” said TV2 Eastern Jutland editor Eva Kvist. “Of course, we’re sorry that people have been offended, but we have nothing to apologise for.”
Kvist claimed that Jensen was unsure whether to refer to the subject as a man or a woman, but the editor managed to cause more controversy in an attempt to explain the “freak show” comment. “Within some sexual minority groups, including homosexuals, there are people practising something that I think many people would consider perverted, and sometimes bordering on illegal,” she said.
National chairman of LGBT, HC Seidelin, criticised Kvist’s remarks. “If she refuses to apologise, there’s not much we can do about that, but her comments only add fuel to the fire,” he said.