There are calls today for a leading BBC presenter to be put on transgender awareness training after he mistakenly referred to Caitlyn Jenner, the reality TV star and ex-Olympic athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner, as 'he/she' live on air.
Jim Naughtie, 63, was accused of "offensive" remarks after bungling a report into Caitlyn's rapidly growing Twitter following on Wednesday morning on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Jenner, the step-parent of Kim Kardashian, has announced publicly that she has dropped her previous male identity, and wishes to be known as Caitlyn, with the female pronoun "she" and "her".
But interviewing another journalist from the BBC's Trending service, Naughtie said: "Now, this is complicated. He used to be called Bruce, but he's now a woman."
Caitlyn Jenner's first magazine cover
The BBC Trending reporter, Anne-Marie Tomchak, said: "People might know Bruce Jenner from winning a US Olympic gold medal back in 1976, but now he is known, or she is known, as Caitlyn Jenner."
"And he's got a million followers in four hours?" replied Naughtie, using the male pronoun again, though he later asked: "Has she said anything interesting yet?"
The radio host then suggested that people were not following Jenner on Twitter because of an interest in transgender issues, but because "he/she is a celebrity".
Naughtie's remarks prompted disbelief, with many people on Twitter saying that he needed some transgender awareness training so he could understand that Jenner is now a "she".
One commenter said that Naughtie sounded "uncomfortable with modernity" while another asked, "Who uses he/she these days"?
The mistake follows Fox News anchors misgendering Jenner, referring to her as Bruce and laughing at her transition, with one host calling it "Rome. Final days."
Fox presenter Dagen McDowell said of Jenner: 'He looks hot. Or, she looks hot, rather.'
Orgnaisations such as GLAAD, which worksfor LGBT and trans equality, have been advising the media about how to refer to people who have transitioned from male to female - using female pronouns and their female name if requested.
But it seems that Naughtie didn't get the memo. He has now apologised after the segment.
If Caitlyn Jenner wishes to be known as she, of course she's entitled to that, and I'm sorry for saying ''he' on air. A bit sloppy.
— James Naughtie (@naughtiej) June 3, 2015
Naughtie [right] is one of the BBC Today programme's hosts
GLAAD has issued a useful updated tip sheet for journalists after Jenner's transition.
"By sharing her journey with the world, Caitlyn Jenner is accelerating acceptance of transgender people everywhere and reminds us all how important it is to live as your most authentic self,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
"For a transgender person to step into the world as his or her authentic self is a moment of tremendous freedom," said Nick Adams, GLAAD's Director of Programs, Transgender Media.
"The world can now see what Caitlyn Jenner has always known, that she is - and always has been - a woman."
Useful websites and helplines:
- Beaumont Society is a national self help body run by and for the transgender community | 01582 412220
- The Gender Trust supports anyone affected by gender identity | 01527 894 838
- Mermaids offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences for young people with gender identity issues | 0208 1234819
- LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for LGBT people in Scotland. Text 07786 202 370
- Gires provides information for trans people, their families and professionals who care for them | 01372 801554
- Depend provides support, advice and information for anyone who knows, or is related to, a transsexual person in the UK.