THE corrections and clarifications section of any major newspaper is always fascinating. Read through any one of them and, among the genuine slips and photo mis-attributions, you can glean some real insights into a paper’s political leanings and agenda – and when a particular political alignment or community finds itself repeatedly unfairly represented, you may have just stumbled across a media-driven moral panic.

The so-called culture wars have proven profitable for Britain’s right-wing press, given its proclivity for generating a surge of outrage-driven traffic. But more often than not, they tend to crumble under the lightest scrutiny and so it was that last week another series of mistruths about the trans community silently found their way into the corrections page of another major newspaper, this time around the term “chestfeeding” and on rape statistics.

The myth that the term “breastfeeding” is being replaced with “chestfeeding” in NHS guidelines is patently ridiculous, yet also as reliably popular for our media institutions as to be on par with the annual right-wing tradition of claiming the word “Christmas” has been banned.

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Of course, activists have been making clear that this wasn’t the case since the misrepresentation of the guidelines first made its way into popular anti-trans lore.

The term breastfeeding is not being erased, or even changed. Guidelines simply state that the term “chestfeeding” is also applicable if a patient would prefer that. It’s such an obviously reasonable clarification to make to be more inclusive of trangender men and non-binary people that it would be difficult to argue cogently against it … unless, that is, the updated guidance was intentionally mischaracterised as to play into the narrative that the inclusion of transgender people in public life will in some way or another erase the existence of women.

Following an upheld ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation, this has finally been addressed by one of the culprits responsible for ensuring this narrative made its way into the mainstream.

It is the second clarification, however, that is altogether more disturbing.

The poorly researched article in question claimed that all women currently serving time in prison in England and Wales for rape were transgender. The readiness with which this was accepted by anti-trans activists without question is, I believe, revealing of some of the biases at play in the so-called debate around trans liberation.

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Of course, this claim was staggeringly wrong, stemming from an incorrect interpretation of the law. In actual fact, there is no relevant data on the number of transgender women in prison for rape. The author had simply assumed that any female prisoner recorded as a sex offender must have been transgender.

That’s not to say there aren’t transgender sex offenders in prison. There certainly are – but to use that fact to smear an entire community as being a threat or danger to others is no different from any other prejudiced position that will use the behaviour of individuals to make generalisations about an entire group of people.

Not that this is anything new.

The LGBT+ community is no stranger to being constantly compared to sexual predators and deviants. It’s the same playbook as in the 1980s and 90s, now leveraged more fully against transgender people – though in the culture war, LGB people are also increasingly under attack.

Scottish Government data has revealed that since 2014, hate crimes aggravated by sexual orientation have increased by 27%, while transgender hate crimes have doubled. This is by no means the full picture either. Plenty of people who have been targeted don’t want to report it to the police, whether because it is so common that there is no point, or because of distrust in policing itself.

We no longer live in a shared reality on this issue. Quite simply, a substantial amount of the charges levelled against trans liberation and “woke” politics in general do not stand up to scrutiny – yet there is a vast media empire that backs up these biases and misunderstandings on a daily basis, with very real consequences.

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In part, I believe it is because generating more web traffic and paper sales is a higher priority than any meaningful contribution to this discussion. It’s why JK Rowling’s name hasn’t been out of the press for the past two weeks. But, equally, it can be attributed to the general right-wing and reactionary bent of Britain’s press as a whole.

And while it is necessary that newspapers publish their corrections when they make a mistake, it would be hard to believe that this latest clarification will be nearly as impactful as the author’s original errors and fabrications.

Beliefs that the phrase “breastfeeding” is being removed from NHS guidance, or that prisons are filled with transgender sex offenders, is already too deeply embedded within the anti-trans movement. This clarification will mean nothing – and tomorrow there will be another mistruth to disprove.