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From stories about another transphobic incident to social commentators debating what a woman is, the news can often feel overwhelming to look at for transgender and non-binary people. Anti-trans rhetoric has been described as “rife” in the British press, with members of the trans+ community increasingly written or spoken about in a negative light. “When there’s a news story about a transphobic incident, there is often little concern shown by media or on social media about the privacy and dignity of trans+ victims and survivors of abuse,” says Ruth Mason, Director of Services at Galop, the UK’s leading anti-abuse charity for LGBTQIA+ people. “This is harmful for both survivors and the wider trans+ community. After media coverage of a transphobic incident, we often hear from trans+ people who are feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, and it can be easy to get caught in a cycle of consuming negative content.” A spokesperson for Not a Phase, a trans-led, grassroots charity dedicated to awareness campaigning, social projects and funding new initiatives for the community, adds that “it’s important to have different ways of coping with news that can be traumatic and triggering for the community,” further stating that “it’s always important to remember that you should never be ashamed or guilty of having boundaries.” 

To help trans and non-binary people struggling with negative stories in the media, GAY TIMES worked with Galop and Not a Phase on ways to cope with them. 


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Modify your use of social media outlets

Many people find out and discuss what’s going on in the world via social media, which can result in users seeing something triggering without intending to. As such, it’s important to remember that most platforms give you the ability to filter and report content, as well as to block or mute accounts as you see fit. 

It’s also worth keeping what push notifications you get from apps under constant review, as these pop up at any given moment and could feature something distressing at incredibly inconvenient or unexpected times. Some may find it useful to turn off notifications from certain outlets and platforms, while others may prefer to refine what sort of things they get notified about. 

“Research shows that even reading about an abusive incident towards our community online can be enough to leave us fearing for our own safety,” explains Mason, who adds that Galop “regularly” hears from “LGBT+ people who, after hearing about an anti-LGBT+ incident, adjust their behaviour, or hide parts of their identity for fear of a similar incident happening to them in the future. If this is something you’ve struggled with, you can talk to Galop for advice, support or to discuss your options.” 

Another thing to consider when using social media is which accounts you follow. Avoid those that are likely to post triggering content and stick to following media outlets you trust. Making your account private is a good way to avoid interactions with strangers who may hold anti-LGBTQIA+ views, as well as those who use social media to troll others.

Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them

Boundaries are a good way to protect yourself from seeing upsetting or triggering content. For example, you may find it useful to avoid looking at the news right before bed, as this will ensure it’s not the last thing you see at the end of the day. You could also consider muting notifications from certain apps or outlets so you aren’t caught off guard with a story you didn’t want to see, or even log out of apps entirely when you’re not using them. If you’re aware that there’s a big story relating to LGBTQIA+ people in the news, consider avoiding the media entirely if it’s something that could get to you. Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you, so it will likely be a matter of trying a few different things in order to find out what is beneficial for you. 

“Boundaries are so important in self care!” says a spokesperson from Not a Phase. “It’s always important to remember that you should never be ashamed or guilty of having boundaries. It can also be useful to reach out to people close to you if they’ve overstepped a boundary and let them know. By having open communication regarding boundaries, it enables others to learn and can prevent future incidents from occurring.”

Avoid opinion pieces and stick to actual news from sources you trust

Opinion pieces typically exist to spark debate and are not always rooted in fact, instead using something in the news as a springboard to have a wider discussion about a topic. Sadly, trans and non-binary people often bear the brunt of this, with their identities and rights often subjected to scrutiny by commentators and columnists. With that in mind, it’s important to find outlets that you trust and stick to reading those. You may also consider avoiding opinion sections entirely, or making yourself aware of which outlets tend to have an anti-trans stance and opting to not read/watch/listen to those. If there is a big story relating to the LGBTQIA+ community in the news, then keep in mind that this will likely mean an increase in op-eds.

“As members of the trans+ community, we know that people can often have negative opinions about us,” explains Not a Phase’s spokesperson. “In these moments, it’s especially important to reflect on those who love you and the community that surrounds you. There are always going to be people who have negative opinions and it’s sometimes better to avoid these as much as you can and focus more on the positive!”

Actively seek out uplifting stories

Some outlets have started dedicating sections to good news, so find ones that you trust and consider looking at these, particularly at times when you may be struggling with the news cycle. For example, the Zoteria app, which is run by Vodafone, Stonewall and Galop, has a dedicated news section which is curated to show positive stories, while Flurrish, a wellbeing page by GAY TIMES, posts a weekly roundup of such coverage. 

Mason emphasises the importance of telling loved ones “if you don’t want to talk about a particular news story” so you can avoid discussing something that upsets or triggers you. Not a Phase highlights the importance of allies to the LGBTQIA+ community being aware that what they share could be distressing for those they are trying to support. “One of our aims as a charity is to focus on uplifting stories and trans+ joy as much as we can,” a spokesperson says. “We understand that allies and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community are trying to raise awareness and share their outrage when sharing certain stories, but it’s important to remember that there will most likely be trans+ people who are seeing these stories everywhere and this can be incredibly triggering. Please be aware of this as much as you can and make sure you’re also sharing all the positive and uplifting news stories as well.” 

Don’t be hard on yourself if you do engage with news that upsets you

No one is perfect and it’s likely that you will engage with content that will upset you at some point, so remember to not be hard on yourself if this happens. There may also be times when you feel the need to read, watch or listen to something, even if you know it could cause you distress, because you may feel it’s an important story to know about – that’s okay. 

“We might feel guilty about being able to switch off news and social media when others have no choice but to live with it; but being able to switch off and protect ourselves from negative news and social media is important,” explains Mason. “For any trans+ person reading this: your wellbeing matters. Caring for yourself is an act of resistance which will allow you to show up for yourself, your loved ones and your community.”

You can get in touch with Galop by calling 0800 999 5428, emailing or via live chat at You can learn more about Not a Phase’s work here