ABC defends transphobic tweets by Q&A viewers

ABC defends transphobic tweets by Q&A viewers

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 15 October 2014 17:11 Written by // Cec Busby

The ABC has suggested that transphobic tweets which were broadcast on Q&A on Monday night fell within their guidelines and were appropriate for broadcasting.

The tweets aired during a panel discussion which included trans activist, Group Captain Catherine McGregor (Australia’s highest ranking trans military official), and former speech writer for the Cheief of the Army. McGregor was discussing transgender inclusivity and coming out as transgender when the Tweets were broadcast.

"Wow, he/she is a hero #QandA," tweeted @geoffgcooper.

"God sets our agenda, we shouldn't interfere #qanda," tweeted @secadvisers (who later deleted their Twitter account).

Whilst one tweeter no doubt meant his tweet as a compliment, but was transphobic by referring to McGregor as He/She, another was clearly meant to offend.

There was an immediate backlash to the tweets with Twitter users calling on the ABC to apologise.

However an ABC spokesperson has told News Limited they believed there was nothing wrong with the offending tweets.

"We believe the tweets you identify meet those guidelines and were appropriate for broadcast.

"Q&A's on-screen tweets are selected through a multistage moderation process to provide an alternative layer around the studio discussion based on the commentary of viewers on Twitter.

"The tweets are chosen to reflect the diverse range of opinions in the Q&A audience.

"They are not expected to always be in agreement with the views of the panelists, but are expected to fall within our guidelines."  

McGregor has remained non-plussed by the comments, saying she has had far worse said to her, and described herself as thick-skinned.


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and online editor of

Comments (1)

  • Nikola Kovacs

    15 October 2014 at 17:10 |
    I absolutely disagree with this article suggesting "Whilst one tweeter no doubt meant his tweet as a compliment, but was transphobic by referring to McGregor as He/She ..."

    What planet are you on Cec? Cate McGregor has a feminine name, she presented as a woman and all through the program she was referred to with feminine pronouns.

    The tweet in question is 100% akin to a person coming in contact with a trans person and whilst not saying anything to deliberately cause offense, just say or do something to let us know that they know. It happens all the time to trans people.

    By doing this they are letting us (trans people) know that they're not fooled ... they know we're really men.

    This is what cis people just don't 'get'. But when you get this treatment day in and day out you understand exactly what it means.

    This tweet was not meant as a compliment, it was a comment from a bigot who was determined not to comply.


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