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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

The Streisand Effect

Barbra Streisand is 80 years a legend - she celebrated this milestone last month. I have long been a fan of her work and her life. I still recommend people see her earlier work to see her charm, and her 80s hits to see her artistry. However, that’s not the only reason Streisand is famous.

In 2003 when Bab’s home in Malibu was photographed by the California Coastal Records Project for a project about coastal erosion - she was livid. Her actions lead to a phenomenon known as the Streisand effect.

Streisand attempted to have the photo removed from the project. Before her court case, the image had been downloaded six times - two of which were by her legal team. In the following month, the photo was accessed 420,000 times. When people think that information is being withheld - they tend to want to know what it is - this psychological reaction is human nature.

So one action led to a huge surge in interest in the opposite direction the parties hoped for. In an odd way, this reminds me of how the trans community is currently being treated. Perhaps not quite the Streisand effect, but certainly similar.

Of the many hundred news pieces given over to the trans debate’ nearly all of them focus on the danger trans people pose in single-sex spaces, rows over toilets, how we have been brainwashed, and comparison to extreme political groups.

This narrative - and most of it is a work of fiction - has become the picture of Streisand’s house. This is the last thing we want people to be talking about - yet the more we say this - the less we are heard, and the more nonsense is spread.

So if you are reading my words as an ally - I urge this of you this - try and think less about the things you have heard over and over again. Instead, think of the things getting far less press;

  • The extraordinary long waiting times for gender-affirming treatment for trans people.

  • The lack of inclusion of non-binary people has in the wider conversation.

  • The way the Equalities act is being abused by the very people employed to maintain and uphold it.

  • The soaring increase of mental health issues for trans people.

  • The lack of human compassion in any media written about trans people.

  • The glaring human rights issue of not including trans people in the conversion therapy ban.

We don’t need to be talking about Streisand's house or the danger trans people pose in single-sex spaces, rows over toilets, how we have been brainwashed, or how we are compared to extreme political groups. We need real help for the real problems we face! So allies - it is over to you - help spread the word about the real issues!

Shot by Rachel Pechey


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