So, a Top Guardian Editor Was Married to the Founder of Mumsnet

“Objectivity,” trans coverage, and one bit of media gossip I have been unable to get into any other piece.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle
5 min readFeb 28, 2023

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A man and a woman show us their gray (?) wedding bands
I honestly didn’t think anything could make me feel worse about heterosexual marriages at this point. Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

There have been lots of discussions of transphobia in the media over the past few weeks. Where does it come from? What does it mean? When the New York Times publishes a series of misleading articles about trans people, sourcing its talking points from anti-trans organizations, and those articles are subsequently cited by state legislatures seeking to strip us of rights and healthcare coverage, is that “transphobia?” Or is that just “objectivity,” and if so, aren’t trans people to blame for not sitting back and letting the newspaper murder us all?

It’s a tough topic, media transphobia. It’s complex. It’s nuanced. You can almost forget that top editor Ian Katz — formerly the deputy editor of the Guardian, then the editor of BBC’s Newsnight, now head of programming for Channel 4 — was, until quite recently, married to Justine Roberts, co-founder of TERF forum Mumsnet, and that they were together for twenty-five years.

Seriously: When do you ever just sit and think about the fact that Ian Katz of the Guardian (recently boycotted for its transphobia) and the BBC (routinely protested for its transphobia) was married to Justine Roberts of Mumsnet (a primary radicalizing hub for UK transphobia) for twenty-five years? Most people don’t! I didn’t, until I heard it from the poet Roz Kaveney during an interview. It got trimmed from that piece, and I have been trying to wedge it into different pieces ever since, to no avail. Sometimes, when I talk to other trans people, I will mention that a top Guardian and/or BBC editor was married to the founder of Mumsnet; almost always, when I mention this, I will find out that they didn’t know.

Here’s something else that happens when I tell a trans person that Ian Katz (Channel 4, BBC Newsnight, the Guardian) was married to Justine Roberts (Mumsnet) for 25 years. They will, without fail, make the following noise: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Then they’ll inhale a little, and then they’ll do a controlled little exhale. Then they’ll say yeah, that explains it. Or, yeah. That makes total sense.

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Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Columns published far and wide across the Internet.