Essex County Council removes inappropriate image of a trans person from survey

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The image, featured as part of a public consultation meant to research local residents’ opinion on the future of the libraries, caused outrage. Essex County Council has decided to remove an image appearing to depict a trans person removing a wig from the survey about public libraries and issuing an apology on the Council’s behalf for the offence it might have caused to the trans community. The survey is offered both as a multiple choice poll and in the Easy Read format, which features clearly written words along with pictures to made them perceptible for people with learning disabilities. At the end of the survey, respondents were asked to describe their gender identity, picking between three options—man, woman, and transgender. The Easy Read format accompanied each option with a depiction of the gender identity—but while the “man” and “woman” box featured smiling pictures of human beings, the “transgender” one featured the drawing of a person with their hand touching the top of their head to remove a wig. The apology on the Essex Country Council’s behalf read: “Firstly we would like to reassure those concerned that the image was specifically chosen to help communicate with people with learning disabilities. It was supplied by an organization called Inspired Services, who work with people with learning disabilities to produce Valuing People Clipart, which is used by the Government and NHS England for easy read publications. However, we are sorry for any offence the image has caused and we will now consider whether this image is used in the future.”

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