A weekly paper inadvertently sparked an online football frenzy last week with a story about a transsexual’s anger at the NHS.
When the Warrington Guardian published its tale about 23-year-old pre-op transsexual Lucy Smith, they had no idea it would prove so popular with web users.
Lucy was complaining about a poster produced by the NHS warning women they could look like men if they drank too much alcohol.
But when one internet poster commented on the story that Lucy looked very similar to England and Chelsea captain John Terry, the story quickly went round the globe.
Within an hour the story started appearing on football fans’ forums – even reaching as far afield as Thailand.
According to one forum, West Ham fans plan to sing ‘Are you Lucy in disguise?’ the next time Terry visits Upton Park.
Unsurprisingly the story was also picked up by The Sun, The Mirror and the Daily Star, who splashed on it.
The Sun ran it under the headline “Terry trannie lookalike jibes” with the intro: “Chelsea captain John Terry is being taunted by rival football fans – who say he looks like a transsexual in a wig.”
By last Thursday afternoon, the day after the story went online, it had generated an amazing 2.5m page views on the Warrington Guardian’s site.
Deputy editor Hayley Smith said: “This is a phenomenal response. The story was already popular but within an hour of somebody saying Lucy looked like Terry, it became massive. The reaction was amazing.”
The paper’s original story can be viewed here.
BigLiz Buchanan (09/02/2009 22:29:32)
How jolly wonderful. It’s had the entire trans community enraged. You wouldn’t mock someone from a racial minority and it’s not acceptable to do the same to a young woman because she’s transsexual.
Trans (09/02/2009 23:12:46)
Yes Liz, the media regularly picks on us transfolk most probably because they assume we’re a miniscule community and therefore an easy target -but judging by the ever-increasing numbers of us coming out they’d do well to think twice because it’s a bigger closet than some of them may think.
It’s bitterly ironic that so much of the widespread publicity has mocked Lucy, and by extension all trans people, in much the same heterosexist, transphobic way as the poster campaign that she originally set out to expose. But then, the inane, predictably knee-jerk reaction from large, unimaginative sections of the media only goes to prove Lucy’s point even more.
JP Sub (10/02/2009 09:29:15)
Lighten up you two, it’s not having a go at the ‘trans’ community – he/she just looks like John Terry in a dress.
If the lad/lady doesn’t want to be mocked or have attention attracted, he/she shouldn’t get the press involved!
John Terry (10/02/2009 09:36:40)
Can we get Guus in please?
BigLiz Buchanan (10/02/2009 10:22:59)
JP Sub: Charing Cross gender clinic reports an 18% suicide rate amongst its patients. That’s the ones that have had the perseverance to get that far. The true figure is nearer 30%. 80% can expect to be beaten up at some point. The media perpetuates attitudes like yours which leads to these shocking statistics. You ask me to lighten up? BTW Lucy is a girl’s name in case you hadn’t noticed. Calling her “he” or “lad” is most offensive. You wouldn’t do it to your mum. You’d be better off minding your business; you haven’t a clue what you’re dealing with.
Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells (10/02/2009 12:21:01)
They have removed a lot of the comments off the site. When I viewed it last Wednesday, it had reached the serious debate but alas, these pearls of wisdom have been eradicated for all eternity.
With regards to ‘Lucy’, you will discover that having gone to the media, you will end up with far more stick than you ever would have done if you had just ignored it.
JP Sub (10/02/2009 16:28:28)
BigLiz – He (that’s what he is pre-op, I don’t care what his name is) looks like John Terry. That’s the joke. Doesn’t matter who it is. Just happens to be a transsexual.