Archive | October 2015

The Man who Would be King – or Queen

"Eddy" - complete with high collar and mummy's hand on his shoulder

“Eddy” – complete with high collar, and mummy’s hand on his shoulder

The bisexual life of Prince Albert Victor

He was an amiable dullard, wont to come out with embarrassing social gaffes at state occasions.  Hopelessly cossetted and pampered, he bedded anyone he took a fancy to, and there were quite a few of them, creating scandals which were splashed across the media.  His name came up in a sex scandal and major criminal incidents, and in the end there were even rumours that he had been killed by the British establishment, to prevent him bringing down the monarchy.

Sounds like the royal scandals which hit the headlines in the 80s and 90s, doesn’t it, dears?  And it was.  Only this was the 1880s-1890s.

Albert Victor Christian Edward was the first child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, born on 8 January 1864.  He was born 2 months prematurely when Princess Alexandra almost miscarried him after a fall while she was ice skating.  Victoria was Queen at the time, and as the Prince of Wales would be her successor, this made Albert Victor, affectionately known to the royal family as “Eddy”, the Heir Presumptive; second in line to the throne.

Poor Eddy never had a lot going for him from the start.  A product of generations of inbreeding among the royal families of Europe, he inherited all their worst traits.  He suffered haemophilia, he had bulging eyes, a long thin face, a deeply receding chin, was partially deaf (as was his mother), and while he grew tall, he was extremely thin and weedy, and with a neck so elongated that he had to have shirts and jackets specially made with high collars in an attempt to hide it, and which merely led the media to lampoon him with the nickname “Collars and Cuffs”.  As he grew, Eddy also developed a pronounced lisp when speaking.  He may also have suffered Klinefelter’s Syndrome, which would account for the fact that he never grew any pubic or body hair, and which may have meant he was infertile.

He was also as thick as too short planks, which was not at all surprising.  While Victoria had a certain amount of intelligence, and Eddy’s grandfather, Prince Albert, had been an intellectual, Eddy’s father, the Prince of Wales, was notably unintelligent; his mind had been crammed with facts which would enable him to perform his duty as king, but with no knowledge or insight accompanying them.  Eddy’s mother, Princess Alexandra, was equally an imbecile.  It is said she never once read a book in her life, and appears to have been a simpleton whose world was all fluffy kittens and rainbows.  She was however an extremely loving mother who doted on all her children, but mainly her beloved firstborn, Eddy.

Alexandra doted on Eddy so much that his father grew to resent him, no doubt jealous of the mother’s love the boy received, which his own mother, Victoria, had denied him in his childhood (“Bertie” was brought up to be a king and a facsimile of Prince Albert, not as a son).   He may have also resented Eddy’s effete and gentle nature, as well as his weedy appearance (Bertie was a big, fat, bear of a man) and the fact that the boy was obviously mentally deficient.

One would have thought that Bertie had learned from his own childhood, where he struggled with lessons and despite even being thrashed by his tutors and even his father (with full approval of his mother), simply could not take things in.  None of it; Eddy was found a tutor for homeschooling, John Neale Dalton, who taught him and his brother George, who was born 17 months after Eddy, together.  Dalton, recognising the boy’s inabilities told the Prince of Wales that his firstborn son was “incapable of being educated” and that his mind was “abnormally dormant”.  Albert thought that his son may be being distracted from his lessons by his younger brother and considered splitting them up.  Dalton strongly advised against this, telling the Prince of Wales that “Prince Albert Victor requires the stimulus of Prince George’s company to induce him to work at all.”  And that should have been that, except that Bertie allowed himself to be swayed by Lady Geraldine Somerset, who blamed Eddy’s poor academic achievement upon Dalton’s teaching methods.  So it was that, privilege and power being able to buy your way in anywhere in those days, a simple-minded man was allowed to pursue an education at university.

Eddy was sent to Cambridge University under the supervision of the brilliant academic James Stephen.  Needless to say, his efforts there were equally as unimpressive under at Cambridge as they had been under Dalton.  Stephen wrote of Eddy,”I do not think he can possibly derive much benefit from attending lectures at Cambridge … He hardly knows the meaning of the words to read” Stephen however warmed to Eddy, as did a number of the tutors friends – many of whom happened to be gay, while Stephen himself, a notorious misogynist, was almost certainly bisexual, if not wholly gay.

It was probably through these friends that Eddy had his first of many homosexual encounters.  They also Introduced him to the notorious Hundred Guineas Club, in Cleveland Street, London.  Membership of the club involved taking on a female persona, for which Eddy signed himself in as Victoria.  What was supposedly a social network of affluent young gentlemen, the club was little more than a glorified male brothel, which was to later be raided, causing a sensational scandal, in which Eddy’s name would come up.

But Eddy did not confine himself to male sexual liaisons.  Women apparently found him irresistible for some reason, and he also had a number of female sexual partners.  He certainly would never have done it for me – give me those smouldering sexy eyes of his brother George any day – but in fairness he was not altogether an unhandsome man, looking like a young Hugh Laurie.  However, the bulging eyes and the vacant look on his face, which included a mouth almost permanently pouting and which he obviously needed a week’s notice to close, belied his idiocy and made him look so manic that one would have thought it would have sent most people, female and male, scurrying for shelter.  Some have postulated that Eddy’s innate helplessness brought out the maternal, nurturing instinct in woman.  I suspect it is more likely that, as there has ever been and shall always be, there were plenty of little gold-diggers – on both sides of the gender binary – who were more than willing to prostitute themselves for financial gain, be it through gifts or through blackmail.

Eddy joined the Hussars Cadets at Cambridge and when he left the university in 1885, he joined up full time in the 10th Hussars.  He equally disliked his tuition at the Royal Military Academy at Aldershot, but enjoyed playing polo there.  Privilege spoke again and Eddy “passed” his exams in 1887, raising him to the rank of Captain.  The following year he received an honourary degree from Cambridge University.  Whist Eddy’s position was enough to buy him an officer’s commission, he was meaningless in real life.  When the Duke of Cambridge suggested that demonstrate some “elementary manoeuvres”, the Colonel of the regiment interceded, begging the Duke to drop it, as he said that the prince had not an inkling how to do so.  Later, at a banquet, Eddy told the Duke that he “knew nothing” of the Crimean War, and had “never heard” of the Battle of Alma – at which the Duke had distinguished himself at and had been decorated for.  Still being pampered by his over-protective mother, it was around this time she sent a letter to her son, a military captain, finishing with vomit-enducing fluffiness “a great big kiss for your lovely little face.”

It was in 1889 that Eddy’s name was mentioned in two scandals.  The first of these was the Cleveland Street scandal, when the police, investigating an unconnected robbery of a telegraph office, were told by a suspect that the money on his person came from a male brothel at 19 Cleveland Street; the premises of the Hundred Guineas Club.  Several members of the gentry were named in the subsequent investigations, including Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, and heir presumptive to the throne of Great Britain.  The investigating officer was Inspector Frederick Abberline, who would later become associated with the Whitechapel “Jack the Ripper” murders.  Whether Abberline sat on evidence or was ordered to do so, in the event the “men of substance” embroiled in the Cleveland Street Scandal suddenly remembered they had business abroad, and convictions were only brought amongst the owner of the house, and a 19-year-old accomplice.  Among those who fled abroad was Lord Arthur Somerset, head of the Prince of Wales’s stables, and the son of Lady Geraldine Somerset – the woman who had advised splitting Eddy from George.  Lord Arthur suddenly found he had business buying horses in Bad Homburg – where the Prince of Wales and his family, including Eddy, just happened to be on holiday at the time.

Despite the establishment trying their best to keep a lid on the story, somehow the press got hold of it, particularly journalist Edmund Parke of the politically radical North London Press.  Parke went as far as to name those member of gentry allegedly involved, which earned him a suit for libel, and 12 months in prison.  However, as far as Eddy was concerned, the genie was out of the bottle.  He had already been hardly circumspect concerning his affairs with both sexes, now with his name involved with the scandal, the rumour mill was rife, and while the media did not accuse him directly, there was a tacit trial by media, in which his involvement was strongly inferred.

Then just as the Cleveland Street Scandal was dying down, another, more terrible story was to make headline news; that of the Whitechapel murders of the elusive “Jack the Ripper”.  The rumour mill now rife about Eddy, some argued that Eddy himself was Jack, while others claimed that he, the royal family and the establishment were protecting his former tutor, James Stephen, who was Jack the Ripper.  While there have been authors since who have claimed that Eddy was Jack, it can be proven that he was not even in the country on the dates of some of the murders.  However, investigators and documentary makers researching the Whitechapel murders have been refused access to documents from the period concerning Eddy and James Stephen, and it is known that when Stephen was committed to an asylum, as his father had been before him, the murders suddenly stopped.

It is claimed that Queen Victoria was blissfully unaware that the reputation of her heir presumptive by this time was in tatters.  This is perfectly possible, as she had more or less devoted herself to mourning her beloved Albert.  So it was to get Eddy out of trouble and “make a man” of him, the Prince of Wales shipped him off to India, thinking he could not get up to any trouble there.  How wrong could he be?  Upon his return, Eddy’s tales to his friends were not of viewing the mighty river Ganges, nor holding court with opulent maharajahs, nor of visiting the Taj Mahal, but rather of the nights of passion he enjoyed with his Indian laundry attendant in Shuttadore.

One can only imagine Bertie’s reaction when word of his son not merely bedding another man, but a low-caste Indian at that reached his ears.  There was nothing for it but to marry the boy off.  The Prince of Wales put the word out to his sister, Vicky (one of the few intellects in the Saxe-Coburg dynasty), now Empress of Germany, to find an eligible princess among the European dynasties (despite all the obvious problems of inbreeding, the royals never seemed to learn).  Eddy, however, being a hopeless romantic, was “falling in love” with every female he encountered, and sending them love letters, despite the fact that due to his low intellect, were almost indecipherable.  He was apparently particularly attached to Hèléne, daughter to the pretender to the throne of France.  However, the woman was a Roman Catholic, which would have made Eddy’s marriage to her illegal under the Act of Settlement, which Queen Victoria was very quick to point out, and Eddy was forced to send her packing.  Hèléne was apparently genuinely heartbroken at this extremely cruel act.

Vicky instead lined up Princess Alix of Hesse for Eddy.  The Prince meanwhile however had taken up an affair with Lady Sybil St Clair Erskine.  Queen Victoria had already dismissed Lady Sybil as “too common”, but that did not stop Eddy from continuing his affair with her.  Not having the wits not to mention other women, Eddy wrote Lady Sybil often, and stated that while he loved her, he also loved another named Hèléne “wasn’t that extraordinary?”  He also begged Lady Sybil in these letters to destroy the part of them carrying his royal crest – which of course the Lady had absolutely no intention of doing.  Eddy did not even have the brains to write his clandestine love letters on plain paper.

Princess Alix having been rejected by Eddy, Vicky next lined up Princess May of Teck; a more mature woman, affectionately known as “Mary”, whom Eddy appears to have genuinely found a fondness for, perhaps because being mollycoddled all his life, he saw her as a mother figure, and the two were engaged to be married.  However, Eddy’s life of debauchery coupled with his genetic abnormalities was catching up with him.  He had never been well since returning from India, shortly after his 28th birthday, Eddy was diagnosed with pneumonia and took to a sick bed from which he was never to rise again.  Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward Saxe-Coburg, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, and Heir Presumptive to the British throne, passed away on 14 January 1892.

The reaction of the royal family to the death of the Prince was thought by many of the time to be crass, insensitive and uncaring, which it certainly appears to have been.  The Saxe-Coburgs, never ones to pass up an opportunity, had Princess Mary engaged to their second son, George with indecent haste.  It has to be admitted that even if Eddy could have been capable of fathering a child, which is doubtful in the exterme, one shudders at the thought what any resulting offspring would have been like.  So convenient was the death of the Prince, that still the rumour mill and the press would not leave him alone, alleging that Eddy had perhaps been assassinated to make way for his more able and suitable younger brother.

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, became King Edward VII upon the death of Victoria in 1901, and reigned until 1910.  He in turn was succeeded by his son George, who reigned as King George V until 1936.  Albert Victor meanwhile, whom had he survived may have been king, has been all but completely airbrushed out of history.

As a postscript to the story, Eddy’s former tutor, James Stephen, upon hearing of the death of the prince, went into a deep depression and refused to eat any food served up to him in the sanitorium he was committed to.  He died a month later, aged only 32.

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Transgender Woman Jailed in All-Male Prison

Tara Hudson - the UK state says this is a man

Tara Hudson – the UK state says this is a man

For not having her “papers”.

On Friday, 23 October 2015, transgender woman Tara Hudson admitted a charge of assault at Bath Magistrate’s Court, England.  Handing down sentence, the magistrate ordered that Tara, 26, be imprisoned for 12 weeks in Her Majesty’s Prison, Bristol – an all-male prison.

Why has someone who is to all intents and purposes a woman been placed in an all-male prison?  Because it is claimed that she is ‘legally’ a man, and does not hold a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Tara Hudson has identified as female since she was a child of 5 years old.  She has lived all her life as a woman.  She has undergone psychological help, she has received hormone treatment and she has undergone gender reassignment surgery.

The English Ministry of Justice however have ruled that Tara has “not engaged with the authorities” by not purchasing a GRC; a certificate issued to a transgender person by a panel (usually all cisgender), for the sum of £30 (US $45), after they have lived post-op for over two years.

Let’s look at it this way; Tara Hudson has lived all her life as a woman.  She underwent her treatment under the state-owned National Health Service – but she hasn’t engaged with the state?  She apparently has a passport in her name with her photograph – but she hasn’t engaged with the state?  She works as a woman and duly pays Income Tax and National Insurance in the name of Tara Hudson – but she hasn’t engaged with the state.

£30 of course is not a lot of money, but it is the principle behind it which is wrong.  Many transgender people are against GRCs on the grounds that they are a “transition tax” and more importantly, they are an infringement on civil liberties.  Being forced to carry a GRC is effectively being forced to carry identity papers, and of course, the details of everyone with a GRC is held on a government database.  If this does not apply to cisgender people, then it is outrageous that it should be expected of trans people.  The peoples of the UK have made it clear before they do not want ID introduced, so to enforce it upon one section of society – one of the most maligned and vulnerable sections of society – is not merely insidious, it is downright disturbing.  And of course there have been more than a few incidences of civil servants losing portable media containing sensitive information, and of government computer systems being hacked.

There are some who feel that the bloody-minded British civil service are making an example of Tara Hudson.  If that is indeed the case, which I fully suspect it to be so, then they are putting a woman in an obvious place of danger of assault, up to and including rape.

Moreover the Ministry of Justice, by placing Tara in an all-male prison, is ignoring their own 2011 guidelines.  These rule that where there is no GRC, there are many factors to take into account. Identity. Steps taken. Risk to the prisoner. To other prisoners. All of which are meant to be addressed before the guilty party arrives at prison.

Tara Hudson satisfies all the above criteria.  Indeed, one only take a look at her to tell she is a woman.  Yet the Ministry of Justice, in the typically arrogant, bureaucratic style of the British civil service, is ignoring it all, and have put a woman in an all too obvious place of extreme danger.

But it gets worse.  A HM Prisons spokesperson told the BBC  “It is longstanding policy to place offenders according to their legally recognised gender.  There are strict rules in place to ensure transsexual prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law.”  However, I was listening to a radio show about the story, and a prison officer phoned in, under an assumed name, and explained what that meant.  He stated that all too often transgender and gay inmates are placed in the secure units – along with all the child sex offenders.  So not only has Tara Hudson been sent to an all-male prison, but there is every chance she has been locked up with all the kiddy-fiddling nonces in the place.  The inference of this is not lost on me; that trans and gay prisoners are seen by the authorities as no different from paedophiles.  It is nothing short of state-sponsored transphobia and homophobia.

If that is the case, then not only is that an insult upon Tara’s character as a trans woman – as a woman really – but the mental torture of that fact alone could cause extreme trauma, possibly ending in long-term or even permanent psychological damage.  As it is, Tara’s mother has stated the does not think her daughter will cope well at all with being placed in an all-male prison.

And if Tara is not in the secure unit, then anyone with a shred of decency should be rightly concerned about her safety.  Not least because HMP Bristol was the subject of a damning report in February, which recorded a high incidence of violence higher than in other similar prisons, and most worrying of all for Tara Hudson, an admission that there was not “enough being done to protect some vulnerable prisoners”.

What will the Ministry of Justice say when Tara Hudson suffers continual verbal abuse?  What will they say when Tara suffers considerable psychological trauma?  What will they say when she is raped?

A petition has been raised on Change (link below), asking Bristol Magistrates, the Ministry of Justice and the British Judicial system, to reverse their decision on sending Tara Hudson to an all-male prison.  Nobody is asking for Tara to be set free.  She admitted her crime and is willing to do the time.  All we who back her ask is that the law acts appropriately and accordingly, by placing a woman in an all-female prison.

Should Tara Hudson have to serve out her sentence in HMP Bristol, however, I only hope that upon her release she refuses to pay another penny in Income Tax, and when Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs sends her a demand, she replies that they must have the wrong person – as the UK state does not recognise that she exists.


The Change petition can be found below.  I urge all my followers, particularly those in the UK, to please sign and share this:

https://www.change.org/p/bath-magistrates-prison-govenor-of-hm-prison-bristol-british-judicial-system-stop-transgender-woman-tara-hudson-from-being-sent-to-an-all-male-prison-in-bristol?recruiter=29161782&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

Germaine Greer is not a Woman

Claims to know how women should look, sound and behave

Claims to know how women should look, sound and behave

And that’s by her own definition

There is a controversy going on in the UK over whether feminist author and celebrity Germaine Greer should have been allowed to speak at Cardiff University, Wales, on 18 November.

Greer, now 73, was once the doyen of the feminist movement, whose 1970 book The Female Eunuch, became an instant bestseller and led many women to realise their full potential as individuals.  A liberation feminist rather than an equality feminist, in which she believes women’s liberation means embracing sex differences in a positive fashion – a struggle for the freedom of women to “define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate.” (Germaine Greer, “The Whole Woman”, 1999)

So far, so hoopy.  That is a very positive goal, which I personally admire and can fully agree with.

Unfortunately, Greer’s attitude to male to female transgender people is far from laudable.  Indeed, she goes as far as to deny the very existence of trans people, which has caused the controversy over her intended speech at Cardiff.  A petition was started asking her to be banned.  In the event, Greer cancelled the talk herself.

The entire debacle started back in 2009, when Greer wrote an article for the UK newspaper, The Guardian, in which she stated that trans women “seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so.  We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man’s delusion that he is female.”

There it is, girls; every one of you trans women are suffering delusions.  One can only wonder what Germaine Greer makes of crossdressing genderfluid pansexuals like myself.  But then, I don’t even need to ask.  For in a speech at Cambridge University in January, she stated that trans women know what it is like “to have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”.

Can we take it from that statement that Germaine Greer defines her womanhood (and every other woman’s) by her genitalia?  Excuse me, but isn’t a huge part of liberation feminism fighting the sexualisation of women?

Not for Greer, it appears, for she goes further.  She stated both in 1999 and 2009,  “No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight.”

This is the oft-repeated transphobic assertion that trans women are not real women, because they can neither ovulate or give birth. The fact that Germaine Greer is unrepentant over these ill-chosen words concern me greatly, and I wonder if she actually realises the full crassness of her statement.  For by saying such, she not only deeply insults trans women, but also infertile women.  Even if not doing it directly, she is defining what a woman is by her ability to ovulate and give birth.

And given that, I am more than willing to turn that right around on Germaine Greer.  For if she wants to define women thus, then given her age I would imagine that she no longer able to menstruate and I would be very surprised if she ever gave birth to a child now.  Therefore, by her very own narrow definition, Germaine Greer is no longer a woman.

That is of course, a nonsense.  But it is playing Greer at her own game, just like all the other TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists).

And it is an important nonsense.  What qualifies this Australian former convent school girl (oh, there’s a fucking surprise), with qualifications in English and French and an honourary doctorate alone, to speak on anyone’s gender except her own?  Absolutely nothing.  Indeed, even if she had qualifications in medicine or psychology, she still would not be qualified to say who is and who is not a woman.  For the only person who is an individual on their gender is that person themselves, whether they have a penis, a vagina (big, hairy and smelly or not), or both.

Now there’s a thing; what does Germaine Greer say about intersex individuals?  What does she say pseudohermaphroditism, where the testes do not drop but grow inside the (female) body?  Do we even want to know?  Probably not.  Like trans women, she probably claims they don’t exist.

Amidst all this, Germaine Greer denies being transphobic.  Says the woman who made all the above statements, and has also recently accused Caitlyn Jenner of “stealing the limelight” from Kim Kardashian, and that get this, “misogyny played a big part” in the decision of Glamour magazine to name Caitlyn Jenner their Woman of the Year.  Of course, Greer’s denial of being transphobic is not akin to the person who says “I’m not a racist, but…”.  No, it’s much more insidious, because it is again based upon her complete denial of the existence of trans women.  When asked about transphobia, she told The Cambridge Student magazine “I didn’t know there was such a thing. Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”

Really Germaine?  Tell that to the trans women who have been shunned by their loved ones, the ones who have been driven out of their neighbourhoods, the ones who daily live with abuse, the ones who have been threatened, the ones who have been beaten, and to the loved ones of the trans women who have been killed.  That is the reality millions of trans women (and men) face every day, and to make flippant remarks about arachnophobia are not only not funny, they are disgusting.

Meanwhile, the middle class dahlings of The Guardian are trying to claim that Silencing Germaine Greer will let prejudice against trans people flourish (Guardian, 25 October).  In a disingenuous article under the above heading, Zoe Williams of The Guardian tried to claim that “it is precisely because there is still so much prejudice against trans people that nobody should be silenced.”  What?  In the same way that allowing white supremacists a platform will put a stop to racism?  That allowing jihadists to speak will end Islamic extremism?  That allowing a fundamentalist Christian to speak on God’s ‘role’ for women will eradicate misogyny.  Not a bit of it.  Hate speech is hate speech, however it is dressed up, and deserves to be shut down wherever possible.  This is precisely why Cardiff University has rules against certain speakers who spread hate, which should have made the petition completely unnecessary in the first place.

Some have claimed that Greer’s talk was to be on Women in Power and nothing to do with trans issues.  Given this entire recent debacle – and Greer’s own words against Caitlyn Jenner – it is unintelligent to even imagine she would not have touched on the subject.

Germaine Greer of course is having a grand old time playing the martyr now.  “I was going to talk about women and power, because I think there is a lot of triumphalist [sic] talk that masks the real historic situation,” she told BBC News, “And apparently people have decided that because I don’t think that post-operative transgender men are women I’m not to be allowed to talk.”  Aww, poor Germaine – not allowed to spread her hate speech, which every TERF on the face of the planet would lap up, and which could end in more attacks upon trans women.

But as we can see, she remains unrepentant, which she made clear to the BBC by stating, “a great many women” who are cisgender think that trans women do not “look like, sound like or behave like women”.

Well firstly, I’m sure most if not all of my readers are only too painfully aware of the ignorance and prejudice which cis privilege affords.  That no sooner backs up Greer’s argument.  There are many straight people who deny that some people are born homosexual, but that does not mean that lesbians and gays do not exist.  Germaine Greer is far from either ignorant nor stupid, therefore when she makes such a crass statement, one can only surmise that she is speaking from pure blind transphobic bigotry.

Secondly, and possibly more importantly, I was unaware that there was / is any particular way for women to look, sound, or behave.  Far from it, I say that women come in all shapes and sizes, with many different looks, many different voices, and who follow many different behaviours.  That’s what makes them individuals, and one can only wonder what qualifies Germaine Greer – or any these other cis women she claims to speak for – to dictate and define how a woman should look, sound or behave?

But then, I ask that because I am a liberation feminist.  Germaine Greer, once one of the most important voices of feminism, is nothing today but yet one more cis bigot, and a sad parody of her former self.

Steph Holmes / Chrysalis: An apology

I recently posted an article which claimed, based on newspaper reports, that the Trans charity Chrysalis had lodged a complaint with police over a children’s hospice running a drag fun run, claiming to describe it as “drag” was a hate crime.

I will admit to having been misled by press reports over this story in the Daily Telegraph.  In fairness, however, the story was repeated in Pink News, whom I would suggest really should research the facts before copying the story from a right-wing newspaper verbatim.

I have since been contacted by Steph Holmes of Chrysalis acquainting me with the full facts of the story.  She asserts that neither she nor anyone at Chrysalis lodged any such complaint with Lancashire Police.  The entire premise of any such police complaint appears to be a complete fabrication on the part of the media.

Better I think to let Steph explain in her own words:

Neither Chrysalis nor any representative of it reported the event to police. Neither Chrysalis nor any representative of it has been contacted by Derrian House. Neither Chrysalis nor any representative of it wanted the charity event stopped.

It was Derrian House that asked the press to remove the word ‘drag’ from press reports about the race. Chrysalis were OK with it being drag – it’s a tradition as older than the panto dames theme that they finally changed it to. We only objected to the comments made by Derrian House’s representative, and asked that they change the premise of the race. This they did within a couple of days and the race went ahead recently. I hope it made a great deal of money for this extremely worthy cause.

Meanwhile, of the British national newspapers that ran this story without fact checking, one withdrew the story straight away and the other has printed a retraction because of the factual errors.

Incidentally, I was inundated with hate mail briefly until the truth came out, some of it very threatening. Stupidest of all, I was accused of homophobia – I’m a lesbian.

Steph attaches the links to two news stories; one about threats she received, and the other of Manchester Pride, which she took part in, despite those threats.

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/trans-activist-fears-for-her-safety-after-false-claims-she-tried-to-ban-drag-fun-run/

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/here-are-the-18-best-pictures-from-the-manchester-pride-parade/

It was never my intention to deliberately misrepresent either Steph Holmes or Chrysalis and I shall freely admit I got this one badly wrong.  For that I offer my deepest apologies to Steph personally, and Chrysalis as a whole.  I truly am sorry.

Finally, I would say that if anyone sent Steph or anyone else at Chrysalis hate mail and / or threats as a result of reading my article, then I not only say shame upon you, but please stay the hell away from my pages.  Cyberbullies are no friends of Xandra.

UK loses top LGBT+ rating

The LGBT+ European Top 20

The LGBT+ European Top 20

But why Scotland now ranked with rest of UK?

The latest rating from International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA) has shown that the UK, previously rated top in Europe for LGBT+ rights, has now dropped to second place, below Malta.

The Rainbow Europe Ranking, which rates 49 European countries on their level of LGBT+ rights, has found that the tiny Mediterranean island state of Malta now rates 89%, while the UK comes second with a rating of 85.55%.  This has been down to several recent changes in Malta, which include being the first country to outlaw surgery on intersex children, introducing LGBT+ education and starting same-sex civil unions.

The IGLA recognise that Malta does not yet have equal marriage but make the point that the same pertains to Northern Ireland.  While the UK province is notorious for sectarian bigotry and religious strife, opposition to LGBT+ rights is one issue which unites both sides of the Protestant / Roman Catholic divide.

It would be churlish of one not to congratulate Malta on this victory, and indeed, I previously published an article championing them on the very brave step of becoming the first country in the world to outlaw gender assignment surgery on intersex babies.  That is undoubtably what swung it for them.  That apart, for a country which has been the crossroads of religion for millennia, and which remains culturally strongly Christian, makes their stance all the more amazing.

I do however have a problem with the IGLA latest rating, and that is that all the constituent parts of the UK are now included together.  When I previously reported on this (“Scotland best for LGBTI legal equality”, 11 May 2015), Scotland was leading the field of the Rainbow Index with a staggering 92%, compared to 86% for the rest of the UK.

By now counting the UK as a whole, we see that Scotland’s rating is being dragged down by the rest of the UK.  Needless to say, Northern Ireland must be playing no small part in this.  The religious attitudes in the province are an embarrassment to the whole of the UK.  LGBT+ rights apart, there is also no abortion in NI, and a Marie Stopes clinic which opened in Belfast was forced to close within a few weeks, due to protests which often turned violent.  And if you think you can escape those attitudes in the countryside, consider that the World Heritage site of the Giant’s Causeway, volcanic pillars pushed up be pressure millions of years ago, has an information display claiming it was formed by the Noachian flood, around 4000 years ago.  Frankly, I’m all for a united Ireland – if only to offload a province full of embarrassing religious nutters on someone else.

Another factor however must be the piss poor Same Sex Marriages Act which was kicked through Westminster with indecent haste, and which like all kneejerk legislation, was ill thought-out, ill-planned, and has come in for considerable criticism since it’s implementation.  The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act, by comparison took much longer to formulate, but with the result it not only allowed for same-sex marriage, but was the most comprehensive marriage legislation, for all sexualities and genders,  ever to be passed into Scots Law.

There of course may be somewhere that the Scottish Government has shot itself in the foot, and that is on the recent introduction of their consultation of the future of civil partnership, which has come in for considerable criticism from the Scots LGBT+ charity, Equality Network.  The Scottish Government is giving only two options, both of which would see the eventual removal of civil partnerships altogether in favour of marriage.  There are some, myself included, who would argue that there are couples, of whatever gender and sexuality, who wish to be together, do not wish to marry, but wish their partnerships recognised in law, with all the benefits in law that brings.  The Scottish Government is simply not giving the Scottish people the right to say they may actually want that.

These issues apart, however, one cannot help but wonder just how and why the IGLA decided to amalgamate the constituent parts of the UK into one, and I don’t think we have to look any further than the current UK government.  Ever since the previous league table came out in May, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been boasting that the UK is the best place for LGBT+ rights. Only two months ago, the Prime Minister stated “Together we should be proud to live in a country judged to be the best place in Europe if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.”

Cameron, as a typical Tory, barely recognises Scotland as a country with its own system of law (which has always been devolved, even under the auspices of the 1707 Treaty of Union).  It is therefore entirely possible that he has put pressure on the IGLA not to count the UK as constituents, but as a whole.  If so, that is odious, as it may well be his government dragging Scotland down with the rest of the UK.

When the Prime Minister won the General Election in May, he made Nicky Morgan MP his Minister for Equalities, despite the fact that she voted against same-sex marriage.  Of course, since then Ms Morgan has claimed that it was wrong for her to do so and she has changed her mind.  But then, any MP with a cabinet post in the offing can easily have their mind changed.  Nicky Morgan’s appointment to that post alone may very well have skewed the Rainbow Table.

Whatever the truth, one cannot but help but feel disappointed in the IGLA for not counting Scotland as separate, when in fact, even within the UK, we have our own laws, our own marriage system, and our own LGBT+ rights.  And while I know there are those who will disagree with me, for my part Scotland losing top place – which at formerly 92% is effectively what has happened – is just one more symptom of a much wider malaise; that being that as long as Scotland remains in the UK, we shall always suffer and be dragged down by Westminster as a result.


The full Rainbow Index table can be found here:

http://www.rainbow-europe.org/country-ranking

Link to my article when Scotland was leading the field:

https://xandradurward.wordpress.com/category/scotland/

Abortion to pursue career in porn? So what?

Josie Cunningham

Josie Cunningham

No different from any other career.

Porn actress and wannabe model Josie Cunningham is no stranger to controversy.  The publicity-hungry mum of three has caused raised eyebrows and received condemnation for many things.  She said she would abort a child to go on ‘reality’ show Celebrity Big Brother; she received a free breast enlargement on Britain’s National Health Service; she continued smoking when pregnant when she discovered the baby was a boy – stating that she would never smoke carrying a girl, which she craved; she started a dating site for unattractive people; when that failed she started up a website encouraging young girls to have unprotected sex and get pregnant; she tried to sell tickets to the birth of her third child; she put her breast milk up for sale online, describing breast-feeding as “borderline incest”.

Her latest step has the UK up in arms; she aborted her fourth pregnancy at 12 weeks in order to have cosmetic surgery on her nose, so that she can continue her careers in modelling and porn movies.  Stating that it was her body and her choice, Cunningham (25) told the Sunday People “Anyone who criticises me for putting my looks ahead of an unborn child has no right until they’re the ones putting food on the table for my kids.”

Cunningham had already booked in for her nose job but the cosmetic surgeon refused to carry out the procedure while she was pregnant.  It was then that she opted for abortion.

Okay, Josie Cunningham is obviously not the sharpest tool in the box, and at face value appears to be a truly vile excuse for a human being, and not the sort of person I for one would readily invite to a dinner party – unless it was her washing the dishes, and I’m not even sure that would be within her abilities.  I don’t even think she is really all that attractive (please do something about those fucking eyebrows, dear, your mouth reminds of the Scots tale ‘The lass wi’ the muckle mou’,  – and your boobs are TOO big for your frame).

She does however have a point.

So, Josie’s chosen careers are in modelling and porn, and it is because of this that people are up in arms about her decision to terminate her pregnancy, so that she can continue to pursue those careers.

What utter hypocrisy.

Anyone here who can honestly say they have never viewed pornography?  Anyone can put their hand on their heart and in all truthfulness say “Oh no, not I.”?  If there is, get the fuck out of my blog, you boring, uptight, frustrated, inhibited prigs.  The rest of you, read on.

I will happily admit I have viewed and do view porn.  And when I say I have viewed porn, HOO BOY, what porn I have viewed.  I have seen straight, gay and lesbian sex; cisgender, trans and intersex couples and individuals, and mixtures of all the above; short of anything obviously and quite rightly illegal and anything which harms a child or an animal, I have seen all sorts of nekkid bodies doing all sorts of naughty and kinky things, singly, in couples, trios and larger groups, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

And if you are at all truthful, so have many of you out there.

So, when a porn actress has a termination to pursue her career, before anyone can judge, those of us who view porn have to admit that we are at least in part complicit in that.

And the question has to be asked, is Josie Cunningham’s decision really different from women who choose to terminate a pregnancy to continue or careers in any other fields?  This seems to be the contentious issue here, because it involves – GASP!  GOSH!  SHOCK!  HORROR! – sex, and that of course somehow makes Cunningham’s decision worse and wholly immoral.  Thereby further entrenching the hypocrisy involved.

The cultural inference is that it is all wrong because we have all been conditioned to see sex as sordid and dirty, and therefore anyone who takes part in porn must be wholly devoid of morals, or for that matter, any goodness or human decency.  Yet the very same people making those judgements, i.e. the majority of the population, are strangely enough those who have viewed, continue to view, and will continue to view porn.  There are no accurate statistics on pornography being viewed, but one website claims that at any given moment there are 28,258 people viewing porn on the internet.  Google Trends showed that in 2012 searches for porn in the UK came second only to the football (soccer for those across the pond – we actually use our feet with the ball, dears) World Cup, then taking place in England.  And of course with the advent of iPhones, those trends are growing.  So people can throw up their hands in horror all they want, but as with all services, so long as there is demand, there shall always be supply, and the inevitable consequences that creates.  Therefore, all of us who view porn must admit responsibility in part for any porn actress who choses to terminate a pregnancy.

What is worse, and who is more immoral?  The businesswoman who terminates a pregnancy to pursue a career in a property company and who takes decisions to foreclose on mortgages and thus makes people homeless?  The woman who has an abortion to follow a career in a finance company involved in arms dealing?  That woman who has an abortion to take a job in a multinational corporation whose actions exacerbate malnutrition in the developing world?

Or is it the woman who chooses abortion to pursue a career in an industry the vast majority of us view?  Is it the woman for whom the time simply is not right, to have a child, who can’t afford a child, or indeed one who recognises she would make a terrible mother?

I know which I choose.

And yet, it is Josie Cunningham, purely because she’s in the porn industry, that society comes down hardest on, and who is condemned because she is doing with her body and her life exactly what she wants to do – and is not harming anyone else in the process.  It is Josie Cunningham who has had her Twitter account hacked and vile comments put on it.  It is Josie Cunningham the press is now referring to as “The most hated woman in Britain”.

It is really disgusting the level some will sink to as well in their condemnation of Josie Cunningham.  While listening to a debate about her decision on a radio station, the broadcast was at one point interspaced by an advert for a charity which helps women who have suffered miscarriages and stillbirths.  Doing so does not back up the argument of those opposed to her, and furthermore, it does not respect women who have suffered miscarriages and stillbirths; if anything it grossly and shamefully disrespects them by using them for a cheap political point.

If I have one criticism of Josie Cunningham, it is her claims that she needs a nose job to pursue and continue her career, claiming its to house, clothe and feed her children.

I have long railed against cosmetic surgeons who carry out glamour jobs for the rich and famous only, purely because their talents could be used better elsewhere, on those who really need their skills, such as those who have been horribly disfigured in accidents or fires, those born with disfigurements, those who genuinely need breast enlargements or reductions – I happen to know an American woman with marvellous boobs, and who is suffering back problems due to them but cannot afford the reduction she so desperately needs – and of course, transgender people who need to transition.

And Josie Cunningham may kid many when she claims it’s all for her children, she may even kid herself, but she certainly will not kid me.  Being the media whore and a celebrity who is famous for being famous, she is not convincing me she is short of few bob.  When she had her boob job done free, she made even more enemies by stating on Twitter, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but tax payers will always fund me,”.  Well, the taxpayer no longer funds her, and anyone who can afford to get cosmetic surgery done privately should have absolutely no problems with the expense involved in bringing up a family.

I think it’s far more likely that at 25, Josie has finally woken up to the fact that if she wants to continue in her chosen industry, then her days are numbered.  She would already be considered “too old” by many modelling agencies, and she is already on the borderline of being considered “mature” in the porn industry.  Sorry, Josie, but whatever you do will never stop the march of time, and it is precisely attitudes such as yours to ‘beauty’ which drives ageism in the very industries you are involved in.