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“Don’t vote for ‘Satanic’ SNP” Minister tells congregation

Wee Free clergyman brands gender and child policies “evil”.

$$-AAA-0001In the run-up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections, a Free Church of Scotland minister has branded the Scottish National Party (SNP) as “Satanic” over their stance on gender fluidity and one of their key policies on children in an outspoken and strongly-worded letter to his congregation, asking them to think before voting SNP.

Reverend Paul Gibson of Knox Church in Perth, part of the “Free Kirk” or “Wee Frees” as they are known, published his letter online in the wake of the recent announcement SNP party leader and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) that if re-elected, the SNP would restructure gender recognition laws in Scotland to bring it into line with “international best practice”. This would include individuals being allowed to change their gender on their birth certificates without medical consultation or authorisation from a committee, and for non-binary people to be able to state their gender fluidity on official documentation.

Insisting that “The Scriptures plainly teach that God is the author of all life (and therefore the sole designator of each person’s sex)”, Rev Gibson, also taking a side-swipe at same-sex marriage, insists that human beings are made male and female, that God “ordained the institution of marriage between a man and woman as the pinnacle of all human relationships”, and that “He has not only enabled the biological process of procreation but also given this married partnership a divinely ordained responsibility of raising their offspring according to His precepts.”

Continuing in what can only be called a rant, Rev Gibson states “We have already seen widespread celebration of the oxymoron that is same-sex marriage… …our authoritarian “progressives” want to take us further into the darkness by effectively disregarding the God-given authority and responsibility of parents, as well as allowing – if not even encouraging – all people to choose which gender they wish to identify with. You almost have to pinch yourself each time you even think about it – so extreme is the departure, not just from biblical morality, but basic wisdom and common sense. Can a government really be this foolish and that Satanic?! The answer, tragically, is yes.”

Conceding that “there is a good degree of truth to the statement, “they’re all as bad as each other” – at least from a Christian perspective”, Rev Gibson goes onto claim that “I for one have no burning desire to champion the cause of one party over the others within the church, nor to make out that one is worse than the others purely on the basis of some long held political bias”, but then continues, “However, when you consider the massive potential there is for the Named Person Scheme to be used as a means of interfering with the role of parents who seek to raise their children according to Christian values, coupled together with our government’s plans regarding gender, you would have to conclude that true believers need to think long and hard as to whether such a political party – one which seems intent on destroying any lasting imprint of God’s design – can honestly be supported in good conscience before our Creator.”

Really, Paul dear? You are trying to say your god is the designer and creator of all life, who decides the sex of every individual, that the same god ordained marriage between a man and woman for procreation and bringing up children, you call same-sex marriage an “oxymoron”, you brand the SNP as Satanic, say you have no bias, then state that “true believers” cannot support the SNP?

A lot to get through here, but deep breath…

The SNP are Satanic, and by inference anti-Christian?

For a great many years now the SNP have been funded by the deeply religious Stagecoach buses founder and owner, Brian Souter. That is the same Brian Souter who led a campaign to retain the deeply homophobic legislation, Section 28 (in England) / 22A (in Scotland), which made it illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality in schools. That legislation effectively made it illegal for LGBT+ young people to mention their sexuality and thus further entrenched guilt and depression in many. Although I truly admire the SNP government in Scotland and am a firm supporter of Scottish independence, that they continue to receive money from Souter is one of the main reasons I refuse to join the party.

Every Education Committee in Scotland must, by law, have a religious, i.e. Christian, representative upon it. In ten years in power, and in five years of a majority government, the SNP have done nothing to change that, despite only 39% of Scots now counting themselves as religious, and church membership and attendance in sharp decline in Scotland.

The SNP administration have built more new Roman Catholic schools than any administration previous to them.

Every school in Scotland must offer Religious and Moral Education (RME), which parents can opt their children out of. Few parents are aware of this right, and when the SNP government were petitioned by the Scottish Secular Society to change this to an “opt-in” – whereby the schools would have to ask parents if they wanted their children to receive RME – they downright refused to do so.

John Mason MSP of the SNP in 2014 tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament stating that creationism should be taught in schools as science could not disprove it (yes, dears, he really asked science to prove a negative). The motion failed, but that it got as far as being considered underlines the fact that the SNP government is in fact riddled with Christians.

The SNP candidate for Central Scotland, Sophia Coyle, is a committed Christian and ardent anti-abortionist, and is also opposed to same-sex couples adopting children.

The Scottish government has an advisory committee on religion, which secular, humanist and atheist groups were not made aware of until 24 hours before it’s first sitting. The Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Rev David A Robertson – effectively Rev Gibson’s boss – sits upon that committee.

God designates the sex of every individual?

Well firstly, biological sex, i.e. how we are born, and psychological gender are two different things. Gender Dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, which has been deeply researched by experts in the field, not “progressives”, and the conclusion of science is that a transgender woman is a woman, a transgender man is a man, and a non-binary person is a non-binary person – which is precisely what transgender and non-binary people have been telling cisgender people since time began.

Being transgender or non-binary is no more a choice than being cisgender is. If anyone disagrees with me, then I challenge them to present me with the peer-reviewed science disproving Gender Dysphoria, or stating it is a choice. And note I said “peer-reviewed science”. Do not even try presenting that dusty old book of Bronze Age goat herders campfire tales; that is not the proof, it is the claim.  And if anyone still disagrees and claims that gender is a choice, then tell me when you chose to be cisgender?

I think I speak for all transgender and non-binary people that while we are happy with who we are now, if we could have chosen to avoid the confusion with our gender identity, the mental turmoil, the mixed emotions, the depression, the ostracisation from family, friends, and society in general, the abuse, the threats and the actual violence visited upon us, we would have never opted for it. As it is we never got that choice, and all the psychological damage and abusive treatment we have suffered has been at the hands of others, not our own.

Of course the greatest place where Rev Gibson’s argument of his god designating everyone’s biological sex falls down is when intersex babies, with genitals from both sides of the gender binary are born. When an intersex baby is born, if God existed, would that then not be that God’s design? One wonders how Rev Gibson would cope were he father to such a child. Would he decide the child’s gender, and authorise surgery to assign his chosen gender? If he did so, would he not be interfering with God’s design? Or would he leave it to the child to decide when they were old enough which gender they were? If so, and surgery were carried out, would that child not then be interfering with God’s design? And would that child leaning towards one gender not then completely destroy Rev Gibson’s argument of gender being a “choice”? Or if the child grew to realise they were happly to remain intersex, which would be adhering to “God’s design”, would that not then completely destroy Rev Gibson’s arguments against gender fluidity?

If you’re reading this, Rev Gibson, I suggest you sit down and consider the above carefully – a large glass of perspective and soda may help. And while your at it, consider that the only person who is the ultimate expert on their gender is the individual concerned. And that applies to transgender, genderfluid / non-binary, and cisgender people.

Marriage was ordained by God as one man / one woman for procreation and bringing up families?

By ‘God’, Rev Gibson here of course means the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. I can only take it by making such a statement that to add to his sins, the reverend gentleman is also a young earth creationist, who maintains that the Bible is to be taken literally as the unerring word of his God, and that the entire universe, the Earth, and all life – including mankind – were created in six days, 6000 years ago (someone forgot to tell the Egyptians, in the same region where the scriptures were written, and who have a recorded history going back 7000 years). Unfortunately for Rev Gibson, that has long been proven to be cobblers, and just as mankind long predates the Bible, so does marriage, which has been found in every culture on the face of the globe as a social contract between two people who love each other.

If Rev Gibson insists that marriage was instituted by HIS God, then I leave it to him to tell every married couple in Scotland who are Muslim, Hindu, some other non-Christian religion, or of no religion, that they are not married. And once Police Scotland are done with him for Religious Hate Speech, he may wish to look at what Scots Law has to say about marriage, and the fact that it makes little mention of religious faith.

Likewise for Rev Gibson is to claim that marriage is for one man / one woman is to be a hypocrite to his own faith. In the scriptures polygamous marriage is the most common form, with monogamous marriage being the exception rather than the rule. I often found it amusing that religious objectors claimed that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy, which they called sinful, when it is so common in the Bible; just as the same people claimed it would lead to incest, when it is equally common in the Bible, and if creationists were to be believed, then we would all ultimately be the descendants of incestuous unions of the children of Adam and Eve.

If marriage is for procreation and bringing up families alone, one has to ask if Rev Gibson has ever refused to marry an elderly couple, or a couple unable to have children due to matters of physical disability? This is another piece of hypocrisy I intensely dislike from homophobic clergy, who bang on about procreation and family, yet will happily marry elderly couples and those who cannot have children. This entire argument falls down on the fact that people marry for love, and for companionship. My own parents often stated they married for companionship, my siblings and I came along later. So if a heterosexual couple marry for love and companionship, although they be elderly, unable to have children through physical disability, or even if one or both are asexual, then exactly the same applies to same-sex couples.

Rev Gibson calls same-sex marriage an “oxymoron”. He must agree then that it makes sense? Or is he just as ignorant as many others using that word are nowadays? An oxymoron is not, as many think, a mere contradiction in terms. Rather it is a contradiction which ultimately makes sense.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition of ‘oxymoron’;

“A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).”

We can see from that example that “falsely true” whilst apparently contradictory in this instance, ultimately makes sense. Likewise, Liverpool beat poet Roger McGough made wonderful use of an oxymoron in his poem The Fallen Birdman; “People gathered round the mess, in masochistic tenderness”.

Therefore, if Rev Gibson is asserting that same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, he is essentially stating that it ultimately makes sense.

If I am wrong on this one, I am sure the lovely Clare Flourish whom I follow here on WordPress, and who is much more learned in the English language than I am, shall soon put me right.

There is “massive potential… …for the Named Person Scheme to be used as a means of interfering with the role of parents who seek to raise their children according to Christian values”?

The Named Person scheme is part of the SNP policy of Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC). It is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which when going through the Scottish Parliament, had full support of almost every party, with only the Scottish Conservative Party (who are about as “Scottish” as a Wiltshire cricket pitch) opposing it. It has the full support of several children’s charities and Police Scotland, it is based on models from other countries and yet more countries are looking at GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme with views to emulating it.

GIRFEC recognises that every child is different and an individual and aims for them to achieve their best within their abilities, rather than treating all children as the same, and expecting them all to achieve the same standards. The Named Person scheme is not about interfering at all. Every child will have a Named Person within the education and / or social care systems whom the child or their parents can turn to in time of need. The Named Person equally shall be trained to look out for a child who is unhappy, failing, and how to help them, and the warning signs of abuse, and how to properly address that.

The only objectors to GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme are a tiny group of protesters, who are attempting to challenge it in court, and which is almost certain to fail.

I have to say, if Rev Gibson thinks that the Named Person scheme has the potential for interference in bringing up children, particularly in the Christian faith, then he must have a very dim view of Scotland’s educationalists and one can only wonder just how much contact he has had with Scottish teachers. It just so happens that through a job I was once in, I had quite a bit of contact with teachers in Scotland, and a surprisingly large number of them are in fact active Christians. Indeed, I find the number of Christian teachers quite disturbing and I would be more worried about them attempting to push their faith upon children irrespective of children’s wishes. These fears were realised a few years ago, when two head teachers at a South Lanarkshire primary school were dismissed after children had been presented with creationist literature at an after-school club ran by American evangelists.

If the Named Person scheme were such a worry to Scottish parents, then the tiny take up of the No To NP protest certainly does not bear that out. Likewise, the Scottish Tories have been extremely quiet about it in their campaign for the Scottish Parliamentary elections. The SNP won a majority government in the Scottish Parliament in 2011 – in a proportional representation voting system devised to make majority government ‘impossible’ – and are on track to win another majority government when Scotland goes to the polls on Thursday, 5 May, 2016. If Named Persons were really such a huge issue, then the Tories would be pushing that strongly, just about every parent in Scotland would be against it, and the SNP would be lucky to win a handful of seats. The fact that the same parents are fully intending to vote SNP tells it’s own story; that having been given the information about GIRFEC / Named Persons, they understand it, and they like it.

But then, in claiming he is not biased but given his strong opposition to Named Persons, Rev Gibson gives away that he is indeed biased, and given which party was the only one to oppose GIRFEC, it is obvious how he votes. He says it himself; “I for one have no burning desire to champion the cause of one party over the others within the church, nor to make out that one is worse than the others purely on the basis of some long held political bias.” Why even add that bit about bias unless he has one?

So what does Holy Wullie, sorry, Reverend Gibson, do? He effectively tells his congregation how to vote, stating that those “true believers need to think long and hard as to whether such a political party – one which seems intent on destroying any lasting imprint of God’s design – can honestly be supported in good conscience before our Creator.”

And goes further by calling the SNP “Satanic” and “evil”.

Want to see what a truly evil government is, Rev Gibson? It is one which tells severely disabled and terminally ill people that they are fit for work and takes benefits away from them. It is a government which seeking to make savings, goes after the poorest of the poor, while giving the obscenely rich tax breaks and incentives to make even more money. It is a government of one of the richest countries in the world which tells people who have paid into the system all their working lives that there’s no money in the pot for their pensions, and they’ll have to work for more years to come. It is a government which claims to be helping refugee children, taking only those from Syria, and turning a blind eye to the lone refugee children just across the English Channel, many of whom are at danger from trafficking and child prostitution. All that, and many other things visited upon the UK by the Tory Westminster government, are the epitome of evil.

And I personally think Rev Gibson is crediting his Wee Free parishoners with far too much intelligence; if they were at all capable of thinking long and hard, they would not be in the Free Kirk.

I am an atheist, and I am also a secularist; I believe in removing religion from politics and public life as much as possible. I fully recognise that everyone is entitled to an opinion, even the unco righteous like Reverend Gibson. I am also fully aware that for many Christians, including dear Clare Flourish, their faith is a main driving force in speaking out against all sorts of wrongs, and I admire their passion in that. The Society of Friends (Quakers), the Iona Community and St John’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh are certainly no slouches at speaking out against social injustice.  When any member of clergy tries to tell their congregation how to vote however, they cross the line from opinion to interference in politics, and that needs to be challenged wherever possible. I am fully aware that clergy pay taxes on their earnings, just like the rest of us, the churches as organisations however do not, and given that Reverend Gibson and his own Wee Free Moderator, Reverend David A Robertson, have both been very vocal recently about SNP policies on transgender and non-binary people, then I for one say it is time to remove tax exempt status from the Free Kirk.

As a footnote, given that Reverend Robertson has long stated his support for an independent Scotland, one wonders if he will pull Rev Gibson up for his attack upon the SNP? Given that Robertson recently published an “open letter” to Nicola Sturgeon, saying much the same as Gibson, I sincerely doubt it.


The full text of Reverend Gibson’s letter can be read here:

http://www.knoxchurchperth.com/letters/april-19th-2016

“Open letter” from Reverend David A Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, to Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland:

https://theweeflea.com/2016/04/01/the-ultimate-april-fool-an-open-letter-to-nicola-sturgeon/

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Scottish Government proposes Non-Binary legal recognition

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Nicola Sturgeon MSP – First Minister

And more good news for Trans Scots.

The current Scottish National Party (SNP) administration in the devolved Scottish Government has pledged to overhaul LGBT+ legislation, which will effectively give legal recognition to those in Scotland of non-binary gender.

Speaking before a hustings meeting co-hosted by LGBT+ rights groups including Stonewall Scotland and the Equality Network, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, a former reciptient of the Scottish LGBTI Politician of the Year Award, laid out a five point plan intended to reform Scotland’s gender recognition laws “bring it into line with international best practice”, should the SNP be returned to power in the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 5 May 2016.

Proposals include to allow non-binary and transgender people to revise their birth certificates to reflect their gender, without the current need to seek approval from a tribunal of lawyers and doctors. Revised birth certificates will then be valid for passport applications, as well as for use in other legal documentation. If implemented, the changes would make Scotland the third country in the European Union, after Malta and Denmark, to recognise non-binary gender. The status is also recognised worldwide in Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Argentina.

The changes come after a recent survey carried out by the Scots LGBT+ campaign group Equality Network, found that 300 participants described their gender as “non-binary”, although it is believed the true figure could be as much as ten times higher.

The commitment was welcomed by Nathan Gale of Non-Binary Scotland, who said: “By making a commitment to reform gender recognition law the Scottish Government is ensuring that all trans people, no-matter what their gender identity, will be able to be themselves, in all aspects of their lives.

“Trans people who don’t identify as men or women have just as much right to have the gender they identify as recognised and respected as everyone else.

“I hope that the next Scottish Government will truly aspire to international best practice and provide for a third gender, alongside male and female, to be recognised in Scottish law.”

The five points of Ms Sturgeon’s commitment are as follows;

“Expect all new, guidance and promoted teachers to undertake training on equality so they are confident in tackling prejudice-based bullying.

“Promote children’s health and well-being right throughout early years, primary and secondary education, so that all children and young people learn tolerance, respect, human rights, equality, good citizenship, to address and prevent prejudice and about healthy relationships through refreshed, age-appropriate strategies and resources.

“Work towards every professional working with children being trained on equality, addressing prejudice-based bullying, attachment, child development and child protection.

“Review and reform gender recognition law for all Trans people to ensure it is line with international best practice.

“Aim for all police officers to receive appropriate training on the investigation of hate crime.”

In more detail, the proposals include the right of transgender young people of 16-17 year old to change the gender on their birth certificates, with parental support.

The proposals also have the potential to reduce the incidence of transgender people in Scotland convicted of crimes to be sent to prisons according to their birth gender. Regular readers will know this is a particular bugbear of mine, so I fully applaud the SNP administration in the Scottish Government for this move.

Speaking on the proposals, Ms Sturgeon stated “I’m proud that Scotland has made significant progress on LGBTI equality in recent years; however, the very fact that we are still having debates like this at election time just underlines that there is still much that we need to do.

“In particular I want to see a renewed focus on areas such as education – both for young people themselves, and those responsible for their emotional and educational wellbeing.

“Tolerance, respect, inclusion – these are attitudes and principles we want to encourage and foster in modern, fairer Scotland.

“Enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity is about supporting them to be themselves so that they might fulfil their potential.

“I am hopeful that in the next Scottish Parliament, we can build as much consensus on LGBTI issues as we did in this session – and take another leap forward for equality.”

Not everybody is happy however, and the loudest of the dissenting voices comes from the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Revered David A Robertson, who stated in an article in the Daily Mail, “Not content with the destruction of the traditional Christian ideas of sexuality and marriage, it appears the SNP are now seeking to destroy the traditional idea of gender. We do not believe that this will lead to the Brave New World envisaged by the proponents of the multi gender doctrine. It is destructive of humanity and will cause chaos in our society. The SNP seem to be working on the unproven and somewhat bizarre notion that children get to choose their own gender and sexuality.”

Rev Robertson is no stranger to such bigotry, and worse still, it is not as if he is ignorant of the facts. He is an educated man, a theology graduate, and has been well-informed, many times, of the facts about sexuality, marriage, and gender. He is correct when he speaks of Christian “ideas” of those subjects, but does not accept that they are merely that – ideas, not facts. He does not recognise that Christianity does not have a monopoly upon marriage, or that marriage originally was a social contract with no religious overtones, but he is more than well aware that nowhere in the Bible is marriage defined as one man / one woman, but rather that polygamous marriage (which is one thing Rev Robertson claimed SSM would lead to) is the most common form of marriage in the Bible, with monogamy being the exception, rather than the rule.

So likewise are his foolish notions of sexuality and gender merely Christian “ideas”, and when it comes to that, “ideas” shared by him and his minority “Free Kirk” (or Wee Frees, as they are known), which fly completely in the face of scientific research. I offer my heartiest congratulations to Rev Robertson, who stated in his blog, The Wee Flea, that he has recently become a grandfather. However, in the same article, The Ultimate April Fool – An Open Letter to Nicola Sturgeon, whilst claiming not to be transphobic, and to be an SNP supporter, he repeats the bigotry he voiced above and, going further, states of his new granddaughter, “My granddaughter was not ‘assigned’ gender at birth, as though she were being given a name. She IS a girl. She is not one of several genders that she can get to pick and choose as she pleases later on, according to some societal construct or government edict.” You could not make it up. Rev Robertson at first states that his granddaughter was not assigned gender, then later affirms “She IS a girl”. This of course neither Rev Robertson, his wife, nor the parents yet know. Yes, she has been assigned female, according to biological sex – not gender – at birth. But for all anyone knows, she may yet grow to identify as transgender or genderfluid. Only time will tell. And if that is the case, will Rev Robertson and the parents then drum into the wee one that she IS a girl? Yet the Scottish Government, and the LGBT+ community are apparently the ones ‘harming’ children. Bigots like he and his Wee Free followers do much more harm than those who, while cisgender themselves, at least are trying to understand trans and genderfluid issues.

Rev Robertson is certainly right on one thing; we do NOT get to choose our gender. Neither I nor any other genderfluid person chose to be so, just as no transgender person ever chose their gender. We were born with it. But then, no doubt the Rev Robertson chooses not to believe that, just as he no doubt does not believe that anyone is ever born intersex, with both sets of genitals. Or if he does, no doubt he believes that the parents should decree which side of the gender binary that child should be, according to their whims on whether they wanted a boy or a girl, and an operation reflecting that carried out, rather than leaving it to the child to decide when they are old enough which – if either – side of the gender binary they most identify with.

Having experimented since I was a child, I never came to terms with being genderfluid until I was “over 40” (don’t ask dears – I’m not telling), following years of depression and self-hate. I can therefore assure the hateful minds of the likes of Rev David A Robertson that despite his fine words, he and those who think like him are indeed transphobes, and do a great deal of harm – much, much more than they will ever know.  And should he be reading this, I will go further with a personal message – you are a bully, Rev Robertson, and in the nature of the bully, a gutless coward at heart.

Another dissenting voice came from the Time for Inclusive Education campaign, who are seeking compulsory inclusive sex and relationship education. A spokesperson stated;

“Only very small steps have been taken here regarding education – Nicola’s strategy here does not go far enough in protecting LGBT+ young people and this does not reflect the motion that was passed at conference. In order to ensure that our schools are inclusive of LGBT+, teaching staff must receive LGBT+ specific training – what Nicola proposes here is blanket equalities training, which will not do enough. Ourselves, SNP Youth and SNP Students expect and hope that the SNP’s manifesto will go much further than this and truly reflect the expectations of the membership who unanimously backed our campaign. If this is the strategy that will be taken into the next parliament, then we still have a very long way to go. We would urge the SNP to work with us on this, because the next strategy has to be the right one.”

I tend to agree the measures do not go far enough with regard to LGBT+ young people. In the run-up to the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, legislation was brought in to reduce voting age to 16. Likewise at 16 young people in Scotland can work, pay taxes, have sex (straight or gay), get married, live alone, order an alcoholic drink with a meal, and join the armed forces. To then say that they require parental approval to change their birth certificate to reflect their gender is to strip them of their rights as young adults. Likewise I agree with TIE that teaching staff need to have specific LGBT+ training to address LGBT+ issues, otherwise they won’t know what the hell they are talking about.

Yet these are but devils in the detail. These proposals from the SNP are to be welcomed and congratulated. The SNP formed the last devolved Scottish Government in 2011 with a majority, in a form of proportional representation voting which was supposed to make majority government an impossibility. They are currently riding very high in the polls, and look set to be returned with another majority government in May, and we can therefore see Nicola Sturgeon’s words as a solid commitment. I am not an SNP member, but I am certainly sympathetic to them, and after the election I shall expect these measures to be implemented as soon as possible.

As we did with Same-Sex Marriage, Scotland is indeed entering a “Brave New World”, but unlike the gloom and doom envisaged by the transphobes, under the wonderful and simply lovely Nicola Sturgeon it is going to be a much better Scotland, inclusive of all who live here no matter their background, and this Scot could not be all the more proud of her country for that.

Rocky Horror creator’s Transphobic Comments

$$-AAA-001Has Richard O’Brien taken a step to the right politically?

Creator of the Rocky Horror Show and TV game show The Crystal Maze (yawn), Richard O’Brien, has stated that transgender people cannot be women.

In an interview with UK free newspaper, The Metro, O’Brien says that he agrees with the view of Germaine Greer and drag queen Barry Humphries. When asked about his views on trans-exclusionary feminists, including Greer, who has said “Just because you lop off your cock and then wear a dress, doesn’t make you a fucking woman.”, O’Brien replied “I think I agree with that. I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries,” he said. “You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”

Earlier in the interview, genderfluid O’Brien said that he thought of himself as a “third sex”, who is “somewhere in the middle” of the two binary genders.

“I wish we would see ourselves as members of a sentient race of beings and be nice to each other,” said O’Brien, “as human beings as opposed to male or female.”

Yes, Richard, dear, I would love very much for everybody to be nice to each other. But when an odious cow like Germaine Greer spits venom at transwomen, then don’t be surprised when the transgender and genderqueer communities return fire in kind. And if you agree with her, and say that anyone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery cannot be a woman, then that makes you every bit as bad. Lay down with dogs, do not be surprised if you wake up with fleas.

And in asking for us all to be ‘nice’ about it, O’Brien is in effect no different from those during the civil rights movement who suggested that blacks should be quiet and ‘slow down’. Fuck that. The transgender / genderqueer community are just beginning to make themselves heard, and as Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “slow downism leads to stay stillism, and stay stillism leads to do nothingism”.

Richard O’Brien is famous for creating the Rocky Horror Show (1973) and the subsequent movie it spawned, the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), which for those of you who have been living under a rock these past 40 years, is a zany musical tribute to B movies, in which a stranded couple seek help at the home of the mad Frank N Furter, who turns out to be a transvestite from outer space, who is creating his own man, Rocky. The show has every member of the cast dressed up in drag. The movie, which famously starred Tim Curry as Frank N Furter, and had a wonderful cameo from a very young Meat Loaf, is being remade with transgender actress Laverne Cox playing Frank N Furter.

Now with O’Brien’s comments, there has been the predictable backlash from the LGBT+ community, including those who say they ‘hate’ the Rocky Horror Show, claiming that it exploits transgender people.

Does it really, dears? And do tell me, just how many transgender and genderqueer people identify themselves with drag queens, which essentially what Rocky Horror portrays? Not this genderqueer person for sure.

Where O’Brien makes his biggest mistake is in being guilty of a Typical Mind Fallacy; making biased and overconfident conclusions about other people’s experience based on his own personal experience. Because he identifies as genderfluid, he assumes the true must be the same for all genderfluid and transgender people. Yet where those who are transgender / genderqueer people lambasting Rocky Horror make their mistake is by thinking that the portrayal of drag queens in any way represents them.

The characters in Rocky Horror, particularly Frank N Furter, are sexually fetishtic transvestites. Now, of course we all have our sexual dynamic, but can anyone who is transgender or genderqueer honestly say that their gender governs their sexuality? If they do, then I would be surprised, for as gender and sexuality are two different things, it does not govern anyone’s sexuality; and that is true of all genders.

This is where I have one of two problems with the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first is that it is being remade in the first place. I sincerely doubt it can ever be as good as the original, which is a classic with a cult following. The second however is the casting of Laverne Cox in the role of Frank N Furter.

Myself and many others are first to complain when a cisgender is cast as a transgender person in a movie, as happened with Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. If we then accept a transgender woman playing a sexually fetishtic transvestite, are we then not simply playing the transphobic cisgender community’s game for them? The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, can certainly be seen as LGBT+ movies, but the point being that those movies surrounded the stories of drag queens, not transgender / genderqueer people. At the other end of the spectrum we have one of my favourite movies, Cloud Atlas, in which most of the cast take on roles on both sides of the gender binary, but which is by no means any sort of comment upon gender, or sexuality for that matter. But dang, Tom Hanks makes a damn fine woman.

Movies like Rocky Horror are not a gender political statement, neither do they represent the mainstream transgender / genderqueer communities. But the moment anyone tries to claim that they misrepresent us, then they become so. But if we identify with that, then we can hardly complain about Laverne Cox, whom I have no doubt will play Frank N Furter brilliantly (although I doubt ever as good as Tim Curry), taking a starring role in a spoof musical comedy, where sexually fetishtic crossdressing is part of the theme. Sorry girls, but we simply cannot have our cake and eat it too (and we’d never get into our dresses if we did).

Neither should we worry about what Richard O’Brien says. He created a gem in Rocky Horror in the 1970s, and has done little to nothing ever since. Even The Crystal Maze was pulled from Channel 4 eventually when ratings plummeted. Certainly, his views are bigoted and ignorant, just like those of Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries, Jeremy Clarkson, et al, but notice what all of these people have in common; they are all tired, bigoted, old farts whom no-one listens to any more.

And while we’re about it, how come none of the above (or most transphobes) have ever said a transgender man isn’t a real man?

I am predicting and awaiting calls to boycott the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I equally predict that it will prove as effective as the boycott of Zoolander 2 – i.e. not one jot.

Perhaps the best comment I saw on Richard O’Brien’s statement came from one transgender woman, who commented “He’s right. I don’t think I am a woman, I know I am a woman.”

That’s the spirit, gel. And that’s the way we all should view our gender; don’t dream it – be it.

I’m Genderqueer, and I won’t boycott Zoolander 2

$$-ALL

Benerdict Cumberbatch as “All”

Complainants don’t know what they are talking about.

It has been 14 years since ‘Zoolander’ was released, a zany comedy which mocks the modelling industry, in which Ben Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, a narcissistic and slow-witted male model who becomes the unwitting tool in a plot to kill the Malaysian Prime Minister.

We’ve waited a long time for the sequel, which is due out next year and in which Benerdict Cumberbatch plays the latest top model, called All, who is of a heavily androgynous appearance.

No sooner did the trailer for Zoolander 2 appear than a bunch of keyboard social warriors got all butthurt about the character of All, claiming that it mocks non-binary people and that a genderfluid actor should have played the part, instead of the cisgender Cumberbatch.  So up in arms are some commentators, that a petition has been launched to boycott Zoolander 2 and complaining to the makers, Paramount Pictures about their portrayal of All.

So, having found the petition, it appears the person who started it does not know what the hell she is talking about – oh there’s a surprise – or anything at all about gender issues – no surprise their either.

“In the “Zoolander 2″ trailer, an androgynous character played by Benedict Cumberbatch is asked by Zoolander and Hansel if he is a ‘male or female model’, and if they ‘have a hot dog or a bun,” bemoans petitioner Sarah Rose on Care2Petitions, “Additionally, Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals. This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.

“If the producers and screenwriters of Zoolander wanted to provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry, they could have approached models like Andreja Pejic to be in the film. By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, they film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large.

“Tell Paramount Pictures, Ben Stiller, and Benedict Cumberbatch that mocking transgender/androgyne/gender fluid individuals is not okay – sign this petition to pledge to boycott the film!”

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who haunt the internet apparently looking for something to complain about.  They remind me of the Socialist Worker’s Party, who are always looking for this week’s ’cause’, and moving onto whatever is topical / popular the following week.

It also never fails to amaze me just how many of these people get their facts wrong, or do not know what they are talking about.  So if we are going to mention gender bigotry, I am going to pick Sarah Rose up herself on that very topic.

Notice how in the first paragraph above, she states “Additionally, Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals.”  In the second paragraph she says “trans/androgyne” and “hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual” and in the final paragraph she states “mocking transgender/androgyne/gender fluid individuals is not okay”.

By making these statements, it is clear that Sarah Rose equates all three groups – transgender, genderfluid, and androgynous – to be one and the same. This is so much ignorance, it is vertigo-enducing. And what is the name for making generalisations and assumptions based on uninformed ignorance? Bigotry, that’s what.

Some transgender people appear androgynous, as do many genderqueer people. Many do not. Indeed, I am sure that many of my trans and non-binary friends here shall, like me, be bloody furious about any inference that we are androgynous, especially after the time and money we put into appearing feminine.

Some non-binary people appear male, some appear female, some appear androgynous, and the same pertains to transgender people (I have to admit though, all my trans and genderfluid friends here are drop-dead gorgeous women – luv you all). They are not and never shall be all one and the same thing. Hands up all my trans readers who consider themselves genderqueer. Hands up all my genderfluid readers who consider themselves trans. Hands up all of you who think you are “androgynous”. Nobody? No, thought not.

And of course, by equal measure, there are those who appear androgynous but who are in fact cisgender. My own preference for men is not hunks, but androgynous ‘pretty boys’. For instance, musically I can’t stand that talentless fuck Justin Bieber (who also appears in Zoolander 2), but I would jump him at a moment’s unnotice.

This is an important distinction. There are scenes in the original Zoolander movie where Derek Zoolander and his adversary-come-friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) appear androgynous, while the evil Mugatu (Will Farrell) is of androgynous appearance throughout the movie. Strangely enough David Bowie, whom I can recall being very androgynous in the 1970s, had no problem with having a cameo in that movie.

And this is where the complainants appear to be missing the point of the movie. Many male models do indeed appear androgynous. There is always work in the modelling industry for young pretty boys of ambiguous gender. Don’t tell me there’s not, dears – I’ve seen more than my fair share of them. But because of the shallow nature of modelling, the Zoolander movies aim to parody that shallowness and the narcissism of the modelling industry. Therefore, if Sarah Rose and others think that Benerdict Cumberbatch’s portrayal is a “cartoonish mockery”, I suggest that she go and actually have a look at some (not all – before the keyboard warriors jump on my back) male models who do appear androgynous and some of whom are indeed “cartoonish”. I am reminded of a line from a Crass song “The painted mask of ugly perfection.”

I will go further, it could be said that Sarah Rose is guilty of bigotry by her use of the term “the queer community”. Now, I have read one of my friends here suggesting that instead of the steadily growing abbreviation of LGBTQIA (try making a word out of that in Scrabble), we all just use the term “queer”, and I happen to agree with that. However, for the LGBT+ community to refer to themselves thus is not in common usage, and it could be argued that to use the term ‘queer’ in this way still carries negative connotations. Unless of course, she was meaning the shortened version for genderqueer, which again would be wrongly conflating transgender and androgynous with genderfluid.

So, why not have a genderfluid actor play the part? Would Sarah Rose and her supporters be happy with that? Yes? Really? Strange that, because at first she complains of the comments directed at All, “if he is a ‘male or female model’, and if they ‘have a hot dog or a bun'”, then states that the role should not have been played by a cisgender actor. So, if the role was played by a non-binary actor, would that have made the comments okay? Actually, it could be argued that some non-binary actors would not play the role because of comments which could be construed as derogatory.

Incidentally, as a genderqueer pansexual crossdresser, I don’t have any problems whatsoever with those comments and take them in the humorous context they are intended. But then I’m grown up enough not to throw a hissy fit over the slightest little comment.

Interesting also that she suggests model Andreja Pejic as a replacement for Cumberbatch. Why not? Because Pejic is a model, not a fucking actor. Strutting on a catwalk and posing for cameras is no guarantee of acting ability, and there are plenty of models-turned-actors who have proven that. Can we take it that Sarah Rose could not think of any genderfluid actors? Has she never heard of Eddie Izzard? Laverne Cox? Ruby Rose? Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son has recently been very active in challenging the gender binary)? I could mention many more, but then, unlike the Butthurt Brigade, I’m interested in cinema.

Zoolander is one of my favourite comedy movies purely because of it’s zany, wicked and at times cruel humour.  As a genderqueer person, I have absolutely no problems with Zoolander 2, which no doubt will have me as much in tears of laughter as the original, and I can’t wait for it to come out.  And I have no doubt a great many other non-binary people feel the same way.

When cisgender actor Eddie Redmayne played trans woman Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, that was a legitimate cause for complaint, as was Elle Fanning playing the lead of a trans man in About Ray. Both of these were serious movies concerning the struggles which transgender people face, and quite rightly should have been played by transgender actors. Zoolander does not fall into the same category. Benerdict Cumberbatch is not playing a lead role, but a supporting one, in a comedy.  The movie does not seek to  “provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry” but rather to parody and send up one of the most absurd industries on the face of the planet.

And if the social justice warriors cannot realise that, and cannot differentiate between transgender, genderqueer, and androgynous, then I suggest they attend a course at the Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can’t Read Good (and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too).

 


 Zoolander 2 Trailer:

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.

Trans Charity: Our Lives are Not a Drag

A hate crime?

This is a hate crime?

Only Chrysalis are equating drag with trans.

Derian House is a charity which runs a hospice for children with life-shortening terminal diseases and conditions.  Situated near Chorley, Lancashire, in England, they are at the forefront of providing activities for terminally-ill children, palliative care, respite, bereavement services and other support for around 500 children and their families.  Needless to say, this high level of care and support does not come cheap, and with only a small amount of their annual £300 million plus budget coming from government, Derian House is highly reliant upon charity from public donations and through fundraising activities.

So it was with the goal of raising funds in mind that Derian House decided to hold a “Dames on the Run” fun race, where men would hold a 5km race while dressed as ‘pantomime dames’, i.e. as outlandishly and flamboyantly as possible.  All a bit of harmless fun which aims to raise much-needed money for an extremely worthwhile cause, you may think?  Well, not according to transgender charity Chrysalis, it seems.

On Thursday, 20th August, Chrysalis lodged and an official complaint with Lancashire Police, alleging that Derian House were committing a hate crime by ridiculing trans people through their charity run, which they call “dehumanising”, and are now seeking to have the October event cancelled.

Steph Holmes of Chrysalis told the British newspaper The Telegraph (of all the right-wing rags, they had to be the one to get hold of the story),  “We get enough confusion with the word transgender, which mixes us up with transvestites. Transvestites certainly don’t dress for comic purposes and I don’t get up in the morning and think ‘what can I put on today to give people a laugh?’ “ she continued,  “This race pokes fun at cross-dressing and, by association, us, reducing us to objects to be laughed at.  Dehumanising us this way gives carte blanche to those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.  It’s a small step from ridicule to persecution. The current stats suggest a 34 per cent chance of beaten up, raped or killed for being trans. We do not need to give the bigots any more ammunition.  I am sure that Derian House didn’t intend to give offence. The very fact that it’s a children’s hospice should make them sensitive to potential bad publicity and the effect that this has on young trans people.”

As I am wont to do, I researched the facts carefully before writing.  I can honestly say that I found nothing on the Derian House website or the publicity for the Dames on the Run event which is remotely transphobic.  I can honestly also say that in my opinion Steph Holmes is talking out of her backside, and Chrysalis may have just done the cause for transgender rights enormous damage.

Transgender people and genderqueer crossdressers, of which I fall into the latter bracket, go to pains to point out the enormous difference between ourselves and drag queens / kings.  I myself have pointed out many times before, and I repeat it here, drag queens and kings dress up for entertainment purposes, for transgender / genderqueer people, dressing in clothing identified with another gender is an intrinsic part of their being, and not for anyone’s entertainment and / or titillation.

I certainly hope that Ms Holmes had a slip of the tongue when she said “Transvestites certainly don’t dress for comic purposes” and she meant transgender people.  If not, then she makes even more of an fool of herself.  In her previous sentence she herself stated “We get enough confusion with the word transgender, which mixes us up with transvestites.”  Of course, technically she is correct.  Drag queens / kings dress up for entertainment, whereas transvestisism is today more commonly associated as a sexual fetish.

How far do Chrysalis want to take this?  If dressing as a ‘dame’ is a hate crime, do we then ban all pantomimes?  How about drag queens / kings?  Are they then to be banned from Pride events where a great many can be found?  One online commentator stated, tongue-in-cheek, “Arrest Biggins!”  Quite.  Arrest Christopher Biggins, and Paul O’Grady, and Eddie Izzard, etc, etc.

If female impersonation is such a hate crime, then do we ban entire acts based upon that, such as the Ladyboys of Bangkok?  Best of luck with that one, dears.  Apart from their act being classed as art, it is one of the most popular shows to make an appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival every year, where you have to book for tickets well in advance.

Who decides what is and what is not ‘feminine’ dress?  What of that which can be quite ‘androgynous’?  If a cis man wears a flamboyant or flowery shirt, is he committing a transphobic hate crime, or is he merely dressing as he pleases?  What if a cishet woman pinches and wears her partner’s shirt or Jacket – as they are wont to do?  Is that likewise a hate crime?  And taken to that limit, how long before trans / genderqueer people are restricted from dressing exactly as we please?   We cannot have one law for some, and another law for others.

Chysalis have alredy drawn enormous flak for their words and and actions over this, not least from trans and genderqueer people, and quite rightly so.  The few, the very few, I have seen voicing support for Chrysalis over this stance have tried to compare it to the black and white minstrels of old.  That is a disingenuous argument, as just like drag queens, minstrels blacked up their faces for entertainment purposes.  To the best of my knowledge no person ever tried to permanently blacken themselves as an intrinsic need in their life.  The closest I can come to that is John Howard Griffin, who took drugs which blackened his skin, and then toured some of the southern states in the USA, as research for his book Black Like Me.  But then, as he did that as research for a book (which exposed the racism he received from white people when black – and the same he received from black people when white), it could be strongly argued he still did that for entertainment purposes.

Nobody who is adequately well-educated nowadays conflates dressing in drag with being transgender or genderqueer.  Certainly not the management of Derian House, who are obviously very upset at the accusations levelled against them.

A spokesperson for Derian House stated “As a children’s hospice, we deal with highly sensitive and emotive issues all the time and would never have considered organising a fundraising event that might cause upset or offence.  Dames on the Run was conceived as a fun event, drawing on the much-loved Pantomime Dame character that is part of our theatrical heritage and supported by hundreds of thousands of people in every year.  It was intended appeal to the fathers of desperately sick children, who do so much to hold their family together in the face of their child’s devastating illness and who ask for very little support in return.  We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to participate in a fun-packed event and encourage other men to show their support and raise vitally needed funds for the hospice.  We were shocked to receive a complaint, and our chief executive wrote immediately to apologise for any offence caused and assure her that none was intended.”

As far as I can see the only people actually conflating dressing in drag with being trans / genderqueer are Chrysalis, and by doing so in this manner, they have potentially caused great damage to the trans / genderqueer cause, and likewise that of the entire LGBTQIA community.

I do not have children of my own, and never shall have any.  I can think of nothing more horrific and heartbreaking however of any child dying, and their parents outliving them.  That is just so very WRONG on so many levels.  For Chrysalis then to bring this absurd, frivilous, and downright cruel police complaint against those helping such children and their families – which Chrysalis and many of us are not doing – and to attempt to ban a fun event, which would thereby deny Derian House much-needed funding, puts them beyond contempt in my opinion.  I will not mince my words here; this has made me plain bloody angry.

I have no doubt many in UK society will share my views, and the frankly mean and thoughtless actions of Chrysalis can only ever reflect negatively on transgender / genderqueer people in general, and the LGBTQIA community as a whole.


Derian House’s website and publicity for Dames on the Run can be found below:

http://www.derianhouse.co.uk/

http://www.derianhouse.co.uk/dames/