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She’s Baaaaack…

aaa-agenderqueerHELLO DARLINGS!

Wow! I cannot believe how long it has been since I was in here. So what’s been happening?

Well, I went into something of decline, and then the Festive Season caught up on me, and what with work, I really did not have a lot of time for social networking.

During my decline I did at one point consider killing Xandra off, reckoning that I created her, so I can destroy her.

HA!

Not a chance. No way did “HE” (my male alter-ego) create Xandra; I am my own creation, and I had to have an “out” sooner or later. “HE” could delete this account all he wants, but there’s no way that would be ‘killing Xandra’, and “HE” knows it. It would be trying to kill part of himself ~ a partial suicide in fact. And it wouldn’t work, because as long as “HE” exists, I exist, and “HE” knows it.

It’s actually very bad of me to have these thoughts. I’m a very naughty girl and deserve a sound spanking ~ PLEASSSSE!

Of course I have also watching lots of movies starring Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Pine, Heyden Christensen, etc, ~ but that’s purely because I admire their acting abilities. It IS I tell you. Stop laughing you lot.

So, I do hope everyone else has been behaving themselves in my absence. Well, as well as you can behave. 😉

Luvs

Xandra xxxx

Scotland’s Gay Concentration Camps

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Rothesay, Isle of Bute

Polish gays shamefully interned during WWII

The Second World War and it’s aftermath brought about many actions which were at least questionable in their wisdom; William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) being executed for Treason, when as an Irish citizen, he could not be guilty of treason to the British state; Werner Von Braun, who used Jewish slave labour, given freedom by the USA in return for helping their space programme; Rudolf Hess, guilty of the death of millions, being jailed for life in Spandau Prison, when many below him were executed. Now historian Simon Webb has uncovered possibly one of the most shameful litanies of all; the incarceration of gay Polish men in concentration camps in Scotland.

The background to this was that after the fall of France in 1940, 30,000 Polish troops who had been fighting alongside the French in an effort to stave off the Nazi advance were evacuated to the UK. These troops were sent to Scotland to be a front line of defence in the event of a Nazi landing. Their commander was former Prime Minister of Poland, General Wladyslaw Sikorski. Sikorski was anything but popular among the Poles, and opposition groups sprang up against him. His solution was to silence any and all dissenting voices. On 18 July 1940, General Sikorski told the Polish National Council in London: “There is no Polish judiciary. Those who conspire will be sent to a concentration camp.” As he and his forces would be in the UK for the foreseeable future, the British High Command fully realised that he intended these camps to be placed on British soil.

Sikorski sent a secret order to General Marian Kukiel, appointed Commander of Camps and Army Units in Scotland, naming officers and others whom he wanted to be placed in special camps. Not only did this include political rivals or those who dared to question him, but what Sikorski described as “Person of improper moral level.” and for him that met drunkards, gamblers, the sexually promiscuous, and especially, homosexual men, for whom Sikorski had a particular dislike.

Sikorski basically decided to lock up anyone who disagreed with his government-in-exile, and anyone he had a personal distaste towards, and the British High Command where more than willing to accommodate his demands. Political opponents – real or imagined, generals, drunks, gamblers, the sexually liberal, and gay men, were rounded up, and sent to the first of many of his concentration camps, on the Isle of Bute.

Bute, in the news recently as the new home for some of the first Syrian refugees in Scotland, is a gorgeous little island, once a popular holiday destination for Glaswegians “gaun doon that watter”, which sits in the Firth of Clyd and which looks over to the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Cowal Peninsula. In the winter however, it is exposed and suffers the brunt of storms which sweep up the Clyde estuary from the North Atlantic Ocean. The first men to arrive were not even given proper barracks but instead were housed in nothing more than tents. Neither were all interned in the camp military men, but included civilians such as Michael Grazynski, President of the Polish Scouting Association, and Marian Zyndram-Kosciakowlski; who was Prime Minister of Poland from 1935-1939.

A toxic situation soon occurred in the Bute camp, when senior officers refused to have anything to do with the “pathological” prisoners; namely the drunkards and the homosexuals, the latter of whom naturally grouped together in the face of this open hostility. Whether there were gay liaisons in the Bute camp is unknown, however accusations of such were rife, and this led to the decision to separate the “pathological” cases from the political prisoners. As homosexual behaviour was an illegal and imprisonable offence in the UK at this time, it is doubtful that many in parliament as much as raised an eyebrow at this situation.

A new and harsher camp (if that were possible) was opened at Tighnabruich in Argyll, opposite the Isle of Bute. All gay prisoners were sent there and the commander was Colonel Wladyslaw Spalek. Further camps were built at Auchterarder in Perthshire, Kingledoors in Tweedsmuir, and Inverkeithing in Fife. They operated from 1941 and continued to operate even after the war, right up to 1946.

These camps were made possible by the Allied Forces Act, 1940, which enabled Allied commanders on British soil to rule over their own people as they saw fit. Under this act, governments-in-exile of Poland, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and Czechoslovakia the legal right to raise – and conscript – their own independent forces from among citizens of their countries resident in the British Isles. It also gave them the power to take punitive measures against any dissenters. All army camps and bases of these countries were considered sovereign territory of the Allied forces overseeing them, immune from interference by UK police or other authorities. This effectively gave General Sikorski free rein to behave as he liked towards his own countrymen in Scotland. This inevitably led to abuses of the Allied Forces Act and atrocities which UK authorities were powerless to prevent. Basically Sikorski could conscript any Polish man living in the UK, then if he were a political opponent, gay, or below Sikorski’s standards, he could be arrested by Military Police and interned in a concentration camp.

And for Sikorski, this did not merely mean political opponents, gays, drunkards or the like. Communists, and more controversially Jews, in Scotland soon found themselves being rounded up and placed in the camps. Isaac Deutscher was a journalist, writer, and the biographer of Joseph Stalin. A Jew and a proud Pole, he moved to Scotland after the fall of France and was all too willing to join up with the Polish forces to play his part in the Allied war effort. His reward was, no sooner than enlisting, to find himself arrested and interned on the camp on Bute.

Obviously, with camps near to centres of population, word was soon to leak out. Inverkeithing is a major town, was then an important port, nearby to Rosyth Naval Dockyard, and was a mere 14 miles from Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. Rumours started to fly that people were being held in camps in Scotland for what appeared no reason whatsoever. Moreover, there appeared to be a disturbing number of Jews being held in these camps. Some of the camps, including Inverkeithing, had basic barrack conditions, barbed wire surrounding them, and watchtowers with armed guards. Among the rumours were stories of maltreatment, starvation, beatings and even the death of inmates. It is known that on 29 October 1940, a Jewish prisoner called Edward Jakubowsky was shot dead at Kingledoors, for insulting a guard.

On 19 February 1941, Samuel Silverman, MP for Nelson and Colne, raised the question in the House of Commons on the whereabouts of two Jewish brothers called Benjamin and Jack Ajzenberg, who had been arrested by Polish soldiers in London and taken to a camp in Scotland. Adam McKinley, MP for Dumbartonshire in Scotland, the following year asked in the House what was happening on the Isle of Bute. As the government had no wish to upset the Polish allies, they would give no information. Asides from which, the Allied Forces Act made if impossible for them to act or even investigate.

On 14 June 1945, Robert McIntyre, the Member for the Scottish constituency of Motherwell, stood up in the House of Commons and asked the following question:

“Will the government make provision for the inspection, at any time, by representatives of the various districts of Scotland of any penal settlements, concentration camps, detention barracks, prisons, etc. within their area, whether these institutions are under the control of the British, American, French or Polish governments or any other authority; and for the issuing of a public report by those representatives?”

On the same day, Moscow Radion made the same accusation, concerning a Jewish academic called Dr Jan Jagodzinski in a camp at Inverkeithing. The British and then the world press was soon alight with tales of concentration camps in Scotland, and by now with the full horrors of the Nazi death camps being known, the people demanded to know what the hell was going on.

In an attempt to diffuse the situation, the Polish Government-in-Exile invited the press to visit the camp to Inverkeithing, to prove the prisoners were being treated well. This was exactly the same tactics of the Nazis, who reserved a few camps with good conditions, to allay any accusations of ill-treatment. This Polish exercise in propaganda failed to convince the press or the people, particularly when the first prisoner to whom reporters spoke turned out to be yet another Jew, by the name of Josef Dobosiewicz, who told the press that a prisoner had recently been shot dead in the camp. The commandant confirmed that this was correct, but that the man had been trying to escape. Again, the Allied Forces Act made it impossible for British authorities to act.

Almost a year after the end of hostilities, men were still being held in the camps. Enter Willie Gallagher, Member of Parliament for West Fife, and the only Communist to have taken a seat in the House of Commons. On 16 April 1946, Gallagher asked the Secretary of State for War to look into the case of two more Jews being held in a camp in Scotland; David Glicenstein and Shimon Getreudhendler. Given that Inverkeithing was in Gallagher’s constituency, one can only assume that these men were in that camp.

The exact date is unknown, but shortly afterwards, the Polish concentration camps were quietly wound down and closed. The Allied Forces Act was eventually rescinded in 1951.

British High Command was never blameless during the Second World War, and actions were taken either through error, or sheer bloodymindedness. In 1940 for instance, the British government decided to round up a number of German immigrants and intern them. They were hoarded onto the vessel HMT Dunera, and shipped off to Australia, where they were held in what can only be described as a concentration camp in the blistering heat of the Australian outback. These internees were German alright – they were German Jewish refugees who had fled to the UK to escape the Nazis.

And one consequence of a British civil service cock-up also involved Scotland and had a particularly tragic outcome. Camp 21 at Comrie was a Prisoner of War camp which housed some of the most dangerous and most fanatical Nazis captured, including brainwashed members of the Hitler Youth. Following an attempted breakout from a camp in Devizes in the south of England, a number of prisoners from there were transferred to Camp 21. Due to a clerical error, these included Feldwebel Wolfgang Rosterg, a known anti-Nazi and spy, who had informed the Devizes guards of the planned breakout. Placed among the Hitler Youth, when word got out he was a spy, they carried out a kangaroo court and lynched him to death.

The Allied Forces Act however was an odious piece of legislation, which allowed General Wladyslaw Sikorski and those who followed him to behave no better than the Nazis, rounding up political opponents, communists, Jews, and anyone he deemed undesirable – of which gay men made a sizeable proportion, placing them in concentration camps, maltreating, beating, and even executing them at a whim, on UK soil.

Sikorski was undoubtedly a war criminal, every bit as guilty as those Nazis who persecuted and killed Jews, political opponents, communists, and of course, homosexuals. But the British High Command and the parliament of the day share his guilt, by enabling his excesses, and making themselves powerless to take action to stop him, and yes, by turning a blind eye to these atrocities to avoid upsetting an ally.

Scotland Changes Foreign Civil Partnerships to Equal Marriages

gay-scotland-flag-Scottish Government takes another progressive step.

From Monday, 2 November 2015, same-sex couples in civil partnerships registered outside Scotland will be able to have them converted to marriages in the country.  Previously only civil partnerships registered in Scotland were able to be thus converted.

The implementation of this legislation is one more extremely progressive step of the devolved Scottish Government, following the implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014 coming into power.  Since the Act became law, more than 1000 same-sex couples have married or had their civil partnerships turned into marriages in Scotland.

Local Government Minister of the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration, Marco Biagi MSP stated “We are sending a powerful message out about the kind of country we are – one which is incredibly proud that same-sex couples can show their love and commitment to each other by getting married.

“By passing historic legislation last year, and now extending it to include those who had a civil partnership outwith Scotland, we are demonstrating to the world how importantly Scotland views equality.”

The move has likewise been welcomed by Scottish LGBT+ charity Equality Network.  Tim Hopkins, Director of Equality Network, stated  “We very much welcome this change, which is a small but important piece of unfinished business from the equal marriage legislation last year.

“Without this, same-sex couples living in Scotland who have registered a civil partnership outwith Scotland would be unable to marry in Scotland unless they live apart for a year first to dissolve their civil partnership. That’s obviously not an option for most couples, and now they will be able to marry in the usual way, changing their civil partnership directly to a marriage.

“The number of couples in this situation is relatively small, but the value of the change to them is huge.”

There is currently no obligation upon same-sex couples in civil partnerships to change them to marriage in Scotland, and it remains a purely personal choice.

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.

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.

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/