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Sharron Davies goes Full Bigot

DaviesIslandXandra goes full bitch!

Whenever anyone claims to want to have a ‘debate’ about the position of transgender people in society, no matter how ‘reasonable’ they may at first appear, no matter how much they claim not to be prejudiced, one need only scratch the surface to find the full-blown transphobe underneath.  But nothing prepared me for the vertigo-inducing bigotry and stupidity of former Team GB Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies MBE.

In a Tweet on 1 July Davies stated,

”If you put 2 biological females on an island humanity dies out (but they’d talk loads) if you put a biological male & a trans female on an island humanity dies out. But if u put a male and a female there we might have a chance!   Providing they can fish of course.   Binary Sex matters.”

Yes, Sharron, dear.   Thank you for stating the bleeding obvious. Nobody is denying that sexually reproducing species are dependent upon a sexual binary. At least not for now ~ I’ll get to that later. As to the rest of this Tweet, it is not only obviously transphobic ~ as Davies fully intended it to be so ~ but it is also homophobic, ableist, and it defies science in so many ways it’s simply not funny.

DaviesCartoonSharron Davies used this analogy, she claims, to highlight the differences between biological females and transgender females. Yet, as just about every lesbian and gay person will recognise, it is an age old analogy which has often been used by homophobes, usually but not always of a religious bent (no pun intended, dears).   It is straight out of the “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” stable, in an attempt to discriminate against homosexuals, with people with as much of an understanding of human behaviour, biology, gender, and sexuality as Sharron Davies evidently has.  Indeed, one person replying on Twitter posted an old Spanish homophobic comic strip using the same sort of argument.

But the analogy is also ableist. Let us assume Sharron’s island, with a cisgender man and woman the only inhabitants. What if one or both of them is infertile? What if the woman has been born without a womb (it happens)? What if the man is born without or has lost his testes (it also happens)? What if the woman is post-menopausal, and thereby no longer producing eggs? What hope humanity then? There is obviously none.

And of course, what if one or more of their offspring turn out to be gay, or “Gulp! Horror!” transgender? What hope humanity then? Although to be fair, if it were a transgender girl and a cisgender girl, or a transgender boy and cisgender boy, there is still the possibility of reproducing.   Newsflash, Sharron; some transgender people do raise families of their own, whereby a transgender man (biological female) is willing to be impregnated and give birth, or a transgender woman (biological male) is willing to impregnate a cisgender woman. That does not in any way diminish their identity as transgender. Know why?   Because biological sex has nothing to do with gender, and even genitalia itself does not have a gender. There is no such thing as a male penis or a female vagina.

Thomas Beatie Gives Birth To Jensen James Beatie

Thomas Beatie and family

In 2008, Thomas Trace Beatie, an American transgender man who still had a womb, gave birth to his first child, a daughter. This was followed by two more children, both boys, in 2009 and 2010. In 2018, English transgender man Hayden Cross put off fully transitioning to have a child, a beautiful little girl. I am well aware that Sharon Davies and those who think like her would scream that these people were both biologically ‘female’.

HeydenCross

Hayden Cross and daughter

However, as much as they may still have their ‘lady bits’, Thomas Beatie and Hayden Cross are indeed mentally men.   Or is Sharron suggesting that men can’t have babies, like they have no right to do so? Thomas Beatie, in an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show stated, “I have a very stable male gender identity. I see pregnancy as a process, and it doesn’t define who I am. It’s not a male or female desire to want to have a child—it’s a human desire… I’m a person, and I have the right to have my own biological child.” There it is – it’s a human desire. And if Sharron Davies wishes to argue against that, and try to argue that only women have the right to bear children, can we add misandry (hatred of men) to her ever-growing list of prejudices?

And of course uterine transplants for transgender women are just around the corner. While uterine transplants are still in their infancy, they have been carried out in some countries for women who have a ‘dead’ or damaged uterus, or those born without one. While there have been complications with some pregnancies, which sadly have not gone full term, in September 2012 the first baby was born from a uterine transplant in Sweden. In 2017 a baby boy was born to a woman with a uterine transplant in Dallas, Texas, USA.

The next logical step is of course uterine transplants for transgender women, to enable them to become fully ‘women’ – “biological females” Sharron Davies might call them. And of course this terrifies some transphobes. “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.” wrote Germaine Greer in 1999. Really?   Because obviously Greer, who is very strong in asserting that no man can know the workings of the female mind, suddenly has some magical insight into the workings of the transgender mind?   Right?  In fact, personally I have few regrets in life, but one of my biggest ones is that I was never a parent. As Thomas Beatie said, that is a human drive, not a female one. And there are transgender women aplenty who would dearly love to experience motherhood. It may also interest the likes Greer to learn that the world’s first transgender woman to undergo a ‘sex change’, Lili Elbe, died due to complications from a failed uterine transplant. But Lili Elbe died 92 years ago, when medical science in the field of sex assignment surgery was in its infancy. The very fact that cisgender women can now have successful uterine transplants means that they are now not far off for transgender women. Indeed, large obstacles to this happening appear to be on “ethical” and religious grounds.   These pillars must also soon crumble, and when they do, Sharron Davies and those who think like her will have their minds blown. Oh, and if you didn’t notice it, that blows your claims in your Tweet out of the water, Sharrony-poos.

Davies BioEvoBut then, Sharron may completely discount all this sciencey stuff, as she patently doesn’t believe that it does any good.  In another Tweet, Sharron stated, “I’m not really religious but I’m not really sure messing with biology is very healthy in the long term. Evolution is pretty good at getting it right.”  There you have it folks; Sharron Davies does not believe in mucking about with biology (and it that’s not anti-trans, you tell me what is) long term. Oh, except of course when she had her boob job, and the Botox she took for 20 years, which she claimed was the only way for her to look good.

And don’t get me wrong; Ms Davies does look good. She looks nowhere near her 56 years and is a stunningly beautiful and sexy woman. So how does she do it? Well, in an interview in Hello magazine in April 2016, Sharron stated;

“I’d been having Botox and fillers since my late thirties – not because I want to appear to be a different age but to look the best I can at any age – and this new procedure has worked wonders for me in a soft, subtle way. I was recommended it by my cosmetic doctor, Dr Tracy Mountford of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic who has been looking after all my cosmetic needs for many years, which is why I decided to have the Silhouette Soft treatment to my brow as it has niggled me for years. I’ve always trusted her advice because she is known for soft, subtle enhancement procedures, and it’s important for me to look natural and refreshed.”

Sharron Davies had a boob job after having her third and final child, and stated in the same interview of cosmetic surgery;

”It frustrates me when I know people are going off to have similar treatments are claiming the way they look is all down to eating organic food and sleeping well. When it comes to gravity and age, there is no magic formula.”

So, it is somehow wrong for transgender women (and men) to “mess with biology”, but when it comes to a cisgender women like herself, suddenly that’s okay for Ms Sharron Davies, and indeed, is the only way she thinks she can look healthy and youthful?   Has it ever crossed that small grey thing between Sharron’s ears that her forty plus years of swimming, and her energetic lifestyle, which includes walking and cycling may just have a wee bit to do with that as well?

And she has the utter gall to decry transgender women while at the same time admitting to having Botox treatment. Sharron, dearie, while many transgender people may go to great lengths to make themselves look more natural, I’ll think you’ll find that few of them, like most human beings, tend to veer away from having a deadly poison injected into their system. And should you wish to argue that, let me point out that “Botox” is an abbreviation for botulinum toxin. It is wholly alien to the human body, and while there are various medical uses, they come with their own dangers, including ranging from allergic reaction to muscle weakness, paralysis, seizures, respiratory arrest, and death.

In researching this, I also discovered that Sharron Davies is quite the dog lover – good on her – and has been photographed with various breeds of dogs, from pugs to lurchers.   She obviously cares very much about them. So much so that obviously she’s willing to ignore the fact that each and every single one of these breeds is down to “messing with biology” and ignoring evolution. This just in, Sharron; had mankind not messed with biology and evolution, then all those dogs would still be wolves, and would have eaten you, luv.

Human evolution, in the way it has left our species, is terrible. And Ms Davies while claiming not to be religious is nonetheless coming across like an intelligent design proponent. What’s so great about our bodies?   Our heads that are too large for our spindly necks and our skulls too thin to protect the brain. The oesophagus being dangerously close to the trachea can cause us to choke. The appendix is more likely to kill us than be of any use. In men the testicles have to hang outside the body to keep sperm cool, thereby making one of the most sensitive parts of the body extremely vulnerable. Also in men, we have the penis serving as a delivery system for both urine and sperm. In both men and women, the genitalia are way too close to the anus, which can easily cause infections. Our ankles are too spindly to support the entire fame. Our bodies rot with age, causing various problems in the bones and organs. Our hearing goes, and most people over 40 need some sort of corrective lenses for their eyesight. This is why we rely upon “messing with biology” to keep us healthy and give us much longer lives than our ancestors. You know, Sharron? In exactly the same way that medical science has allowed you to live into your 50s.

Of course, Sharron Davies may argue that on her imaginary island, there wouldn’t be all this science.   No, there wouldn’t be ~ and most people would die in their 30s, if they survived at all, due to another little fact which she didn’t consider.

No matter what the Bible may tell you, you cannot propagate an entire population from two adults.   Well, you can try, and the results may be good for swimmers like Sharron in a few generations – due to their webbed feet. I believe the minimum of healthy adults you would need would be 160 (or have I been watching too much of Salvation on Netflix?), and they would have to unrelated. If not, then within just a few generations you would have a population of incestuous, inbred idiots, with a host of congenital defects, eyes so crossed that each eye would be in the wrong socket, and who would need a week’s notice to stop grinning. Oh, and with each passing generation, life expectancy would decrease dramatically, and infant mortality would become commonplace. In fact, such a population may not make it to a few generations before dying out completely.

Davies BacktrackSharron Davies came in for a lot of stick from her original Tweet, and she attempted to climb down from it. At 2:14am (been on the wine, Sharron?) on 2 July, she Tweeted, “My goodness peeps are overthinking the island analogy.. it’s just a way of saying – humans to reproduce need the binary sexes. Sex & gender are different, sex is non changeable. Nothing to do with being gay. This relates to sport & male biology in females races being unfair.”

The only factual statement in that Tweet is “Sex & gender are different”. The rest is rubbish. We already know that sex is indeed changeable. We already know that the original Tweet is an ages-old homophobic trope. And as to sport, what exactly is fair about the fact that the vast majority of transgender athletes do not win, and its only when they do win that people like Sharron Davies throw a hissy fit? Where are all the transgender women Olympic gold medallist swimmers, Sharron? What is exactly fair about runner Caster Semenya, a cisgender woman, being banned from running due to having large amounts of testosterone in her body? And if it all about women in sport, perhaps Ms Davies would like to explain why she never once mentioned such in her original Tweet?

No. Davies can try to claim she was not being bigoted all she wants. But the fact remains that her original analogy was deliberately transphobic, it used an old homophobic argument, which also, not matter how inadvertently, castigated every woman unable to bear children, and every man unable to father such, for medical reasons, as well as demonstrating her complete ignorance of science.

And if we are to take Ms Davies claims of not being bigoted seriously, then why did she post that second Tweet, in which she ignorantly condemned “messing with biology”? How else are we to take that other than an attack upon transgender people ~ particularly coming from a hypocrite who has had a boob job and Botox treatment? Indeed, how are we to take her comment “Sex is non changeable” other than a complete denial of the very existence of transgender people? The fact is that Sharron Davies is yet another transphobe who is trying to have gender defined by biological sex, despite her saying that they’re not the same thing. Bad news for her and her ilk; that is not how science defines gender. Without going into the sciencey bits (to spare Shazza’s limited intellect), but to use the old adage, sex occurs between the legs, gender occurs between the ears.

There were quite a few people who attacked Sharron Davies on Twitter, and some of their comments were rude and abusive. I would never do that. It only gives Davies and the rest of the TERF army ammunition, while they try to claim they are only exercising their freedom of speech and expression. No, I’d sooner use her own words to completely condemn her, which I hope to have done in this article. Yes she does have freedom of speech and expression, but with that right comes responsibilities, including not abusing it to attempt to malign entire sections of society. Well, I too have freedom of speech and expression, and so long as I have that right, I shall use it to fully expose and call to account unintelligent bigots like Sharron Davies.

 

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20 November ~ Transgender Day of Remembrance

tdor

32% to 50% of transgender people will attempt or commit suicide.  Of that figure, 14% are young / teenage.

368 transgender and non gender conforming people have been murdered worldwide in the past year alone.

Almost 3000 transgender and non gender conforming people have been murdered in the past ten years.

And no-one speaks out about this silent genocide.

Remember them, and stand up to fight bigotry against and bigotry committed upon transgender people.

Where’s your Pride, London?

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Pride In London taking their hard line against TERF hatemongers

Hello, dears.

Been a long time, I know.   A little thing called life keeps getting in the way of my writing.

It doesn’t help that I am only back here with another whinge, and for a second year running, condemning the actions of Pride In London.

The Pride In London march went ahead on Saturday, 7 July, on what was a scorching hot day.  This is the biggest LGBT+ event the length and breadth of the UK, and I only wish that I could have been there.

Or maybe not.

The march was meant to be led by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.  However, a bunch of 10 TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) forced their way to the front, and lay on the ground to stop the march from proceeding, while police and stewards looked on, doing absolutely nothing.  After short negotiations, the TERFs were allowed to get up, and astoundingly were allowed to lead the parade for it’s entire length.  They carried banners and placards stating “Transactivists erase lesbians”, “Lesbian=female homosexual” and “Get the L out”.  As the march proceeded, they were even allowed to distribute transphobic leaflets.

One of the TERFs told Pink News “We want to get the L out of Pride, a man cannot be a lesbian, a person with a penis cannot be a lesbian.”, while another stated “Men are saying they are trans, they are lesbians and they pressure lesbians to have sex with them.”  The same woman ‘complained’ that she had been called a TERF online, trying to whine that it’s a hate speech term.  No, it’s fucking well not, and that is what you are, bitch; a fucking TERF, and if I ever meet you, I’ll call you a TERF to your face, and follow you down the street, shouting “TERF!” all the way.  If the cap fits, fucking well wear it, sweetie.

That they were allowed to get away with this at all was appalling enough.  But to add insult to injury, Pride In London gave a truly pathetic statement supposedly explaining why the TERFs were allowed to proceed at the front of the march.  A Pride In London spokesperson stated;

“Given the hot weather and in the interest of the safety for everyone attending today’s event, the parade group was allowed to move ahead.

“We do not condone their approach and message and hope the actions of a very small number of people does not overshadow the messages of the 30,000 people marching today.”

The hot weather?  Really, sweetie?  And in the interest of safety?  For whom?  For the thousands of transgender and non-binary people attending who regularly come under attack from these evil harpies?  No, you would sooner bow to a minority of ten ill-informed, low-intelligence fucktards.  Tell me, would you allow ten members of Britain First to lead the Notting Hill Carnival, handing out racist leaflets, for ‘safety’ grounds because of ‘hot weather’?  Because believe me, the brand of fascism spouted by TERFs is little different.

Had it been down to me, the march would have gone ahead ~ right over the prone bodies of the TERFs.  Nobody knows what 30,000+ pairs of feet can do to the human body, but I’m going to hazard a guess that the result would not be at all pretty.

And yes, it has cast a shadow over the march.  A great many people have complained about this disgusting and divisionary move, and LGBT+ Lib Dems. Chair Jennie Rigg said “I am appalled that transphobic protesters were allowed to lead the march and the crowd asked to cheer them on. This is a betrayal of the thousands marching. The Pride organisers should resign and offer a full apology.”  I could not agree more.

This is not the first time Pride In London has courted controversy.  At last year’s Pride In London, there was a group of gay ex-Muslims who carried banners saying “Allah is gay”, “Fuck Islamic homophobia”, “Islamophobia is an oxymoron” and “Throw ISIS off the roof”.  This caused the East London Mosque to lodge a complaint, and instead of rallying behind the ex-Muslims against what is indeed a homophobic faith, Pride In London upheld the complaint and warned people against carrying “Islamophobic” placards.

Now we have this nonsense of TERFs, who deny the very existence of transgender people, being allowed to hijack what is supposed to be an all-inclusive LGBT+ event.  It makes one wonder if Pride In London actually want the letter ‘T’ in LGBT at all.

Not that it should surprise any of us in the queer community.  Sad but true, there is no shortage of transphobic gay men and lesbian women.

Careful dears, your cis privilege is showing.

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The only London Pride worth bothering about

Cartoonist Sophie Labelle tells the Trans Advocate of Neo-Nazi attacks

10887151_349427518572852_6878044040955739326_oMy favourite transgender cartoonist Sophie Labelle, creator of Assigned Male Comics and colouring books which challenge gender stereotypes and teach children that it is normal to be whoever they are, has made it to the Trans Advocate.

Sadly, it is because of the attacks that Sophie has suffered from transphobes, TERFs, and more recently Neo-Nazis.  I have personally seen some of the attacks the lovely Sophie has been subjected to, including death threats, and believe me they make me pale ~ and I don’t scare easily.  So how she keeps that pretty face smiling speaks volumes of the courage of this beautiful young lady.

Earlier this year her Facebook page was cloned by Neo-Nazis posting transphobic hate messages.

Assigned Male Comics surrounds the life of a little transgender girl, Stephie, who like all good cartoon characters, finds a special place in your heart where she will stay with you forever.

Link to the Trans Advocate article:

https://www.advocate.com/current-issue/2017/7/20/young-trans-artist-targeted-neo-nazis

Germaine Greer is not a Woman

Claims to know how women should look, sound and behave

Claims to know how women should look, sound and behave

And that’s by her own definition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steph Holmes / Chrysalis: An apology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/