Tag Archive | law

A Tale of Two Trans Kids

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With the kind permission of Sophie Labelle

One who isn’t, one who is.

There are two stories which have broken in the UK over the issue of gender identity in youth, and both are in their own way heartbreaking and extremely emotive.

The first case involved a 7-year-old little boy who was brought up as a girl by his mother, and whom the Family Court in England awarded custody to his father. The mother maintained that the boy identified as a girl, and to this end dressed him as a girl, was bullied at school for dressing as a girl, was registered as a girl with his GP, and on official forms.

The boy’s father, who is separated from his mother, however doubted the mother’s assertion that the boy identified as transgender. These doubts were shared by some school staff. The father filed for custody, and won his case.

Mister Justice Hayden, presiding judge, stated “This is not a case about gender dysphoria, rather it is about a mother who has developed a belief structure which she has imposed upon her child.

“I am bound to say that had the concerns [of school staff] been given the weight that they plainly should have, it is difficult to resist the conclusion the boy could have been spared a great deal of emotional harm.”

Mr Hayden added, “Transgender equality has received a great deal of attention in recent times. I believe that in this case the profile and sensitivity of the matters raised by the mother blinded a number of professionals from applying their training, skill, and, it has to be said, common sense.

“They failed properly to investigate the mother’s assertions, in part I suspect, because they did not wish to appear to be challenging an emerging orthodoxy in such a high-profile issue.”

This ruling has thrown further division between cisgender and transgender people, with the some transphobes seeing it as a victory, whilst I have seen some trans people lambasting Justice Hayden as a transphobe himself. In fact, Mr Justice Hayden is no stranger to transgender issues, having ruled in many such cases, and in most he has come down on the side of the transgender person. Before this case he actually wrote “My experience in the Family Division leaves me with little doubt that some children, as young as 4, 5, 6 years of age may identify strongly with their opposite gender. Such children can experience rejection and abuse arising from ignorance both on a personal and institutional level.” These are hardly the words of a transphobe. Far from it, I would consider those to be the words of a strong and powerful ally of transgender children.

It seems therefore that in this case we have a mother who, for reasons best known to herself, decided her son was transgender and imposed a female gender upon him. That has potentially done untold damage to the child. We in the LGBT+ camp must never condemn Mr Justice Hayden for his ruling. He has all the facts of the case; we do not.  Indeed, I think he should be applauded for his thoughtful handling of a highly emotional case.

Needless to say however, the gutter press was quick to link the above case to that of a 14-year-old trans boy – and whose devoutly Christian parents are now taking their local authority to court.

In this case a 14-year-old assigned female at birth has identified as male, and has laid out his plans to transition as soon as he is old enough, and has expressed his wish to be known by a male forename in school. He has received the support of his local authority’s Social Work department, after he underwent psychiatric evaluation. The parents have been warned that if their child’s wishes are not implemented, then he may present a high suicide risk, and if guidance of social workers is not acted upon, then their child may be taken into care.

The parents have responded by taking their local authority to court. They are being defended by The Christian Legal Centre, who are also funding the case. Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre stated “The transgender cultural movement is creating a new ‘conflict of rights’ within the family. This is the emperor’s new clothes. Authorities are forcing an agenda that is not true, and harmful to children. This case demonstrates shocking disregard for parental authority: no one is listening to what the parents want or have to say. They know the child the best, and have the child’s interests at heart.”

So, there you have it readers; according to the Christian Legal Centre, this trans boy and all we who are transgender / genderfluid are not behaving the way we simply are, but are following a ‘culture’ which is “not true”. I wonder if it would be possible to have Andrea Williams arrested for hate speech? No – we don’t want the Christian Taliban screaming persecution, or making a martyr of her.

The mother of the trans boy has stated “The rights of parents in the UK are being eroded, especially those who have traditional Christian values. It is leaving parents to feel fearful, vulnerable and intimidated.”

I would first of all like to know what ‘traditional Christian values’ preclude being transgender? I don’t know if the parents, Andrea Williams, or anyone else in the Christian Legal Centre have noticed, but nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus, at any point, make any mention of any sort of gender – not once. I can only assume therefore that the parents and their representatives are relying upon the Old Testament; “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5, KJV). Well, that’s equally all right, because a trans boy is just that – a boy. So if God actually existed, then he must have made the boy in question transgender, and intended him to dress and behave as male. Although an atheist myself, I know some lovely transgender and genderfluid people who fully believe that their God made them as intended.

I would also point out that women were wearing ‘harem’ trousers, and both male and female Greek horse riders were wearing trousers, while Moses was writing Deuteronomy – dressed in his robes. Oh, and high heels were originally invented for men to hold stirrups while horse riding (Oh, go on boys, you know you want some).

Then there is the hypocrisy of parents of this ilk, who want their children to grow up with ‘Christian values’ on one hand, yet claim they are too young to know their own gender on the other. Ermm, I would venture that anyone who is old enough to start to fully grasp Christian theology – as a 14-year-old would be – is more than old enough to understand their own body and mind.

Social workers have also stated the boy is in a “heterosexual” relationship with a 13-year-old girl, according to the newspapers. Well, of course he bloody well is, because if their editors and their readership were to actually study the issue, they would know that gender and sexuality are not one and the same thing. Anyone can be straight, gay, bi, pan (like me), or even asexual, completely regardless of being cis, trans, or like me, genderfluid / whateva (I’m not choosy, dears).

Perhaps the saddest fact of this case is that there are no winners either way.

I have no doubt that the Christian Legal Centre and the boy’s parents will be made fully aware of matters surrounding gender dysphoria in court, and they are on a hiding to lose this case.  In which case a teenage boy will be removed from his parents, who are so bloody indoctrinated by Bronze Age goatherders mythology about an invisible sky pixie, that they are willing to put their beliefs before the welfare of their child.

But in the unlikely event that the parents should win their case, and keep custody of their child, what then? Will he thank them for it? When he is forced against his will to dress and act like a girl, excluding the very real danger of suicide, what happens once he turns 16? He’ll be off like a shot, and may well cut off all contact with his parents, that’s what.

Either way, I see nothing but heartache coming from this case, all for the short-sightedness of parents, and the transphobic hatred of a bunch of religious zealots who are backing them.

Transphobic red top rags and their equally transphobic readership, using incorrect pronouns – as to be expected, have been all over both stories, with many trying to claim that the case of the 7-year-old is a victory. In fact it is nothing of the sort, and if anything, both stories actually back up gender diversity. Not only are the parents of the 14-year-old giving their faith priority over their child, but the case of the 7-year-old actually highlights how some parents, far, far from what Andrea Williams and the Christian Legal Centre claim, do not always know their children best and do not always put their best interests at heart.

What both cases does highlight is just who is the real expert on anyone’s gender; none other than the individual concerned. Each and every one of us is first and foremost a unique individual, with our own gender, sexuality, peccadilloes, likes and dislikes. Therefore to try and use one case to back up another is not just a false dichotomy, it is downright dangerous.  We are none of us clones, and each and every person’s gender (and sexuality) being unique to them, can never be used as an example for any other human being.

In the final instance, whatever anyone proclaims their gender to be, we need to take them fully at face value. And that pertains to cisgender people every bit as much as it does to the transgender and genderfluid. And, as Mr Justice Hayden asserts, that can indeed apply to children, even those as young as 4-years-old.



Readers please note that certain references to Christianity in this article are not intended as an attack upon the Christian faith in general, but are merely to highlight what I perceive in this particular case of the degree of religious fundmentalism of those involved. When anyone displays a strong degree of religious fundamentalism, whatever their faith, they need to be shown up for the danger they represent.

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

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John Nicolson MP (SNP)

Or, never trust a Tory.

I have never for the life of me ever understood how any LGBT+ person in the UK can be a member of or support the Conservative Party. It really seems like turkeys voting for Christmas, and this is not personal on my part. Okay, so it is. I make no bones about the fact that I think all Tories are scum who need to meet with an accident down a dark close. But the fact is I could never support the Conservative Party, on the grounds that I am evolved way beyond the primordial soup and qualify as a human being.

But people of all sexualities and gender do exist within the Tories. Even the leader of the Scottish Conservatives (a rare and endangered species, on a par with porcine birds), Ruth Davidson, is openly lesbian and has been in a relationship with her partner for many years.

Therefore, with such diversity, the Tories can be trusted with LGBT+ legislation, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

On Thursday, 20 October, John Nicolson, openly gay Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for East Dunbartonshire, tried to introduce a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons for legislation which would give wide-ranging pardons to gay and bisexual men still alive who were convicted of having sex with underage men when the gay age of consent was still 21. The Bill had previously received support from Conservative and Labour Party MPs, as well as Mr Nicolson’s own fellow SNP MPs. The Tories even promised not to block the Bill.

The Bill was touted as a “Turing Bill” or “Turing’s Law”, after the gay computer scientist Alan Turing, who was convicted of offences of gay sex with minors, underwent voluntary chemical castration, and subsequently took his own life. He was pardoned in 2012.

When the Bill was introduced in the House of Commons however, Conservative Justice Minister Sam Gyimah spoke on the government’s opposition to the bill. And he spoke on, and spoke on, and spoke on; eventually taking up the full 25 minutes of debate, when the Bill should have gone to the vote. There were cries of “shame” from supporters as it became clear that the government were deliberately setting out to scupper the Bill.

Mr Nicolson’s Sexual Offences (Pardons) Bill proposed a blanket pardon for all dead and living men convicted of sex with minors when gay age of consent was 21. The government opposition quite insidiously concentrated upon men convicted of sex with boys under 16, and victims of rape. This is wholly disingenious, as John Nicolson’s Bill had already taken such men into consideration and they would not be covered by the Bill.

Instead, the day before the Bill was to be read, the Tories did a deal with the Liberal-Democrat Party, accepting an amendment to the 2012 Policing and Crime Bill by (unelected) Lib-Dem Lord Sharkey, whereby those convicted but since deceased would be granted an automatic pardon, and those living could apply to the Home Office for a “disregard process” to clear their names. The all-too-obvious elephant in the room here is that the Sharkey amendment would automatically clear the names of dead men who did prey upon little boys and under-16 teens.  Former Liberal leader Cyril Smith about to have his name cleared, anyone?

Besides which of course, many of the men convicted and still alive are very elderly, some in their 80s and 90s. Their lives already ruined, to ask them to go through the trauma of applying to have their names cleared is despicable and thoughtless beyond belief.

Lyn Brown, Labour MP for West Ham, stated “The living would have to apply for a disregard and only then would they be granted a pardon. The onus would be placed right back on the victims of injustice, which, I worry, rather reduces the quality of the apology being offered.”

I partially agree, except for one point; the planned amendment is not even an apology. It is a pardon, which still presumes guilt. Some Tory wets stand by this. Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, himself once convicted of having sex with a young man of under 21, stated on LBC Radio that as it was a crime when he was convicted, then there’s no need to apologise to him.

John Nicolson’s Bill would have set aside nearly 50,000 convictions, of which approximately 15,000 apply to men still alive today. It was a brilliant opportunity, which the government pretended to support, and then pulled that support at the last minute, then completely abused the procedures of the Westminster parliament to bury it.

John Nicolson later stated “I’m very disappointed that the Tory government decided to filibuster and talk out the Turing Bill.

“The bill was intended to be kind and bring closure to generations of gay and bisexual men found guilty of homophobic crimes no longer on the statute book.

“Many of these men are now elderly and have lived with unjust convictions for years – my bill would have given them an automatic pardon.

“I was delighted to receive cross party support from Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs so I was sad on their behalf as well as on behalf of the men that would have been pardoned to see the Tory Justice Minister use political manoeuvring to see off a popular bill.

“As MPs of all parties made clear today there was no good reason for the government to block this Bill. The compromise amendment being suggested instead does not go far enough to right the wrongs committed against these men and their families.

“The Tory whips promised that there would be ‘no tricks and no games’ on their side but it is to their shame that they broke their word.”

Really John? And what else do you expect from a heterosexual Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, who “changed her mind” on equal marriage and stood against adoption of children by gay parents, from heterosexual Sam Gyimah, and from equally heterosexual John Sharkey – whose own party leader, Tim Farron, is a God-botherer who abstained on the equal marriage vote?

Ain’t it amazing how all these straights seem to think they know what is best for us queers? Ever been patronised? You have now.

And of course, we all know what the real opposition to John Nicolson’s Bill was: “SNP BAD!”; to the government’s mind, if it’s an SNP idea, it must be opposed, simple as that.


Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes; “I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts.” (Virgil, Aeneid; alluding to the legend of the wooden horse of Troy)

Little Malta leads the world on Intersex Babies

_000000LoveMaltaTiny country with a huge heart bans unnecessary surgery

The Republic of Malta can hardly be called one of the biggest players on the world stage.  A tiny archipelago of islands in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, it has a land mass of 122 square miles and a population of a mere 450,000.  HIstorically it has always been an important port of strategic importance, and a crossroads of civilisations.  The Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Habsburg Spanish, the Knights of Saint John Hospitalier, French and the British Empire all ruled it in turn, before it became independent in 1964, and a republic in 1974,  Since Saint Paul (allegedly) was shipwrecked on the islands, it has been an important centre for Christianity.  A stronghold for Crusaders, it was the Knights of St John who gave us the Maltese Cross.  To this day the island republic remains fiercely and fanatically Roman Catholic.

So, one may think with such a long history of religion, and staunch adherence and blind loyalty of the population to the diktats of Rome, that Malta would be strongly against the rights of the individual to determine their own gender.  And you would be wrong.  In a move which completely surprised me, on Wednesday 1 April 2015, the Maltese Parliament voted to ban surgery on intersex babies (i.e. babies born with organs of both biological genders).

In passing the new law, the Maltese Parliament is determined that the identity of a child as male or female must lie with each individual themselves as the grow, and shall now work with medical professionals to ensure that the rights of intersex children are protected.  They also seek to ensure that any surgery which may take place is wholly and not “driven by social factors without the consent of the minor”.

This new law also contains protection for trans and intersex people and is being hailed as some of the most progressive in the world.

“I am very proud to be from a country that has from now on the most comprehensive and respectful laws when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.” said Maltese Member of the European Parliament, Miriam Dalli, “No one should be declared mentally ill, undergo forced surgery or being forced to go through a divorce, in order to be recognised as who they truly are. I sincerely hope that the whole of Europe will follow Malta’s example, and that such degrading practices will be issues of the past.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Malta has not only led Europe and the world in one of the most progressive steps in protecting gender identity ever, but they put the rest of the world to shame.  They have proven that size and prestige really does not matter.  You don’t have to be the biggest or most powerful on the world stage to be the most progressive, or to take a very brave stand against the powerful, i.e. Rome, who would frown upon your acts.  A small voice is sometimes the most effective.

Arja Voipio, co-chair of Transgender Europe, stated, “Lawmakers in the rest of Europe should take inspiration from this trail-blazer for swift action.”

Indeed they should.  And I in particular look to my own little Scotland to follow their lead.  Now that Scotland has hate crime laws and some of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world, it is time for intersex children to have legal protection.

Holy Smoke! Religious Freedom Bill goes all to Pot

_0NunIndiana’s anti-gay legislation inadvertently opens door to cannabis smokers

You shouldn’t laugh, dears.  No, really, you shouldn’t.  Ohh, but how can you not?

For those of you who have been living in a box and are unaware of it, the state of Indiana in the good ol’ USA recently rushed through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a hateful piece of legislation which makes it legal for businesses to refuse service to gays (and one would imagine other LGBTQI people) on grounds of religious belief.  The backlash from this legislated bigotry has been considerable from both LGBTQI and supportive cis/het people alike.  Former Star Trek star George Takei, himself openly gay, is calling on people to boycott the entire state.

Now it seems however, that Indiana’s homophobic legislators may well have shot themselves in the foot.  Indiana attorney and commentator, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, has pointed out that the wording of the kneejerk legislation would may well also protect those who smoke marijuana as part of their religious beliefs.

Shabazz has pointed out that owning and / or smoking marijuana remains illegal in Indiana, if a pot smoker can prove that they are performing a religious sacrament, then under the wording of the RFRA, their rights must be protected.  “I would argue that under RFRA,” says Shabazz, “as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scot-free.”

RFRA supporters state the Bill, “only spells out a test as to whether a government mandate would unduly burden a person’s faith and the government has to articulate a compelling interest for that rule and how it would be carried out in the least restrictive manner,”  Shabazz maintains this merely compounds problems; “So, with that said, what ‘compelling interest’ would the state of Indiana have to prohibit me from using marijuana as part of my religious practice?

Shabazz went on to point out that alcoholic wine is used in Christian sacraments and that marijuana is a far less dangerous drug than alcohol.

So, is this farcical?  Not one bit of it, dears.  On Thursday, 26 March 2014, the same day the Bill was passed, Bill Levin, founder of the First Church of Cannabis Inc, filed paperwork in Indianapolis to register his church as a non-profit, religious organisation.  Referring (should that be reefering?) to followers as “cannataerians” on the group’s Facebook page, Levin stated that they seek “love, understanding and good health.”  Colorado-based Green Faith Ministries, who use marijuana as part of their sacraments, have also reportedly voiced an interest in setting up a branch in Indiana.

And of course, these two are not alone.  There are plenty other established religions which use marijuana as part of their belief systems.  Rastafarianism regards marijuana as a sacred plant, to be used for the purposes of meditation and achieving heightened spiritual awareness (yes dear, been there, done that).  The Hawaii-based THC Ministry, founded by Roger Christie of the Religion of Jesus Christ, considers cannabis sacramental for both spiritual and healing properties.  They state that the “cultivation and enjoyment of cannabis sacrament is a fundamental human right provided by God and protected by the Constitution.”  The California-based Church of Reality, founded on the principles that some of the best ideas come from smoking pot (truth), similarly maintain that smoking cannabis is a constitutional right in the USA.  Should anyone doubt how serious the Church of Reality are, consider that the US Internal Revenue Service recognised them as a non-profit, tax-exempt church as far back as 2005.

Oh dear.  It seems the bigots of Indiana may have bitten off more than they can chew.  Before long the streets of Indianapolis and other cities may be full of dreamy-eyed people walking about in a beautiful haze – and the conservatives who made that possible won’t be able to do a damned thing about it.

Who knows, maybe that could be a good thing?  If the overbearing homophobic bigots of Indiana inhale enough secondary smoke, it may just lead them to chill out a little, get those pokers out of their arses, and actually try being nice to people.  If that happens, I’ll believe the age of miracles has not passed.

Of course, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has pointed out that as the use and ownership of marijuana remains illegal in the state, a test case may well follow, and states “I want a front row seat at the trial that we all know is going to happen when all this goes down.” 

Oh indeed, dears, so do I, and I’ll be watching out for developments.  As any attempt to apply RFRA to the Christian faith alone would be wholly unconstitutional, then any test case under it can have only one of two outcomes; either those who smoke marijuana as a religious sacrament have their rights protected by law, or this odious piece of homophobic legislation will have to be scrapped altogether.

UK Government delays gay pardon among “paedophile” fears

_0000TuringNot content with condmening 49,000 gays, Whitehall now condemns them as paedophiles

Following the postumous pardon for computer genius and World War II hero Alan Turing, who was convicted of Gross Indecency, a petition has been gathered, which the family of Alan Turing are backing, to have similiar convictions against 49,000 gay men pardoned.  The men in question, like Turing, were convicted for homosexual activities, before it was decriminalised in 1967.  Around 15,000 of the men may still be alive.

Now the UK government are dragging their feet over the pardon, attempting to claim without any evidence to back their claims up, that a small number of paedophiles may benefit from the pardon.  A source told the Guardian newspaper, “There is huge frustration that the deal breaker now appears to be a fear that a general pardon might see what are being described as some paedophiles pardoned”

The claims come from the laws which followed decriminalisation of male homosexuality, whereby sexual relations between men were only legal for consenting males of 21 years of age or over.  Therefore, any man over the age of 21 having sex with a man between 16 to 20 years old was commiting an offence of having sex with a minor.  Age of consent in the UK was equalised at 16 years old in 2001.

Campaigners have suggested that objections about benefitting paedophiles could be overcome by introducing amendments may overcome this, by stating that acting under current law, sexual acts involving 16 to 20 year olds would be considered legal between consenting adults, and thereby past convictions of having sex with a minor should be quashed.

Indeed, such amendments would have that effect.  What worries me more about this is the wording used.  The term “paedophile” is being freely banded about in this issue, when even in law, including the post-1967 law, that simply is not the case.  Someone who is sexually attracted to an underage teenager is described as a hebephile.  Paedophilia only applies when the child is younger than 13 years old.

And I fully believe that the government, who know the definitions in law (or should do), are fully aware of this, and are purposely attempting to castigate men already unjustly convicted, of now being no better than kiddy fiddlers.  And worse still, they are doing that without offering one shred of evidence to that effect.

Well seeing it’s an election year, in which the Tory-dominated government will attempt any desparate populist measures to win votes, no matter who they may hurt in the process.

Simon Hughes of the Liberal-Democrats, meanwhile, is to demand any future coalition agreement includes an automatic pardon for the 49,000 men.  Too little, too late, Simon dear.  The Lib-Dems already sold out their principles and their soul to get into power, and if you lay down with dogs, do not be surprised when you wake up with fleas.

Book Review: Fanny and Stella.

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I have just read and thoroughly enjoyed Fanny and Stella by Neil McKenna, which covers the infamous Boulton and Park case which rocked and scandalised Victorian London and the lives of the two central characters, Ernest “Stella” Boulton and Frederick “Fanny” Park.

Boulton and Park were two performers who officially were on-stage female impersonators, but equally wore female attire in their private and personal lives, often frequenting theatres and other public places dressed as women and in the company of men, or attempting to pick men up.  They rarely used their male names and went by the names of Miss Stella Boulton and Mrs Fanny Graham (nee Park).  When times were hard (and sometimes when they weren’t so hard) they would also prostitute themselves for money.   On the evening of 28 April 1870 the two were arrested while leaving The Strand Theatre in London and subsequently charged “with conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offence”, the case going to the Court of the Queen’s Bench in 1871, the highest criminal court in England.

Forget all you have read about ‘Victorian values’ of stiff morals and genteel ways.  Fanny and Stella exposes in lurid detail a hidden Victorian world, in both London and in Edinburgh, where Stella stayed for a while whilst convalescing after an operation for Fistula in Ano; a world of clandestine homosexual parties of crossdressed men.  It aslo exposes the seedier side of male prostitution of the time, including some  of them taking quite fantastic chances, such as luring straight men into sex against a wall, pulling their knickers to one side so the man in question thought he was entering a woman’s vagina.

Forget all you have read or heard of the romantic image of the noble Victorian London Bobby as well.  Neil McKenna exposes a Metropolitan Police force rotten to the core with corruption and where some constables would prey upon male prostitutes and crossdressed men, sometimes for money, sometimes for sexual favours, and sometimes both – and a minority of whom would then still arrest them.

In what reads like a historical novel and hard to believe at times it is a true story, Neil McKenna concentrates mainly upon Stella Boulton, who was always the centre of attention of many young (and not so young) beaux.  And it is not surprising, for the illustrations show that Stella was a strikingly beautiful woman, and this, coupled with her feminine ways described, convinces one that the only thing which stopped her being fully female was the misfortune to be born with male reproductive organs.  Stella was undoubtedly not only a crossdresser, she was obviously transgender.  It also shows however how she was mollycoddled and spoiled both as a child and adult by a mother all too ready to bow to her every whim, which turned her into a petulant, moody and often bitchy woman, prone to go in the huff or throw a tantrum if she did not get her own way.  Still, one cannot help but warm to Stella due to Neil McKenna’s portrayal of her.

The book covers how after the arrest of Boulton and Park, they were subjected to intimate examination by no fewer than six doctors and how the net widened to include several others associated with them, including other female impersonators and not a few men of substance.  It describes their encounters and how the careers of a Post Office Manager and no less than the US Consul to Edinburgh and Leith were ruined, and how a member of the British gentry and Member of Parliament possibly may have feigned his own death to flee the country and escape investigation.  Eventually, it shows how the case against Boulton and Park collapsed due to lack of evidence and the defence being able to prove police corruption.

Above all, one thing becomes patently clear in the book; and that is how the vast majority of society were actually quite accepting and tolerant of “The men dressed in womens clothes”, to steal a line from the book.  Rather it was the establishment in general, and one bigoted Metropolitan Police Inspector in particular, who frowned upon people like Boulton and Park, and were determined to make an example of them.  It also shows quite humorously how eventually England was considered safe from what was considered to be a foreign disease from the European continent.

A fantastic read, well researched, superbly written and a work which keeps the reader riveted, as well as laughing one moment and weeping the next.

Fanny and Stella is published in the UK by Faber and Faber, £16.99

ISBN: 057123190X

Available on Kindle from Amazon.

Link to Neil McKenna’s website:

http://www.neilmckennawriter.com/