Saturday 9th November - The Labour Party & The Strip Club
Janice Turner wrote in The Times about the clash between a Labour Party parliamentary candidate and an anti-exploitation campaigner.
23 year old Sophie Wilson is Labour's candidate for Rother Valley in South Yorkshire. Her selection has surprised many, not least because her support for Sheffield lap dancing club, Spearmint Rhino, puts her at odds with Rotherham Council’s zero tolerance policy on sexual entertainment venues.
Sophie is one of a number of young women, whom Turner describes as "Spearmint Rhino’s useful feminist idiots", who campaign for the right of men to sexually exploit women. Despite liberal use of words like 'agency' and 'choice', they conveniently ignore that there have been 74 breaches of the licence (including sexual touching) and 145 breaches of the club’s own code of conduct at Spearmint Rhino.
Hard to imagine how anyone who calls themselves a socialist and a feminist can support and accept the hospitality of a global corporation making huge profits by sexualising and commodifying women's bodies.
Her support for Spearmint Rhino has brought Sophie Wilson into conflict with Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of the Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal. The constituency of Rother Valley, for which Sophie is the Labour candidate, includes areas of Rotherham, the town now notorious for turning a blind eye to widespread child sexual abuse for over fifteen years. Twenty men have thus far been jailed for the grooming, rape and trafficking of 1,400 young female victims there.
Sammy Woodhouse was just 14 years old when she was groomed, raped and impregnated by Arshid Hussain. She has since worked tirelessly to help the authorities bring the perpetrators to justice and has been brave enough to speak out about the abuse she suffered and detail her experiences in her book, Just A Child.
Having escaped the grooming gangs, Sammy had little choice but to find work as an entertainer in strip clubs. She worked in clubs, including Spearmint Rhino, for almost a decade. She had to cope with sexual assault and pressure for “extras” and she witnessed other vulnerable girls being trafficked into the sex trade by pimps. She found that, like her, many of the young women working in the industry had come from troubled backgrounds and endured traumatic childhoods.
Sammy expressed her disappointment that middle class women like Sophie Wilson could support a business such as Spearmint Rhino. Instead of using this opportunity to learn from Sammy's insight and experience, Sophie Wilson turned on her, tweeting that she and other anti-exploitation campaigners are "SWERF trash".
Sophie seems to make a habit of insulting other women on social media. Though the tweets have now been deleted, she's previously used the misogynistic slur, TERF, against those women whose opinion she does not share.
Earlier this year Sophie made public (and unfounded) allegations against a local Sheffield business, The Harlequin pub.
The Harlequin hosted a WPUK meeting which prompted Sophie and her fellow Labour councillor, Neale Gibson, to accuse the business of being hostile to trans people and of making anti-trans comments on its social media account. These allegations are vehemently denied by the pub's landlady and remain unsubstantiated.
Cllr Neale Gibson is also no stranger to using misogynistic slurs on social media.
And, like Sophie Wilson, Gibson, has been a staunch defender of Sheffield's Spearmint Rhino and campaigned for the club to retain its licence. He is fully supportive of sexual entertainment venues.
Cllr Neale Gibson is the director of a financial firm called Mowbray Accounting which acts as the company secretary to a business called Escorts R Us.
But back to Sophie Wilson and her outburst regarding "SWERF trash". We spoke to Sammy Woodhouse about Sophie and her selection as Labour Party candidate for Rother Valley. Sammy expressed her dismay at the decision:
"It's outrageous that the Labour Party have selected Sophie after her support for Spearmint Rhino and name-calling of myself and others on social media.
"Rotherham is known all over the world for exploitation and has a raw and sensitive past. To select a woman that is not only uneducated about exploitation but has shown support and accepted an invitation into Spearmint Rhino for a night out after clear evidence of wrongdoing and policy breach as well as alleged sexual assault and rape is disgusting.
"Sophie is not fit to represent Rother Valley and the Labour Party are yet again an embarrassment. The Rotherham people have yet again been let down. We deserve better!"
UPDATE: since this was published yesterday, The Labour Party has removed the whip from Neale Gibson
Also Today - Marathon Woman Protests Erosion of Women's Sport
Emily Kaht ran the entire 26.2 miles of the Indianapolis Marathon carrying this flag to protest against the inclusion of biological men in women's sports.
The response from those on the Right Side of History was predictable.
Sunday 10th November - Detransitioning Is Transphobic
Andrew Sullivan reported in the The Sunday Times on his meeting with a group of young female detransitioners in the USA.
All of the women he spoke to used to identify as trans and all had embarked on hormone therapy. Eventually they all came to realise that their decision was a mistake and have ceased their treatment. Sadly, they now have to deal with its lasting consequences; beard growth, increased body hair, deeper voices and serious back problems and breathing difficulties caused by wearing a binder.
These women started identifying as trans very suddenly after puberty, many citing immersion in internet sites such as Tumblr as the cause of their precipitous gender dysphoria. Despite assurances from clinicians that the most stringent criteria must be met before hormone treatment is offered to minors, many of the women describe being diagnosed as dysphoric and prescribed testosterone almost immediately after consultation.
Sullivan describes the huge rise in young girls seeking treatment for gender dysphoria and points out that most gender dysphoric children turn out to simply be gay or lesbian after puberty. "How much of the extraordinary surge in transgender girls is related to their discomfort with being a lesbian?", he asks. "What role does homophobia play in enabling transition?"
Lisa Littman, a professor at Brown University, recently published a paper in which she cites reports from parents of trans children. The vast majority are teen girls who had no previous history of identifying as trans. Littman's paper expressed concern that this rapid onset gender dysphoria could be a result of social contagion or connected to other issues, such as mental health or family problems, which were not being properly explored.
The research and conclusions of the paper were upheld under peer review. Nevertheless, trans activists attacked both the paper and its author. Following allegations of transphobia and a campaign to get her fired, Professor Littman lost her consulting job and the paper had to be worded differently when re-published.
Is there any other area of academic research where a peer-reviewed study will be re-worded because its verified findings don't suit a vocal lobby group?
Monday 11th November - Safeguarding Concerns at the NSPCC
Journalist Sonia Poulton posted her report detailing the safeguarding issues at the NSPCC.
Earlier this year the NSPCC launched a new service to cater for the growing number of children who have issues with their gender identity. The charity appointed model and trans activist, Munroe Bergdorf, to act as its adviser.
There was a great deal of concern about Bergdorf’s suitability for this role. Firstly, much of Bergdorf's career has involved modelling underwear and the internet is littered with images of Bergdorf scantily clad and in highly sexualised poses. Hardly the ideal role model for vulnerable kids experiencing issues around their bodies.
Bergdorf has also been known to make comments of a homophobic nature.
Furthermore, Bergdorf has troubling attitudes regarding child safety. Bergdorf has defended eleven year old 'drag kid', Desmond Is Amazing, and was in support of his dancing in a night club while adult men threw dollar bills at him.
Perhaps of greatest concern is that Bergdorf has encouraged children to get in contact privately and without their parents’ knowledge. This is in direct contravention of every safeguarding policy employed and advised by children’s organisations and charities, including the NSPCC.
Eventually, the NSPCC removed Bergdorf from the role of adviser but accusations of transphobia and bigotry were levelled at those who'd challenged the appointment.
As Sonia Poulton points out, "For Monroe Bergdorf's critics, being transgender wasn't the issue, but Bergdorf's poor judgement about appropriate adult and child relationships was".
The report then focuses on the man who appointed Monroe Bergdorf in the first place, former NSPCC Celebrity and Talent Manager, James Makings.
Makings had posted photographs and videos of himself engaged in fetishistic sexual activity online. These videos were easily found via his LinkedIn account. Most shockingly, he had uploaded footage in which he was wearing rubber fetish gear and masturbating in a toilet while at work at the NSPCC.
When the story broke and people expressed their alarm over this huge safeguarding issue, the NSPCC seemed unconcerned by Makings' behaviour. Instead they stated they were reporting the “bullies” who objected to it and recommended their followers do the same. Because Makings happens to be gay, anyone criticising his shocking behaviour was branded homophobic and the NSPCC blocked a large number of social media users who were trying to express perfectly valid concerns about him.
The NSPCC then fell silent on the issue and refused to make any further comment on Makings or his behaviour. Thanks to the tenacity of author, Jane Harris, in pursuing this issue, the NSPCC have finally revealed that James Makings was removed from his role back in August. No explanation was forthcoming and those blocked and branded homophobic for expressing their alarm have received no apology.
Also Today - Labour Women's Declaration On Sex-Based Rights
The Morning Star reported on the newly formed Labour Women's Declaration Group.
Three hundred Labour Party members, activists, trade unionists, supporters and elected representatives, including three MSPs and 24 councillors, have launched a declaration on women’s sex-based rights.
It was borne out of concerns around Labour's policy to reform the Gender Recognition Act and allow people to legally change their sex by self-declaration. Many in the party believe that these reforms would have a detrimental effect on women's rights and spaces and that, in the rush to adopt self-ID, such concerns are being ignored or silenced. The declaration seeks to protect women's single sex rights and ensure that women's voices will be included in the debate.
Labour Women's Declaration:
Paula Boulton, a spokesperson for the group, told The Morning Star:
"Women have a right to respond to these proposals, and anything that affects us, without censure. We’d like to reframe the conversation to ensure that women’s sex-based rights are protected and given due consideration when formulating future Labour policy, particularly with respect to any reform of the GRA or the Equality Act."
The Labour Women's Declaration is in the form of a petition so, if you'd like to sign it, you can do so here.
Tuesday 12th November - Hillary's Heresy On Trans Issues
James Kirkup wrote an article for The Spectator about Hillary Clinton's concerns over current gender identity ideology.
Last month Hillary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, disagreed over gender identity ideology in an interview with The Sunday Times. Chelsea Clinton stated that she sees transwomen (even those with a beard and a penis) 'fully as women' while Hillary Clinton didn't seem so sure.
In a recent BBC interview Mishal Husain asked Hillary Clinton about her views on transgender issues. She told the BBC, "I do think there is a legitimate concern about women's lived experience and the importance of recognising that."
James Kirkup describes Hillary as "Still the most prominent woman on the left of politics" and makes the point that her opinion should put an end to claims that the only people raising concerns around gender issues are on the political right.
"Or perhaps", states Kirkup, "Clinton will simply be treated like all those other women who have dared to question transgender orthodoxy and find herself consigned to the ‘wrong side of history’ with the other witches and heretics."
We didn't have long to wait for that to happen.
Wednesday 13th November - Politicians Are Betraying Women To Support Trans Rights
The Times published an article by Jenni Russell about the way in which politicians and policy makers are throwing women under the bus in their rush to uphold gender identity ideology.
In what she describes as "A shocking dereliction of political responsibility", Russel states that all the main parties have surrendered to one side of the argument and, without any real debate or consultation, they are adopting GRA reform and gender self-ID into policy.
Despite there having been no change in the law as yet, institutions, public bodies and businesses are already taking the new gender identity orthodoxy on-board. From the Girl Guides to the police, males can be women if they say they are and the massive safeguarding implications of this are being completely ignored. Russell states:
"Women’s identities, safety and privacy are all being eroded by a new orthodoxy which has been imposed by stealth and without its implications being recognised; the idea that sex-based identities are irrelevant and can be replaced by an individual’s choice of gender instead. In this new paradigm a woman is anyone who says they are."
She goes on to explain how anyone trying to challenge trans orthodoxy is hounded, branded a bigot, attacked by "ferocious" trans activists and frequently left too scared to speak up. And yet it is obvious how easily gender identity is being hijacked and used by predatory men; they're all over the internet bragging about being in women's spaces, threatening sexual violence and posting photographs of their 'ladydicks'.
"This crudity, this menace, is what self-ID is legitimising. The price of these men’s freedom is women’s fear."
Thursday 14th November - Man Who Killed & Dismembered His Ex-Girlfriend Is Now In A Women's Prison
Kristoffer Johansson murdered and dismembered his former girlfriend, 20-year-old Vatchareeya Bangsuan, in May 2013. Her body parts were discovered scattered in woodland a few weeks after she'd gone missing. Forensic investigations showed that Johansson had stabbed his former girlfriend in the heart and lungs and then tried to hide her dismembered limbs.
He was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
After serving five years of his sentence, Johansson started 'identifying as a woman', legally changed his name to Kim Marie and began hormone treatment.
Johansson had been incarcerated in class 1 institutions, the highest security class of facility reserved for the most dangerous male prisoners. Last week he was moved to Hinesberg women's prison.
Friday 15th November - Speaking The Truth Can Cost You Your Job
The Guardian reported on an Employment Tribunal in which a woman is defending her right to express gender critical views.
Maya Forstater is a researcher in business and international development and used to work for US think-tank, the Center for Global Development (CGD).
She became concerned about the UK government plan to reform the Gender Recognition Act and adopt gender self-ID. She was particularly troubled by the potential impact of such legislation on women's sex-based rights and spaces. She began engaging in polite discussion about the issues on social media... And consequently lost her job.
The CGD investigated comments Maya had made in a private capacity from her own Twitter account. She was accused of using “offensive and exclusionary” language for expressing the knowledge that biological sex is immutable and that men cannot be women. She was told that her contract would not be renewed.
Maya subsequently launched a CrowdJustice page to raise funds to facilitate a legal action against her former employer. The tribunal continues.
@wwwritingclub is doing a brilliant job of live-tweeting proceedings from the tribunal hearing. Her thread is illuminating.
It's a telling indictment of the stranglehold gender ideology has on all aspects of contemporary society that stating the reality of reproductive biology requires defending in law. And yet here we are.
See you next week, unfortunately.