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Monday, 14 April 2014

Transfigurations Forums

After a lot of work setting up the original forums I soon found that they were attracting a huge number of spammers - so in the end I took them down and after a lot of research I found some alternative software that was highly recommended.  I am pleased to say that this new software seems to have done the trick and no spammers have registered on the site since it was created.

We have special sections for:-
  1. The partners of transgender people (sometimes referred to as Significant Others - SO's) which is restricted to partners only, so it is a safe place for you to get support from other partners who have been through this.
  2. The parents of transgender children and transgender youth because we realise that it is an emotionally draining time for you too - and you deserve some help and support to get you through this.
  3. A forum which is restricted to transgender children and youth and their parents.  There are many safeguards in place in this forum to protect the children.
I hope that you will take a few seconds to have a look over the forums - but you can only see the top level forum as a guest, you will have to register if you wish to view all of the trans forums.

The forums can be accessed from the web site (Transfigurations) via the links buttons on every page - or you can go to the forums directly from here.

Saturday, 5 April 2014


The group that I have been running for transgender people in the South Devon area has now got its own web site and online forums.
Although the meeting place for face to face meetings with other trans individuals is really only appropriate for people living in the South Devon area, the website is open to everybody and the forums can be accessed by trans people from all over the UK and beyond.
Have a look and let me know what you think
To visit, just click on Transfigurations link

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Paddy Power and the abuse of women

Last year Paddy Power came up with the insulting and demeaning campaign for their betting syndicate of "The Cheltenham 'Spot the Filly' Week" for which they were rightly castigated and made to withdraw the campaign (not before a great deal of damage had been done).  They blamed the advertising company that devised the promotion and assured everybody that it wouldn't happen again .......................

..................... for at least for another year it would seem - for this year they have gone even 'better' and have a new advertising campaign - "It's Oscar Time. Money Back If He Walks." referring to the Oscar Pistorius trial for the murder of his partner Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.  To trivialise the murder of this young woman in this way is totally reprehensible - and to do it to boost your profits is absolutely unforgivable.

Many women all over the world suffer both physical and psychological abuse from their partners and in the  UK alone last year 138 women lost their lives from physical abuse by men.  That is 138 lives which were needlessly lost and the effect on those people who loved them,  their parents, brothers and sisters, their children and their friends and wider family were shattering - but to Patrick Kennedy, the  CEO Paddy Power, this means nothing but an opportunity to make money.  Shame, shame, shame on you Patrick Kennedy for authorising this advertising campaign to go ahead.

There is an online petition calling on Paddy Power to withdraw this vile campaign and to donate any profit already raised from it to charities supporting victims of abuse which can be found here.  I would call upon anybody who has a shred of decency in their body, to support this campaign and tell Patrick Kennedy - enough is enough.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

English Riviera Pride 2013

I was asked to put together a promotional video for Youtube and Vimeo of our Pride Weekend from last year to advertise what Pride is all about on the English Riviera - so here it is:-

Best viewed at 720HD setting

Set in one of the most beautiful resorts in the UK with stunning scenery and vistas, this just has to be THE Pride event that you should attend if at all possible.  We are planning the 2014 calendar of events for our 2014 Pride Weekend at the moment and have some sensational acts lined up for your pleasure and enjoyment.  Events will start on the Friday evening and will continue until the Sunday - so why not treat yourself to a long weekend and soak up all the fun.
Please keep an eye on the English Riviera Pride website, everything will be revealed shortly

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Trans Youth Matters

Graphic courtesy of Trans Student Equality Resources
I came across this very revealing graphic whilst I was browsing the internet tonight  and the statistics contained within it hit me extremely hard as I contemplated how my own mother had reacted to my own coming out to her back in the very early 1970's and how fortunate I had been.
I was so struck with the information within the graphic I shared to my own Facebook page with the following message:- 
"Why would any parent reject their child just because of this. I suppose, mainly they didn't really love them in the first place if they are more concerned of what their friends or relatives will say."
A friend responded with another comment which read:-

"Nell S:  Parents often profess that they want them to be happy ......having a trans child determines whether this is the case or if they really want the child to actually make the parent happy. My heart and admiration goes to all parents, including my own mum, who enable their children to be their true selves."
To which I added my own feelings on the matter:-
That is very true Nell - and I too echo your feelings about parents who want their children to be happy in their own bodies. I have often thought that we should have a special day of thanks for them - for they really are wonderful people and my heart goes out to them for their acceptance.
My Mum (bless her soul) was incredible in that she accepted me and this was back in the dark ages in the early 1970's when very little was known about the condition, even the medical profession was almost completely ignorant of it - yet my mother's reaction was to come over, put her arms round me and say "That's OK, we will see this (meaning my transition) through together" - and she did, I had the most wonderful support from her.
Yes, I was lucky to have such a mother, sadly, so many are are not.
  They are disowned, thrown into the streets, physically abused - as if a beating would change who we are.  This so often can lead to mental health problems later and many will have to resort to prostitution or worse in order to survive.
Just look and absorb those figures - if your parents accept you, you are almost five times more likely to avoid mental health problems - and then you get people like Mona Charen publishing that she thinks it is child abuse if parents love and support their trangender child.  Ms. Charen, I have news for you - surely it is child abuse to try and force your child to be something that they are not and subsequently statistically far more likely to suffer mental health problems - or to disown them and throw them out into the streets.  You are a disgrace to parenthood Ms. Charen.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Nominations open in February for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Your annual opportunity to nominate your own diversity role models.
One of Britain’s most well-known diversity awards celebrations are opening its nominations next month and welcomes your community to nominate.
If your organisation is a strong representative of true diversity or you would wish to nominate then please do not hesitate to get involved with this initiative.
The National Diversity Awards in association with Microsoft is a celebration of the outstanding achievements of positive role models, entrepreneurs & community organisations across the UK.
A collection of some of the nation’s most inspirational and selfless people gather annually to recognise the country’s rich tapestry of talent. The prestigious black tie event showcases the extraordinary work of those who have demonstrated their devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in today’s society.
The UK has taken such an event to their hearts receiving thousands of nominations each year, and organisers are gearing up to receive an influx of names of people that have made a difference in their communities.
Support for the event has come from a growing list of top employers and celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Claire Harvey and Sol Campbell.
The 2014 ceremony will see Reality TV-star Brian Dowling and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell return to host the awards.
Brian said ‘To witness the outstanding work of all the nominees and awards winners is extraordinary. The atmosphere is always incredible and I can’t wait for this year!’
Patron Claire Harvey was one of only two openly gay athletes in the Paralympic Games. Harvey said ‘I am proud to be both an elite athlete and openly gay woman. The National Diversity Awards is a great opportunity to celebrate achievement irrespective of difference. I feel honoured to part of such an exciting event, where those who are making a real difference to our society every day are recognised’.
Singing Sensation Misha B added, ’The National Diversity Awards was one of the most inspirational award ceremonies I have been to.
‘It was a pleasure to perform for such a diverse audience, and witnessing the amazing journeys of all the award winners made me proud to support this worthwhile cause. It’s my honour to continue celebrating diversity in all its glory during 2014!’
NDA founder Paul Sesay said, ‘It’s overwhelming to follow the inspiring stories of Britain’s unsung heroes. Let’s recognise true role models and continue to celebrate our nation’s diversity champions this year’.
There are several awards categories including positive role model, community organisation, entrepreneur of excellence, diverse company and lifetime achiever.
You can nominate a positive role model and community organisation under different strands including age, disability, gender, LGBT or race/faith/religion.
The National Diversity Awards will take place in the countries capital on September 26th, nominations open Monday 03rd February.
To nominate please visit
Or for a nomination form please email

Friday, 3 January 2014

All for one - or one for all

Last year, as a committee member of English Riviera Pride, we held events for the LGBT community throughout the Bay.  We successfully raised over £2,200 for charity which was distributed to 3 charities, our local hospice (Rowcroft Hospice), an LGBT charity Eddystone Trust who do a lot of educational work about safe sex and other issues, and Mermaids, a charity which helps transgender children and their families.

A new committee was formed this year after several members left and it soon became apparent that forces were at work to undermine out efforts to raise money for charity, duplicating our events - they have even set themselves up as an alternative Pride event.  Whereas we hold our events spread out across the Bay supporting gay/trans friendly venues, the alternative Pride is based solely around one business and will therefore benefit just that one business to the detriment of the others.

We therefore ask them to reconsider what they are doing and to meet with us to try and work something out for the good of the whole community - and not just one small part of it.

One of the local businesses has just published an open letter - which I have reproduced verbatim below:-


 In support of the official English Riviera Pride I am writing this note with some concern and confusion, as no doubt soon you will have the same dilemma and thoughts as me.

As many of you may or may not be aware my company Greenway Ferry and Pleasure Cruises has provided support to both the Rainbow Ball and English Riviera Pride for many years donating in excess of £20,000 during this time to both causes in way of donations or monitory support. Being a company, which is gay, owned and operated and with a high percentage of gay staff we ‘pride’ ourselves in supporting a group that then supports the gay community and other charities including Eddystone Trust and Rowcroft. Most recently we took over Soho Bar and Lounge, which is catering to a mixed community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and straight people. We felt that the need for a sole Gay Bar in Torquay was obsolete even though homophobia still exists; straights and gays mix much more freely in bars and clubs.

I felt the best way to deal with this head on was to create a bar in the center of town which was not only unique in its style, premium quality drinks and ambience but one which did not hide from the fact that we had to be just gay but where people could mix in a safe trouble free environment. Our door person is gay, three of our bar staff are gay and we employ straights too. We are doing everything possible to make mixing a regular occurrence and increase the visibility of the bays gay community. How are we going to be excepted if we are hidden away, we are as normal as anyone else, so lets make ourselves be seen and heard and show that we are just like them…. Human!

Today it has come to the attention of English Rivera Pride that another Pride Group has just been set up and is advertising on Facebook as Bay Pride. This seems to be advertising our friends at the Meadfoot Inn and seems to be in complete competition to the English Rivera Pride which is set up and has been running for many years, raising money for charity and working alongside the Rainbow Ball Committee at some points with dual board members. Why? Why duplicate? Why not support the committee?

Why can’t our gay community of businesses work together and not against each other? Why can’t we all sit together and increase the events and charitable works? If it can be done in London, Manchester and other cities, what is wrong with our Riviera? It absolutely astounds me why businesses and groups can not work together in our bay (not just in this instance but others too).

So, my support shall remain with the Official English Riviera Pride and the Rainbow Ball Committee which has raised over £100,000. Not groups set up to forward one business or with an ulterior motive.

I challenge our Gay Businesses to come together, talk to each other and work together for the better of the bay and the better of the community we serve. I can be contacted below and as the previous Chairman of the Over the Rainbow Ball Committee and sure they, Riviera Pride, others and myself are at the table already waiting to talk.

So stop duplicating and lets make a difference. Why when English Rivera Pride are trying to raise money does a business serving the gay community decide to put on a rival event which is just serving their own pocket? Why is there so much backstabbing and bad feeling? We are a community which should work together!

Yours faithfully,
Will Ford

Greenway Ferry & Pleasure Cruises

SOHO Bar and Lounge"

The Facebook pages for the
alternative Pride organisation for Torbay were removed shortly after the people that set them up saw the open letter which I reproduced above.
More condemnation for these shady practices were being forthrightly stated on various individuals Facebook pages all of today.  More will no doubt come of this over the coming months and I will post updates about what is happening here for all the world to see.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013 (20th November 2013)

Another year passes and yet more people are brutally murdered for simply trying to be true to themselves.  Around the world, the Trans Respect Monitoring site reports that 238 known murders have been reported since TDoR 2012.  Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg as many countries do not report trans murders or they are shrouded in secrecy.  Neither does it include those people who were driven to suicide by bigotry and hatred and who could not carry their burden any more.  Many of those people died without ever realising their true selves.
When will people realise that we are not a threat to their own lives and allow us to live in safety and in peace.
I would like people to remember Lucy Meadows, the young teacher from Accrington in Lancashire who committed suicide as a result of horrendous media coverage of her transition at the start of 2013.  Please remember also Chrisie Edkins,  a young inspirational trans woman who sadly took her own life in the summer.

Thank you to Artdamage for the moving video below and to Sarah McLachlan for the song 'Angels' featured in the video

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Male violence against women

Last Saturday evening (2nd November) some people were out celebrating Halloween when an altercation took place in a restaurant in the small rural town of Totnes.  This resulted in a guy who stands about 6'6" tall, muscular and probably weighing around 18-19 stone punching a young girl in the face.  Her friends tried to argue with the man and a bystander in the food grill started to video the scene, which you can see below:-

The blonde girl, in frustration attempts to kick the thug who punched her friend, and ends up getting thumped by the man, after recovering she then attempts to punch him (misses) and the guy then punches her in the face so strongly that she is knocked back and through some security glass.
Yes, she was wrong in trying to kick him, but does that give leeway for the guy who stands over a foot taller than her and probably twice her weight and strength to punch her in the face in the way that he did.
The comments below the video I found to be appalling and implied that if we want equality, this is what we are in for.  This is not about equality, this is about human decency.  Discounting the fact that (on average) women do not have the same muscle strength as men, this fight would have been wrong even if it had been "man" on "man". 
The comments were practically gloating over the incident and shows the utter contempt and misogyny that some men hold towards women.  No wonder domestic abuse and violence towards women is on the increase when some men think  it is perfectly acceptable to behave in this way.  They see it as a means of fighting back against feminism - which just goes to explain that they have absolutely no idea of what feminism is about.  Feminism is about equality. Perhaps they realise that their white, cis-gendered male privilege is under real threat and this is their only way of standing up to it.
Subsequent to the above video - another one was released which glorified this thug's physical abuse of his victim - and yes, the comments below the video again try to justify the abuse in the name of "equality".

According to a news report in the Daily Telegraph, a 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage, and subsequently bailed, following an incident at Totnes Grill last weekend.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

New National Curriculum Bill

Some of you may recall a while back that the new National Curriculum Bill omitted the phrase gender identity from from the final draft - despite it occurring in all earlier drafts. I wrote to my MP (Adrian Sanders Lib Dem) fearing that Michael Gove might have deliberately dropped this protected characteristic group quietly from the final draft.
Mr. Sanders has just written back to me because he raised this issue with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare (Elizabeth Truss) and she has just replied back to him that it was a "simple error" and the term 'gender reassignment' will be put back into the relevant section of the Bill which will come into law from September 2014.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism

I was particularly pleased and heartened to discover the following statement on the blog of  Feminists Fighting Transphobia

"We, the undersigned trans* and cis scholars, writers, artists, and educators, want to publicly and openly affirm our commitment to a trans*-inclusive feminism and womanism.

There has been a noticeable increase in transphobic feminist activity this summer: the forthcoming book by Sheila Jeffreys from Routledge; the hostile and threatening anonymous letter sent to Dallas Denny after she and Dr. Jamison Green wrote to Routledge regarding their concerns about that book; and the recent widely circulated statement entitled “Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Critique of ‘Gender,’” signed by a number of prominent, and we regret to say, misguided, feminists have been particularly noticeable.  And all this is taking place in the climate of virulent mainstream transphobia that has emerged following the coverage of Chelsea Manning’s trial and subsequent statement regarding her gender identity, and the recent murders of young trans women of color, including Islan Nettles and Domonique Newburn, the latest targets in a long history of violence against trans women of color.  Given these events, it is important that we speak out in support of feminism and womanism that support trans* people.
We are committed to recognizing and respecting the complex construction of sexual/gender identity; to recognizing trans* women as women and including them in all women’s spaces; to recognizing trans* men as men and rejecting accounts of manhood that exclude them; to recognizing the existence of genderqueer, non-binary identifying people and accepting their humanity; to rigorous, thoughtful, nuanced research and analysis of gender, sex, and sexuality that accept trans* people as authorities on their own experiences and understands that the legitimacy of their lives is not up for debate; and to fighting the twin ideologies of transphobia and patriarchy in all their guises.
Transphobic feminism ignores the identification of many trans* and genderqueer people as feminists or womanists and many cis feminists/womanists with their trans* sisters, brothers, friends, and lovers; it is feminism that has too often rejected them, and not the reverse. It ignores the historical pressures placed by the medical profession on trans* people to conform to rigid gender stereotypes in order to be “gifted” the medical aid to which they as human beings are entitled.  By positing “woman” as a coherent, stable identity whose boundaries they are authorized to police, transphobic feminists reject the insights of intersectional analysis, subordinating all other identities to womanhood and all other oppressions to patriarchy.  They are refusing to acknowledge their own power and privilege.
We recognize that transphobic feminists have used violence and threats of violence against trans* people and their partners and we condemn such behavior.  We recognize that transphobic rhetoric has deeply harmful effects on trans* people’s real lives; witness CeCe MacDonald’s imprisonment in a facility for men.  We further recognize the particular harm transphobia causes to trans* people of color when it combines with racism, and the violence it encourages.
When feminists exclude trans* women from women’s shelters, trans* women are left vulnerable to the worst kinds of violent, abusive misogyny, whether in men’s shelters, on the streets, or in abusive homes.  When feminists demand that trans* women be excluded from women’s bathrooms and that genderqueer people choose a binary-marked bathroom, they make participation in the public sphere near-impossible, collaborate with a rigidity of gender identities that feminism has historically fought against, and erect yet another barrier to employment.  When feminists teach transphobia, they drive trans* students away from education and the opportunities it provides.
We also reject the notion that trans* activists’ critiques of transphobic bigotry “silence” anybody.  Criticism is not the same as silencing. We recognize that the recent emphasis on the so-called violent rhetoric and threats that transphobic feminists claim are coming from trans* women online ignores the 40+ – year history of violent and eliminationist rhetoric directed by prominent feminists against trans* women, trans* men, and genderqueer people.  It ignores the deliberate strategy of certain well-known anti-trans* feminists of engaging in gleeful and persistent harassment, baiting, and provocation of trans* people, particularly trans* women, in the hope of inciting angry responses, which are then utilized to paint a false portrayal of trans* women as oppressors and cis feminist women as victims. It ignores the public outing of trans* women that certain transphobic feminists have engaged in regardless of the damage it does to women’s lives and the danger in which it puts them.  And it relies upon the pernicious rhetoric of collective guilt, using any example of such violent rhetoric, no matter the source — and, just as much, the justified anger of any one trans* woman — to condemn all trans* women, and to justify their continued exclusion and the continued denial of their civil rights.
Whether we are cis, trans*, binary-identified, or genderqueer, we will not let feminist or womanist discourse regress or stagnate; we will push forward in our understandings of gender, sex, and sexuality across disciplines.  While we respect the great achievements and hard battles fought by activists in the 1960s and 1970s, we know that those activists are not infallible and that progress cannot stop with them if we hope to remain intellectually honest, moral, and politically effective.  Most importantly, we recognize that theories are not more important than real people’s real lives; we reject any theory of gender, sex, or sexuality that calls on us to sacrifice the needs of any subjugated or marginalized group.  People are more important than theory.
We are committed to making our classrooms, our writing, and our research inclusive of trans* people’s lives."

Please visit the blog page and sign if you also support this statement

Added later (19/09/13):
I was also very heartened to learn that another feminist blogger (Sarah Thomasin) has just written and excellent article which challenges why some of the trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERF's) and some people in the LGB sector have difficulty in accepting trans identities.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

In Solidarity with Julie Bindel against Threats of Violence

Following the vile and disgusting rape threats which were reported to have been directed towards Julie Bindel when she was scheduled to speak to an audience of students at the University of Manchester, I would like to issue the following statement:-

"I was shocked and disgusted to learn of a rape threat directed towards Julie Bindel by an alleged trans person (or ally), and condemn any and all such threats in the strongest possible terms.
Ms Bindel was due to speak at a debate at the University of Manchester regarding the porn industry and received the threat shortly before this happened.  A protest had been organised by a Manchester Trans group regarding legitimate concerns being raised by trans activists/ students on campus in the run up to the event because of her historical views on trans rights.
Whether the threat came from a member of the Trans community or from somebody against any possible restrictions being placed on the pornographic industry is unknown, but I applaud Ms. Bindel for her action in reporting this matter to the police and I sincerely hope that the perpetrator is quickly found and punished for their action.
I consider rape threats to be always unacceptable when used to try and silence women and subjugate us.
Whilst I strongly disagree with Ms Bindel on certain points of her philosophy which she has stated in the past, I do not believe that threats of this nature are the way to argue against her beliefs and therefore condemn these threats absolutely and wholeheartedly.
I would like to offer my solidarity with Julie Bindel against any and all threats of violence of this nature"

I would urge other transgender blog sites to condemn rape, threats of rape or any form of violence towards any woman (and trans women are women) as misogynistic attempts to silence all women.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Parental Acceptance or Rejection

I found that a  letter that a mother wrote to her intersex baby which was subsequently posted on the Facebook pages of the Scottish Transgender Alliance to be tremendously moving and warming.  It spoke of the love that a mother has for her child, who was discovered to be intersex.  A discussion followed later on the Facebook pages of Trans Media Watch where I shared that letter which revolved around parental acceptance of trans and intersex children.
Would the parents of a trans child kick their child out or disown them if s/he had been born with a cleft palette, with Downs Syndrome, a heart defect or one of thousands of other possible conditions. Yet so many parents do this if their child is born transgender. They see it as something worse than having a 'Damien' type of child - and if they examined their consciences closely, what it really boils down to is "what will the neighbours think?".  Yes, at the end of the day, they are ashamed of what their neighbours and friends will say.  What that says about them is far more revealing than what it says about their transgender child.
With the proper medical intervention at the right age, their child could grow up into a beautiful happy person and have a full enriching life. Too many transgender people are scarred from parental rejection and hate.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

In honour of Islan Nettles

Islan Nettles (1992-2013) RIP
Last week a young, beautiful 21 year old black woman was savagely beaten and later died of her injuries when she was taken off life support equipment in a New York hospital. 
Simply because she was  transgender and the 'men' who did this  thought that she deserved this simply because she existed.  I have italicized men because real men are not like this, they do not feel threatened by our existence, they do not feel that we need to be 'taught a lesson' for simply being who we are.
Janet Mock (a trans woman of colour who is also a trans activist) wrote a moving blog post about the subsequent vigil in her honour which took place a few days ago which I would recommend everybody to look at and read.
When is this hate going to stop??  Why do people fear our presence in society so much that they feel we are so worthless that they can attack and kill us with impunity.  Education is part of the answer, but until the bigots in the media and within some religious organisations which help to feed this hatred start to understand us, this hate will continue to thrive.
I wrote a comment on Janet's blog article that I would like to share here:-
A truly wonderful article Janet, we hear your pain and grieve with you – for your loss is our loss too. Injustices towards our community is everywhere, from CeCe McDonald to the latest tragic victim, Islan. These injustices only serve to unite us though and make our voices stronger and more determined to wipe out this hate so that one day we can live as ordinary people, without fear and take our place in society as true equals.
And this I truly believe will happen - one day.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Time for Rejoicing

Well, yesterday I heard the absolutely wonderful news that at a second hearing held yesterday at a Crown Court, the previous court order was rescinded and the young transgender girl and her older sister, who were taken away from a loving home will be reunited with their parents today.
The agony that this family have been put through over the past 10 or more days is indescribable.  Hopefully the children will recover from this fairly quickly now that they are back home as children are very resilient, but the scars will be etched painful and deep in the minds of their parents for a long, long time to come.
I congratulate them and rejoice with them now that their children are back and I send them this message:-

Thank you for fighting for her ********* (name withheld for privacy reasons), many people might have given up under the intense pressure that was being put on you personally and and also onto your family - but I think I speak for everybody who is transgender who is reading this page, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being there for her, it means so much to all of us. 

This is something that must never be allowed to happen to a transgender child and their family ever, ever again. It was cruel, heartless and ill researched by the care services in that area of the country. There needs to be an investigation into this at some point - but at the moment, let us simply rejoice with them at their good news.

See the original story here.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Social Services and Trans Children

Yesterday I learned with horror that one Social Service's worker had decided (no doubt with the blessing of her bosses) that a 7 year old transgender girl be taken away from her mother together with her other child because they regarded it as child abuse that the mother had allowed her daughter to transition.  They want to force the child to be raised as a boy.
I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind this.  Transsexualism is a recognised medical condition in the UK, so this social worker who will lack the necessary medical skills to diagnose if the child has gender dysphoria,  was allowed by her superiors and then backed by a court order, to forcibly remove those children from the mother's care.  It would appear that there was no consultation with qualified medical professionals who are fully cognisant with gender variant or transgender children.
Fortunately the mother did contact Press for Change, an organisation which provides legal help for trans* people who need advice and assistance and she was also put in contact with a qualified social worker who has specialist knowledge in this field who is helping her to get her children returned to her.  Another organisation, Mermaids, a UK national charity which helps transgender children and their families is also providing support for the mother.
The Social Services in this country are in a right mess, in a recent case they ignored all the signs  when a small boy was being beaten and starved to death by his evil parents, yet they take away two young children who are loved and cared for by their mother.  It is completely outrageous that this has been allowed to happen.
As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it would be child abuse if the mother deliberately made her child suffer the torment of going through puberty and then when they transitioned at a later date have to undergo painful and extensive treatments (eg laser/electrolysis to remove facial hair) and quite complicated and often dangerous surgeries (eg Facial Feminization Surgery etc).
A mother's love should be unconditional and by allowing her child to express who she feels herself to be is not abuse, especially in light of this being a known medical condition.
Hopefully, with the help from other organisations, this mother will soon be re-united with her children and  will update the blog when I have any further news of this.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the mother.  I would also like to point out that the majority of people who work in social services and child protection are conscientious, hard working people.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

TDOR Memorial in Sackville Gardens, Manchester vandalised

©Tony D. Cooper
The Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial in Sackville Gardens in Manchester to the victims of transgender hate crime was vandalised yesterday (7th August), apparently by a known graffiti artist who goes by the tag of 'High Tower ov(sic) Leicester'.  Please, if anybody has any idea who this sick minded individual is, please report them to Manchester Police.
It might only be a small step for this sick minded individual to move onto attacking live people who he might identify as being trans.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

An Open Letter from Stephen Fry to the Prime Minister and Olympic Committee

Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,

I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth. In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them. He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich. He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.
Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma. Let us not forget that Olympic events used not only to be athletic, they used to include cultural competitions. Let us realise that in fact, sport is cultural. It does not exist in a bubble outside society or politics. The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong. Everyone knows politics interconnects with everything for “politics” is simply the Greek for “to do with the people”.
An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.
He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I know whereof I speak. I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg. I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing. All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, “the banality of evil.” A stupid man, but like so many tyrants, one with an instinct of how to exploit a disaffected people by finding scapegoats. Putin may not be quite as oafish and stupid as Deputy Milonov but his instincts are the same. He may claim that the “values” of Russia are not the “values” of the West, but this is absolutely in opposition to Peter the Great’s philosophy, and against the hopes of millions of Russians, those not in the grip of that toxic mix of shaven headed thuggery and bigoted religion, those who are agonised by the rolling back of democracy and the formation of a new autocracy in the motherland that has suffered so much (and whose music, literature and drama, incidentally I love so passionately).
I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.
“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” so wrote Edmund Burke.
Are you, the men and women of the IOC going to be those “good” who allow evil to triumph?
The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory. The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world. I am begging you to resist the pressures of pragmatism, of money, of the oily cowardice of diplomats and to stand up resolutely and proudly for humanity the world over, as your movement is pledged to do.
Wave your Olympic flag with pride as we gay men and women wave our Rainbow flag with pride. Be brave enough to live up to the oaths and protocols of your movement, which I remind you of verbatim below.   
Rule 4:  Cooperate with the competent public or private organisations and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace
Rule 6:  Act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement
Rule15:  Encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education I especially appeal to you, Prime Minister, a man for whom I have the utmost respect. As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT rights and helped push gay marriage through both houses of our parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side. For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.

Yours in desperate hope for humanity

Stephen Fry

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