All bets off for Ladies’ Day in Cheltenham

We appear to be living in interesting times – which is not always a blessing. Because, as events around the Paddy Power fiasco unfold, I am beginning to sense that this story, after the heady days of the Leveson inquiry all of two weeks ago, has the potential for being a real trans disaster.

For that reason, I am going to ask all those currently getting hot under the collar to calm down, at least until tomorrow, when a few things will become a lot clearer.

An ill-conceived campaign

To begin at the beginning. This looked like just another piece of transphobic silliness: an ad campaign based on the premise that racegoers at Cheltenham’s Ladies’ Day should be prepared to sort out the mares from the stallions (trans women).

OK. There was an awkward little twist to the saga: the real possibility that Paddy Power would send its own monstrous regiment of trans women in on the day to give the punters something to chew on; though I am still waiting confirmation of same.

The campaign crossed the trans community’s horizon a week or so back, since when the volume of complaint has been growing steadily louder.

“Just a bit of fun”

Today I started to talk to some of the principal actors in this story. To his credit, Mr Paddy Power (the guy who set up the organisation which, co-incidentally, also carries his name) returned my call and gave a fairly stock response.

The concept for the ad was based on punter comment. It had been cleared with UK standards body, Clear Cast. They had consulted with a leading transgender organisation before putting the ad together.

And I can see his point. Sort of. After all, its much the same mindset as folks brought up on a diet of “Black and White Minstrels” once had. Where’s the harm? Tis all just a bit of craic.

All the usual suspects

Still, his answers led on to other questions, which are even now in the process of being answered. I have asked Clear Cast why they gave approval to this vile campaign when surely they would never have approved anything similarly racist. They’re getting back to me tomorrow. However, I also suspect this will act as catalyst for them and Trans Media Watch to get talking.

I have a name for the trans organisation that gave the advice which, once I’ve checked a little more, I’ll be giving out tomorrow…but I can’t see that answer, when it comes, as doing much for trans comm-unity.

And next we are on to the serious stuff, from two quite distinct angles. Bloody Paris! 🙂

She has written an absolutely spot on piece in today’s Pink News about how this is all panning out. She quite correctly identifies that, for an organisation that proudly took the title of most complained about advertiser in 2010 (for an ad featuring blind guys kicking a cat!), yet another complaint to the ASA is likely to be welcomed as battle honour.

The gloves are off

Just complaining is not enough. If people wish to dissuade PP from doing this sort of thing, Paris argues, they need to do things that hurt. Complain to MP’s. Appeal betting shop licenses.

Which is where this all gets serious and where the backlash could set in. As of tonight, I am aware of possible court action about to kick off.

That’s impressive. More serious, I have been talking to Police and Women’s groups in Cheltenham, because… well, for the fairly obvious reason that some folks may not have understood.

This ad goes way beyond “offence. It invites a bunch of drunken racegoers to play “spot the tranny”. And if there is one lesson the trans community knows full well, it is that that game does not combine very well with alcohol.

The chances of a trans woman being assaulted, or worse, in Cheltenham between now and March 14 just got a whole lot greater. And not just trans women. Any woman who fails to live up to conventional views of femininity and beauty is potentially open to challenge as the race meet gets under way.

Which means that the possible net for collateral damage just got a whole load wider.

And here’s where the collateral sets in. This is potentially a major public order issue – even if trans folk don’t decide to demonstrate on the day.

I am still waiting, tonight, for a reaction from Cheltenham Police and Martin Horwood, MP for that fair town (where, incidentally, I lived and worked for several years a decade or so back). But it could be fairly extensive.

Ban the event? I don’t think so. They wouldn’t dare. But as the temperature on this story rises, I can see views polarising. This campaign, even if abandoned now, makes life in Cheltenham a lot riskier for a lot of people in March. Police might yet suggest that, “for their own safety”, trans women not visit the town during that period.

Huh? Or maybe we are about to see a mega police operation set in train to protect anyone identified as trans by Paddy Power’s punters during that period. The bill could be very large indeed…and while the resp[onsibility would lie wholly with the bookmaker, that’s not, I suspect, how some of the tabloids will see it.

Time, therefore, for caution and a little bit of reflection. This story just got very interesting indeed…possibly, even, a lot more interesting than most trans folk would like.

Jane xx


17 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    You know, at the back of all this is the fact that you transvestites all think you are harder to spot than you are. Let me tell you it is a piece of cake. You are all easier to spot than you think you are. Don’t run away with the idea that because no-one says anything you have not been “clocked” you probably have, it’s just that most people are too polite to say anything you are Not As Sweet As You Think

    One other point, perhaps now you may begin to understand why most women are so against allowing transvestites i e MEN into our spaces like bathrooms and changing rooms.

    • 2

      Khyri said,

      Really, Cassandra? Really? Most women in my experience are just fine sharing bathrooms and changing rooms with trans* women. As previous posts on Jane’s blog have shown, those with the problem are usually men, who seem to think trans women will pose some sort of threat to “their” wives and daughters. And, apparently, transsexuals who feel their transition results are “good enough” to separate them from those they would classify as “transvestites i e MEN” (your words, not mine).

      Regardless, your comment is not pertinent to Jane’s post, which makes the point that any woman who is not perceived as “feminine enough” is at risk here. That is not dependent on whether they were male or female assigned at birth, simply on their features, presentation and mannerisms.

  2. 3

    @Khyri nice Xmas pud recipe btw I might try it next year.

    With respect I made two points. The first was related to tranny spotting and the second related to said spotted trannies in women’s spaces.

    I’ve always wondered why it is that women have to be educated into accepting men dressed as women into their bathrooms. Why not educate men into accepting you into men’s bathrooms? Anyway, perhaps that is off point and I am not intending to hijack the post.

    The point you guys seem unable to grasp is that heterosexual men do care about whether the “woman” they are talking to is equipped with a penis or a vagina even though you all feel it is irrelevant it effing well is relevant, because strange as it may seem to you all sex identity is very different to gender.identity. Most men do care and care deeply that the object of their desire has the correct equipment. It isn’t just about looks whether you like it or not. What is annoying you all about this “Paddy Power” issue is that it is drawing society’s attention to you. Well perhaps now you may begin to get an inkling of why it is genuine transsexuals are upset about the attention TG’s create to a condition presented as transsexuality but which is contrary to their own reality.. It’s exactly why we have sought to separate the paradigms.

    • 4

      I agree entirely Cassandra, ‘Well perhaps now you may begin to get an inkling of why it is genuine transsexuals are upset about the attention TG’s create to a condition presented as transsexuality’.

      I feel I have to go further now and WILL NOT accept any trans label as the consequences of linkage are unthinkable right now and for the millionth time transition IS a temporary state not a career. I live in the real world and cannot hang my wig up whenever it suits me. At the end of the day are ‘TG’ people share NOTHING with transsexual women.

      The simple truth is, yet again the so called tg community/sleazy scene turns out to be it’s own worst enemy by actively participating in more media bullshit which cleverly makes life that much more difficult. Don’t complain all you trannys, you did this to your selves. Moan to the fwits taking part. Oh and if you all loved MTS, rejoice it’s exactly what you all like, more airtime even if it’s phobic rubbish. Wow I bet it felt so cool the first time the tranny participants got to admire their ‘work’. I give up ~shakes head~

      • 5

        sophia said,

        Always enjoy hearing the ridiculous myth about TS people passing with no problem, whilst TGs are generally read.
        The people who pass worst are women in transition, and apart from that in something like a racecourse where conventional makeup is common would expect TGs to probably pass better than TS’s. Wash your hands of transitioners if you like, and cling to those ‘borrowed’ profile pics or at least pick one that reflects your true age, (@Cassandraspeaks).

  3. 6

    Tamzin said,

    Judging by the video clip……This was filmed with TRANNIES full co-operation so basically the Trans community can go and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine as it is it’s own worst enemy……..capish..!

  4. 7

    I think personal attacks are unwarranted here Sophia. Besides I seem to recall a post by our hostess asking that people refrain from such behavior. It’s especially unwarranted since you have no knowledge whatever of my age never mind my appearance. Though I note with interest and some amusement you do not use your own image either. However having visited your blog I can understand why. Sorry Jane but under the circumstances please allow me one shot in retaliation.

    I think your problem Sophia is that which you perceive as transsexual is not in fact transsexual. Again discussions of definition are considered out of bounds here; but definition and demarcation between paradigms are crucial. On one hand to illustrate that there is a difference between TG and TS but on the other to ensure that medical treatment as well as social legislation meets the needs of those affected by either paradigm.

    With regards to “Paddy Power” you got what you asked for but then this is about what YOU all think and not a one of appear to give a tinkers cuss what mainstream society or even large sections of it may think, do you?

    With regard to who “passes” at an event like the “Cheltenham Ladies Day” Think Kim Petras, think Caroline Cossey. Been there myself had a great time.

    • 8

      janefae said,

      discussions of definition are not “out of bounds”…but i mostly won’t participate, since beyond the practical, they don’t really interest me. I think both you and Sophia have a somewhat blunt tone to the way you post that can give offence…but i won’t moderate for that. Though personal attacks might just get a red card.

      jane x

      • 9

        sophia said,

        I’m not that technologically literate, but my photo, taken on a mobile phone about 2 months ago, is on my site and usually appears on my comments.
        Having read your comments on a number of blogs, ranging from Aria Blue,who once had you as one of her few linked blogs,to Leigh’s to sa-et’s to Platine’s to ‘Elizabeth’ etc etc, the overwhelming impression is that you were part of that group who transitioned ‘back in the day’ and was accepted so. Am I wrong ?
        In the last year I’ve met 3 post op women in their twenties, none obviously trans and only one particularly out, who’ve been assaulted in the past 6 months. Would have thought you might have some inkling that such things do happen, but apparently
        you prefer blissful ignorance.

      • 10

        Sophia, I am very aware of such assaults and find it as distressing as you do. There can be no justification of them and the point I was trying to make is that not all publicity is good publicity. Encouraging ads like Paddy Power and campaigns that amount to educating everyone of how to spot one is frankly disastrous. As for Beaumont involving themselves in scripts for such things, well the results speak for themselves.

        Regarding your reference to ariablue etc it’s well documented that I dropped association with those people because I was tired of watching newcomers to the blog quite viciously and unnecessarily attacked. As a result I also deleted all posts and comments from cassandraspeaks However the essays are mostly archived with my friends at TS Si if anyone cares to look.

        Just know I will not be bullied or threatened, I will defend myself as well as my views and I am entitled to hold them.

  5. 11

    Paula TransPanther said,

    Got off to a good start there Cassandra.. calling every trans* woman a transvestite..

    How would you label a woman like myself.. born “girl” with male anatomy?.. a transvestite when wearing which mode of dress? Or do you subscribe more to the Daily Heil view that anything “different” is a freak and should be ridiculed until it eradicates itself from your perfect view of the world. Remind yourself how you were before you became the “totally perfect flawlessly passing” creature you are today why not? I bet you aren’t. I bet I could read you instantly in a crowded room, and then of course it’s up to me if I decide to point and scream “witch”!!

    Bring back the Black and White Minstrel show.. after all, it was all about the music and the “act” was traditional music hall and not offensive in the least was it. Only upset a few whining black people, and they don’t matter do they.

    I’m going to do “cassandraspeaks” (more correctly probably charliegrunts) a favour and ask my sisters here who read Janes blogs regularly for any nice juicy failing about that particular species which it might not like being public domain, and then I’m going to stand it up and use it as loudly and often as I can in an attempt to get it to eradicate itself from my “perfect” view of how the world should be.

    Beautiful example of ladder pulling by people who think themselves oh so superior to everybody else for some unfathomable reason. “passing” at Cheltenham races?.. big deal…. Passing in Toxteth at 2am.. BIG deal.. get it?

    Don’t fuck with the current frontline direct action campaigners.. unlike Jane the militant wing don’t have to be nice and we don’t have to put up with superior attitudes and ladder pulling from the “professional trannies” either. 😉

    Got your red card Jane?. I’m not going to sit here and be erased and then watch them try to justify it without making a comeback on behalf of all my campaign sisters. With “allies” like this why care about PP and the DM? Some people really need to drag themselves into the 21st century. These 1970’s attitudes don’t cut it any more.

    Quid pro quo..

    • 12

      janefae said,

      er, up to a point, Paula. If it descends into pure abuse, its out.

      Ditto if you post anything that cassandra perceives to be outing of her. That too is absolutely verboten.

      There’s probably a few other no-no’s as well…but we’ll cross those when we come to them. Meanwhile, please keep the tone DOWN.

      jane xx

  6. 13

    Adam said,

    I wonder whether the Paddy Power team are reading this now, thinking “let’s scrap that stallion vs. mare rubbish – time for battle of the trans factions.” Gladiators ready? Contenders ready?

  7. 14

    zoebrain said,

    You know,,, one of the things that really helped me when I was in my early teens was an observation I made about other girls.

    I figured I *couldn’t* be female, even though boys were an alien species. Because the teenage girls I knew were so catty, spiteful, and concerned with superficialities and external appearances.

    But you know what? They grew up. They no longer engaged in that sort of thing as soon as they overcame their own insecurities.

    Many Trans women do not. To become too secure is objectively too dangerous. Some look pretty, others pretty dreadful, but I’m not sure that latter increases the risk – have you truly looked at other women your age? I’m 53, something of a Plain Jane, but would have been the same had I been a standard factory model female instead of very Intersex. Trans, effectively, my UK birth certificate says “boy” anyway.

    Can’t get it changed either, the GRP considers a diagnosis of any Intersex condition as excluding one of Transsexuality according to the WHO’s ICD-10 diagnostic manual, so no GRC for me.

    Whatever. Does it really matter that I’m being treated for “severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant woman”? Does that somehow make me more “real” or “authentic” than a Trans woman? I’m certainly not a “true transsexual”, too biologically female for that. But somewhere between 5 and 6 on Benjamin’s scale, if that helps. I used to look male(mostly). I now look female(mostly). I’m not a very female female though, not into frills and lace, just a black slacks suit with a touch of silver jewelry to set it off.

    There are Intersex women born with masculinised genitalia. Intersex men born with feminised genitalia. Some are OK with that, others desperately want .surgery so their brain and the rest of their bodies match.

    Sound familiar?

    Yes, Virginia, some women do have phalluses. A very few of those have given birth too (most are sterile).

    This argument about sex and gender, TS vs TG is just more of the same cattiness I saw at age 15. Please go look at a good biology textbook on Intersex, and see that you’re talking Ideology, not Biology.

  8. 15

    I’m not going to get drawn into a what amounts to male P******g contests or fictional beauty contests. I made my points. My views remain the same whether they were formed 30 years ago or 30 minutes ago, they are not going to change because the level of abuse descends. I doubt whether you have any information at all that could “out” me. That is the TG way though, out someone they don’t like and that is something I learned 30 years ago.

    Paula, I know less nothing about you so I am not labeling you anything however you seem to feel qualified to label me. Go right ahead what you think of me personally is of no consequence.

    As for your “frontline direct action campaigners” If the best you can manage is “Paddy Power” Five Seeds advert campaigns and legislation that eliminates intersexed people from changing birth documents, as Zoe Brain has pointed out, your making great progress don’t you think?

  9. 16

    Penny said,

    discrimination is discrimination no matter where it comes from, cassandra, and if you didnt want to get drawn into a male p*****g contest then why did you start it?

    it doesnt matter what attributes any individual has, everyone is a human being and your apparent hatred towards some people is not very attractive.

    so get a life and try to focus on something a little more mature and constructive. Its not often I am compelled to say something but what you typed was absolutely disgusting and very ugly.

  10. 17

    Penny said,

    and btw, the story is shocking and I am interested to see what transpires. x

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