Posts tagged violence

Shaken (I): the invisible bobby…

The good news is that i spent last night up in london partying and catching up with friends.

The bad news is Kings Cross station, first thing on a sunday morning: not a policeman in sight; and a bunch of foul-mouthed and drunken youths with little better to do than intimidate, harass and threaten violence.

For the best part of half an hour, that meant me. 😦 Read the rest of this entry »

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Mapping hatred

Is it, i wonder, mapping the spread of hatred throughout the UK?

The idea has appeal, in part because of an ill-begotten past analysing data, particularly geographic data, in part because it feels like it would be healthy to get some measure of what goes on out and about on the UK streets.

But would it be useful? Read the rest of this entry »

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Murder, she wrote? Who cares!

I guess this comes under the heading of nit-picking. And i do know that to be a bad habit, getting me into all sorts of trouble and argument i don’t intend.

But still, some recent posting from Zoe Brain has my fingers twitching and my brain locked on to a subject that i fear may be just a tad over-egged within the UK trans community.

To wit, trans murder. Read the rest of this entry »

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The sickness that lies behind domestic violence

I must be mellowing. Or something. Because listening, close to tears, to today’s Jeremy Vine show I found myself nodding in total agreement with Claire Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need.

She was talking about the horrific beyond words violence, viciousness inflicted by Shane Jenkin on his partner, Tina Nash. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paddy Power: the real bill arrives

So the Paddy Power ad campaign is all just a bit of fun? Just for laughs?

Sadly, the evidence already beginning to come in is just the opposite – and pretty much in line with fears expressed at the supposedly more “alarmist” end of the spectrum. Read the rest of this entry »

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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The damage done

For all those claiming that careless words don’t make much of a difference to anyone, i give you just one small piece of fall-out from the Sun’s New Year welcome to the trans community.

Remember? Its the one about how the MOD are spending a staggering £7,400 over two years out of a budget of £42bn to support individuals seeking to transition.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Violent incitement by the Sun and Taxpayers’ Alliance

Well i Had planned (some hope!) to be taking a break for a fortnight or so…both from professional writing and the blogging sort.

However, today’s outpouring of nastiness in the Sun, aided and abetted by the vile types over at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, draws me out of my temporary retirement. The “story”, such that it is, is that the MOD, over the last year or so, paid some £7, 400 towards “minor surgical procedures relating to gender reassignment”.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Events: Rise National Violence Against Women Conference 2011

Professional by Experience: Survivor Perspectives on Preventing Violence against Women

The first annual Rise Conference is taking place in Brighton on Thursday November 17th 2011.

Join survivors, activists and specialist service providers to explore effective approaches to preventing violence against women and supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence, forced marriage, FGM, prostitution and sexual exploitation.

This violence against women national conference examines pioneering best practice that delivers innovative, cost effective and outcome driven solutions to prevent violence against women, support survivors and challenge perpetrators.

It provides you with the opportunity to hear how to create effective intervention from evidence based approaches developed by those who know what works.

Speakers will include:

Chair: Dr Aisha Gill
Activist in violence against women prevention & Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Caroline Lucas MP
Leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton Pavilion

Professor Liz Kelly
Activist and researcher in violence against women prevention and Co-Chair, End Violence Against Women Coalition

Constance McCullagh
Feminist writer and activist in prevention of violence against women

Bernie O-Roarke
Activist in violence against women prevention and Irish Traveller Outreach Worker, Solas Anois

Fiona Broadfoot
Founder of EXIT and campaigner on the issues of sexual exploitation

Hannana Siddiqui
Activist in violence against women prevention and Joint Co-ordinator, Southall Black Sisters

Rita Buhanda
Campaigner to advance the rights of African women and girls, FORWARD

Davina James-Hanman
Activist in violence against women prevention and Director, AVA Project

Philippa Chapman
Co-ordinator of SEEDS (Services Educating and Empowering Domestic abuse Survivors)

Shelley Stoops
Sexual Violence Advocate, Armistead Street Project, Liverpool

Shannon Harvey
Coordinator, Stella Project to address problematic substance use, domestic and sexual violence

Neil Blacklock

Development director, Respect, the UK association for perpetrator programmes

Nicola Sharp
Activist in violence against women prevention

Medina Johnson and Annie Howell
Implementation Leads for IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety)

Morgan Frackrell
Chief Executive, Cardiff Women’s Aid

For further information or to register, see the Rise site.

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When you gotta pee…

Music hall stuff, huh? Trans women running round the twon centre looking for a loo to pee in. And at first reading, i bet that sounds like the promising set-up to a joke.

Until you think about it. Really think about it.

Because i have had life easy. As have any trans folk in the UK who started to transition in the past two or three years.

Imagine, if you will, a world in which you could not leave the house in the confident knowledge that there would be toilet facilities “out there” that you could make use of without being threatened, either with violence or arrest. Sound grim? Yep. You end up with two, maybe three strategies if you are trans.

1. Don’t go out.
2. Go out and learn to “hold it”.


3. Go out and risk arrest/violence every time you need to pee.

You think i jest? Just this year, a trans woman who used the ladies in Baltimore was assaulted and left unconscious on the floor for her pains. Not that many years back, trans women attempting to use the loo in the UK regularly faced similar threats.

There was the infamous Trafalgar Square incident, in which a trans woman was sexually assaulted after being denied access to the women’s loos. And over the years any number of histories of simialr happening to trans women – and men – who dare to pee in the appropriate space (for them).

It didn’t help that even the police were largely ignorant of the legal position, which seems to be, mostly, post the Equality Act (despite the fears of some critics) that a transgender individual, defined as an individual undergoing or starting to undergo treatment for gender dysphoria, has as close as possible a right to use the facilities appropriate to their identified gender.

Which is not quite what the police told me a couple of years back when, unaware of the legalities of my position, i sought advice. (Basically, they just didn’t know).

Nowadays, and for a long time since, i have quite confidently used the ladies – and had no probs in doing so.

Still, it leaves me with the most enormous respect for those who transitioned in the UK before this simple and – now – obvious legal support was in place. Not that all is plain sailing: there are still places which resist trans attempts to use the loo.

One friend responds to such bars with a simple threat of direct action: tell me where i’m supposed to pee…or i’ll just pee here, now (usually mid-pub). Unreasonable? No. Because being denied that basic right is humiliating, uncomfortable and, at base, a major obstacle to trans folk taking part in community life.

Its also a major reason why i probably won’t be going to the US any time soon. Here’s just the latest in a long list of disgraceful american actions on this front: in this case, a trans woman barred from going to school because she used the “wrong” restroom…

Why? What on earth do they think she might do in there?

No. I am used to how the law works in the UK. Know what i am allowed to do…and am happy that at some time soon i’ll get my gender recognition certificate and henceforth be a woman for all legal purposes.

And i remain horrified by the fact that in places like much of the US, not only would i face violence for the simple fact of needing to pee – but that violence might equally be perpetrated by the police. Too many stories of even post-op trans women being removed from restrooms at gun point. One instance of a trans man being tasered.

Thanks. But no thanks. On the bathroom front, the UK seems to be light years ahead of the states.


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