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Celebs split over trans protest at Stonewall Awards

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  1. Sarah Brown 7 Nov 2008, 5:13pm

    Who on Earth told Ben Summerskill to expect 400? I doubt it was any of us who were there (and yes, it was cold, but needs must). The most optimistic expectations were about 200.

    His claim that there were only 60 of us is a bit silly too. As Ben will be aware, we sang a little song. This came from lyrics sheets handed out to the protesters. I printed these lyrics sheets – 200 of them. At the end, we had about 50 left. You do the arithmetic, Ben.

  2. Melanie Rhianna Lewis 7 Nov 2008, 5:54pm

    There was at least one protester from Leeds! We were from everywhere. Also several independent head counts put our number as 150 plus. Whatever the number we want to be heard now. We will no longer be ignored.

  3. Sarah Brown 7 Nov 2008, 6:07pm

    This reminds me of the Iraq war protest, when the government were desperately trying to divide the numbers first by 2, and then by 3, to make it look less bad!

  4. Jo Harris 7 Nov 2008, 6:59pm

    I am very disappointed that Ben Summerskill took the opportunity to say something patronising and inaccurate. There were never going to be 400…and there weren’t 60. It’s just cheap. Let’s hope he was misquoted.

    Sue Perkins definitely rocks!

  5. Zoe O'Connell 7 Nov 2008, 7:12pm

    Tempted to send Sue some flowers or chocolate C/O her agent. Anyone know what she likes? :-)

  6. Nobody estimated 400 and there were around 150 there. It goes without saying that Stonewall are going to have to sit up and take notice after this. Either that or Ben Summerskill can just keep digging himself a deeper hole. Either way the trans community will be shown to be in the right on this matter.

  7. Summerskill has no words to describe him apart from FAIL.

  8. Roz Kaveney 7 Nov 2008, 10:39pm

    It is interesting that Amy L. did not feel able to say any of that stirring stuff when she came over and talked to us on the demonstration last night – we really were not so scary that she could not have disagreed with us with impunity…As it is, she took one of the song sheets and skipped away; doubtless all those brave words occurred to her later, over drinks…

    What I would have said to her, had she asked, is that I have watched and participated in the LGBT movement on and off since the early 1970s. That our gains are the gains of the whole movement working together and not of a few elite groups alone. That when elite groups get as concerned with their careers as with their causes the movement is always vulnerable and potentially in trouble. That Stonewall has always had a poor record on areas where trans issues are not separate from the wider community – the big survey on homophobic violence in Angela Mason’s day made no effort to count incidents of transphobic violence and Angela Mason’s reaction when this was pointed out was to get in a huff. That elite groups doing deals in back rooms need to be accountable for those deals, which in turn need not to be secret. Stonewall and Press for Change have both done admirable work – but they have also done some very stupid things down the years and they don’t get to take praise without taking blame.

    Organizations flourish through constant renewal and one of the ways in which organizations renew themselves is by acknowledging mistakes.

  9. theotherhalf 7 Nov 2008, 11:09pm

    I think Stonewall has achieved so much for so many people – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – all of those people have been included in laws they helped to change. I think they do not know they’re born, really.

    —actually that’s not true. Stonewall allowed the Trans community to be stabbed in the back over the Provision of Goods and Services. Included? Stonewall decided we could be ignored and sh*t on.

  10. I hear that Ben Summerskill said we had been sent packing by the Police.

    This is exactly the opposite of what happened. We had thoroughly cordial relations with the Police in no small measure due to Natacha, and she called the demo over with a loud-hailer announcement at 8pm whence many of us adjourned to the pub, along with friends and allies and the occasional health professional *wink*

  11. theotherhalf 8 Nov 2008, 12:16am

    ‘I hear that Ben Summerskill said we had been sent packing by the Police’

    –well he’s a member of the establishment isn’t he? He can’t handle that not everyone agrees with him, his type censor anything that’s not 100% on message.

  12. Sarah Brown 8 Nov 2008, 1:01am

    This isn’t the first time that Ben has shown some confusion over the relationship between Stonewall, trans people and the police.

  13. Ben Summerskill, Julie Bindel and the trans community seriously need to get round a table and thrash this thing out. Even after coming out, I’m ashamed to say I used to be confused by the whole transexual phenonemon, although I accepted it I never understood it (yes I know that sounds bad coming from a gay person who should know better).
    But then I saw a documentary on Channel 4 which explained how scientists have backed up trans people with biological studies of brain chemistry and even physical evidence for why they are the way they are (can’t remember the title but I think it might have been ‘Dispatches’). It also included interviews with trans people explaining what how it felt. I found my own parochial attitudes to trans people evolved from “I just don’t get it” to “Ahhh, that’s what it means to be a woman trapped in a man’s body or vice versa”. Sexuality has never been black and white, there are many shapes and forms of transgender identity, many of which are defined in the womb and of all people Ben Summerskill should know that.

  14. Zoe O'Connell 8 Nov 2008, 8:27am

    “Ben Summerskill, Julie Bindel and the trans community seriously need to get round a table and thrash this thing out.”

    Sadly, Stonewall/Ben Summerskill, although willing to talk before today, steadfastly refused to alter their position. We did talk to them quite a lot.

    As for Julie – this was never about her, althouogh she’s tried with some success to alter that. We’re not interested in talking to her because we recognise her views will never change. We don’t want to change the views of an extremist like her, we just want to make the middle ground aware of our plight and not honour extremists from the other side.

  15. Amy Lane says that trans people “don’t know they’re born really”, but if she were to take a closer look at some of the life stories of the trans people involved in Thursday’s protest I’m sure she’d be quite shocked to discover how things haven’t been, and still aren’t, as easy for them as she may think. In the real world, trans people are still very much marginalised – yet tellingly, at the same time, politicians notice us enough to leave us out of a forthcoming, so-called ‘Equality Bill’. We also tend to ‘get it’ from both the political right and the political left – although, they’d be sure to argue, for different reasons(!)

    Stonewall, as it states on its own logo itself, fights for the rights of gay men, lesbians and bi-sexuals. Although, trans people may be included within those definitions, Stonewall noticeably doesn’t include the ‘T-word’.

    Sometimes, some of us trans people get the impression that Stonewall finds us an embarrassment as we do not project the ‘hetero-acceptable’ and ‘gender-normative’ *acceptable* face of gayness. Maybe they wish we’d go back into the closet and hide when the black-suited conventional VIPs come round to visit?

  16. what does one send to the ditor of gay times to say thanks!!!

  17. It is really heartening to read the words of support from honoured celebrities such as Sue Perkins, Joe Galliano and Stella Duffy. And lets not forget our own celebrity, Roz Kaveney – she would be my nomination for an award.

    I am disappointed by Ame Lame’s response. She should know better. After all, she is happy to for performance artists from the trans/queer community to take to her stage at Duckie. Or perhaps she doesn’t realise they are trans or queer?

    I gave Ame the benefit of the doubt when Julie Bindel quoted her in ‘The Great Gender-Neutral Toilet Scandal’ in The Guardian in April of this year. This article really exposed JB’s contradictory logic. On the one hand JB argues that gender does not exist, that ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are cultural constructs and that we should be free to define ourselves outside of this restrictive ‘gender binary’. Okay, but then why did she say in April that the gender-neutral toilets at the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival were wrong? Why dis she say that trans people should use the men’s or women’s toilets if she believes that they are false categories? And why did Ame Lame say (in reference to transgendered people?) that she does not want to encounter men in her loo? Does she think that trannies are going to hide in the cistern and jump out when she squats to pee?

    This is good old scapegoating and prejudice, make no mistake. Check your privilege Julie and Ame. The gay establishment is just as conservative and elitist as the patriarchy ever was.

  18. I see as usual the only thing Ben Summerskill can do counting wise is the huge amounts of money he makes out of the people he supposively supports.

    We also hear from someone on the inside that he was telling people that the police chased us away. Another made up statement by Ben. We had a very good protest, around 140 of us there, the police were smiling. And we decided we had done enough and went off to the pub. So if you really want to hear the truth… never ever ask Ben Summersgill.

  19. I find Amy Lame`s comments very disappointing; Stonewall have indeed done a great deal for the LGB community, but that does not make them immune from criticism. I find her comments actually rather more insulting than the protest that she seemed so offended by.

  20. Abi Chrisopher 8 Nov 2008, 2:51pm

    From Ms Bindels counter punch in the guardian I realise all Bindel really speaks for is Bindel. I mean really calling for a split because she gets some criticism of her views. If it was not published in a serious national newspaper it would be a joke.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/08/lesbianism

    Taxi for Ms Bindel to the Daily Mail a better home for her.

    Ahhh Ben (don’t mention the trans people at pride) Summerskill he cant even sit on the fence on this one!

  21. Its especially nice to know that stonewall does seem to give a toss about disabled people. When a disabled woman with severe mobility problems tried to use a toilet in the V&A she was refused access, she was directed to the nearest macdonalds – over a half mile round trip. Stonewall there for abled bodied homosexuals and stuff anyone else?

  22. The numbers issue isn’t fair at all. Partly because transsexuals are in fact very few in number. A true minority. Which is why it hurts all the more when large powerful organisations like Stonewall don’t see it within their remit to oppose blatant bigotry.
    More trans people than non trans are lesbian, gay and bisexual.
    We need to work together.

    Also, Thanks Sue!!
    You are a very worthy reciepient of an award. A great and clever comedian.

  23. Janice Wilson 9 Nov 2008, 12:35pm

    Ben Summerskill did not have the courage or decency to come and explain his position to the protestors and nobody can answer where the T is on Stonewalls site – everyone else defends LGBT because they respect RIGHTS and are not fat cats milking their sponsors.

    The less said about Ms Bindel the better, but she deserved to e nominated for bigot of the year she is a disgrace to the Guardian.

    And her seven fans ran away not because there was a riot, but because in their hearts they know who is right on this issue.

    Eat drink and be merry, whist we stood out in the cold – Stonewall is a fraud as a rights organisation when it supports bigots and looks down on the trans community.

  24. I found this on the front page of a Tran’s website and the owners made “NO” attempt to take it off the website: When Transgendered People Get Fed Up With Gay Lies, Gay Greed, Gay Deception, Gay Duplicity, Gay Hypocrisy, Gay Elitism, Gay Fraud and – Yes, Because Some Things Indeed Do Never Change – Gay Transphobia.

    I was glad to see a counter demonstration, because it shows the wider “gay” community your true colours!

  25. Stonewall (like THT) has gone mainstream-establishment. Both were established by people of passion and activism, and both have been taken over by “professionals”.

    Stonewall is now in bed with Business, whom it validates while sidelining the trade unions (significant supporters of LGBT), and hobnobs with friendly govt officials and politicians.

  26. Abi Chrisopher 9 Nov 2008, 9:25pm

    “It’s not me. It’s you
    As a lesbian, I no longer want to be lumped in with a list of folk defined by ‘odd’ sexual practices

    It is all a bit of an unholy alliance. We have been put in a room together and told to play nicely. But I for one do not wishindel to be lumped in with an ever-increasing list of folk defined by “odd” sexual habits or characteristics. Shall we just start with A and work our way through the alphabet? A, androgynous, b, bisexual, c, cat-fancying d, devil worshipping. Where will it ever end?

    I just want to be left alone. I am not in your gang, I did not ask to be, so please don’t tell me I am one of yours, and then tell me off for offending your orthodoxy. Let’s have an amicable split, instead of ending up carrying on like The Judean People’s Front. Or is it The People’s Front of Judea?”

    The words of Julie Bindel in yesterdays Guardian now even Stonewall must see she is just a divisive bigot with her attack on the bisexual community.

    I would say the split is her away from the LGBT with her conservative heterosexual dogma a very strange position for a lesbian to take.

  27. I think Stonewall has achieved so much for so many people – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender

    as long as you live in london

  28. As a gay man i totally agree that the GLBT coomunity in the UK is behind in the extent it recognises the rise of the Trans presence. It is not helpful to forgive or accept this attitude.
    2 years ago i argued that the London Lesbian & Gay Film festival must change it’s name to include Bisexual & trangender but was greeted with only derision by a mainly gay voice. My request was seen as causing trouble and being over politcally correct.
    The forgiving of what is essentially prejudice against Trans people is absurd not just because of the bigotry it embodies, but because it assumes to equate the varied life experiences of sexual minorities where research and practice shows that each group face markedly different adaptation challenges with repsect to each condition. To deny the Trans presence is essentially to deny the trans experience, the difference from the gay etc experience which is unique to this condition alone and denial is an impoveration of the over all politcal discourse and a distortion of correct channels of information.
    Ben Summserskille should be called to account for this mistake. It is in effect unforgivable for a man in his position. The least he should do is publically call to account the Stonewall attitude to Trans culture under his leadership and offer reform where it is needed.

  29. Abi Chrisopher 11 Nov 2008, 12:00am

    How can trans people call Ben Summerskill to account as head of stonewall. When he is the government diversity commissioner. He will never bring himself or stonewall to account.

    I emailed Ben this morning asking him and stonewall to issue a press relise stating Julie Bindels lates attack on bisexuals, trans and queer communities is not the estabished view from the community leaders.

    This is his reply

    Thanks for your note, received at 6am this morning. Julie Bindel doesn’t speak for Stonewall – just like the Daily Mirror and Channel 4 and other nominees for Awards – so it’s not really for us to speak on her behalf. Stonewall works on behalf of bi people in GB and trans people in Scotland however, unlike many individuals and organizations, we never pretend to speak for ‘everyone’ within any community.

    So what he is saying is stonewall is willing to support the trans community in Scotland but not England!. I am sure we would have a discrimination case on that one on so many levels not just a trans case.

    And Stonewall will not support its bisexual member from the attacks of a fringe lesbian grouping. Ben is really saying Stonewall speaks for nobody (unless a funding opportunity comes along)

    Whats the point in stonewall again apart from giving Ben Summerskill political influence and probably a Lordship in time.

  30. Gloria Gay 12 Nov 2008, 9:21pm

    Ben Summerskill may be correct in what he says about not representing everyone, but how dare tey take a name that history has decalred something of a “United Event” for all queer people including transgendered people.

    Stonewall is a NEW LABOUR QUANGO.

    Just like the HRC in the USA is a side arm of the democrat party, used as a tool to gather more votes and gain jobs and influence for future government advisors. Funnily enough the HRC and Stonewall have almost identical sponsors and a lot of their initiatives and projects are also very similar in name and nature.

    In the USA the queer/trans activist communities are determined to stop at nothing until they bring down the HRC and hold this fraudulent, almost criminal-like organisation to account. It sounds like the same is true of Stonewall now in the UK.

  31. The trans community need to stop whining and shut the f*ck up … or just do us all a favour, piss off and start a community of their own. I am really sick to death of their inane bleating.

  32. I think its a bit rich Amy Lame saying ‘she does not want to encounter men in her loo!
    If you go to her club , The Vauxhall Tavern on a friday the gay men are always using the womens loo when there toilet is full. Its not surprising she doesnt get many lesbian and trans customers

  33. theotherhalf 15 Nov 2008, 5:32pm

    hey marcus:

    f*ck off you f*cking Genderphobia a*s*hole.

    Go back to your work and take part in the jokes about Queers, beat up a few Queers of a saturday night but just don’t come round my way with your Genderphobic ‘I’m such a straight acting poof’ routine.

  34. Brian Burton 22 Feb 2009, 4:06pm

    Yawn! It’s all so silly, I can’t drum up enough enthusiasum to comment.

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