To people with a slightly firmer grip on reality

James Kirkup on Greens and Challenors and Terfblockers:

Aimee Challenor was a prominent Green activist. She was the party’s spokesperson on equalities issues and a candidate for the party’s deputy leadership. Aimee Challenor was a Green candidate in the 2017 general election and the 2018 local government elections. In both elections, her election agent was her father, David “Baloo” Challenor.

David Challenor was last month convicted of torturing and raping a ten-year old girl in the attic of the family home. He was charged with those crimes in 2016. So Aimee Challenor was nominated for public office for the Green Party by a man awaiting trial for the most serious sexual offences against a child. (Read more about this here, if you want to.) Aimee Challenor was aware of her father’s arrest at the time she accepted his nomination; at least some Green Party officials knew too.

Questions are being asked, inquiries are being predicted, tweets are being deleted.

Aimee Challenor was an active Green campaigner on transgender issues. As the party’s equalities spokesperson, she was an enthusiastic participant in the debate about changing the law on legal gender, arguing in favour of rules where a person can legally chose their own gender (and gain the relevant legal rights) without external check or verification.

Critics of such a “self-ID” policy say that among the issues it raises are worries about safeguarding and access to girls or vulnerable women. They fear that allowing any man who says “I am a woman” to be treated as a woman could allow unscrupulous men to declare themselves female in order to gain privileged access to female-only spaces or to supervise girls through organisations such as Girl Guides.

To summarise, then, a politician stood for public office knowing her election agent was awaiting trial for the rape and torture of a young girl. The politician also advocated a policy that some people fear could make it easier for sexual predators to get access to girls.

Not only do some people fear the policy of self-declared trans womanhood could make it easier for sexual predators to get access to girls, they also have a very hard time seeing how anyone can promise that would not happen. It’s not just “self-declaration could make it easier for sexual predators to get access to girls,” it’s also “you have not enunciated any way to ensure sexual predators would not get access to girls via self-declaration.”

The Green Party ardently defended Aimee Challenor when all this came out.

All of this focussed some attention, in the Green Party and elsewhere, on those safeguarding questions some people raise about the gender policy Aimee Challenor so enthusiastically promoted.

Some Green Party members suggested that Lucas should listen to the people who asked those questions. Some suggested she should meet A Women’s Place UK (WPUK) a group of (mostly) left-wing women who organise public meetings to discuss gender law. To some transgender activists, WPUK are a hate-group spewing out bigotry. To people with a slightly firmer grip on reality, WPUK are a bunch of ordinary women who talk earnestly about equality law and can’t quite believe that the politicians who are supposed to represent them aren’t doing their jobs and debating this stuff themselves. Sometimes they have biscuits too.

So, credit to Lucas for saying that she would indeed meet WPUK and listen to what they have to say:

I saw that tweet yesterday. I also saw the predictable avalanche of oh noooooooo they are monsters, you mustn’t.

Never mind that Lucas had been an outspoken advocate of trans rights in general, and of Aimee Challenor in particular. Never mind that all she said she would do is meet some people and listen to them. None of that could mitigate her sins against transgenderism. The online mob quickly gathered to ensure Lucas was suitably chastised: she said she’d talk to witches, so she must be a witch! Burn her!

(As is common here, lots of the abuse directed at Lucas came from men keen to tell women what to do, say and think. My favourite reprimand was this one:  “Sincere word of warning Caroline: the people you’re agreeing to have dialogue w/ may appear to be reasonable & well-meaning individuals – couldn’t be more untrue. #WPUK and its associates spread hateful rhetoric, & seek to deny #trans people their existing legal rights. Avoid.” That came from a person using the name Adrian Harrop and claiming to be an NHS doctor; I assume it’s a parody account because the alternative explanation – that an actual real person is so comically stupid and awful – is too troubling to contemplate.)

He’s joking, of course. Adrian Harrop is all too real, and a genuine NHS doctor. He spends a great deal of time verbally abusing feminist women on Twitter.

So then Lucas was added to “Terfblocker” – the one set up by the Challenors themselves. The circle was closed.

12 Responses to “To people with a slightly firmer grip on reality”