I have been meaning to cover this discussion for ages. It was hosted by Tortoise Media and had voices from across the “debate”.
You can watch it here:
The host (referee) is a bit nervous about this discussion and recognises that the topic can be very divisive. She also states that she is a Lesbian so has skin in the game.
First introduction goes to Jan Gooding, ex Trustee of Stonewall. Here’s a bit of background on Jan. Main background is in marketing and I did have a wry chuckle at “Brand Reputation Specialist!
It was during Gooding’s time that Stonewall reviewed all their successes, legislatively and looked at their future direction. They had already achieved the repeal of Section 28 and sexual orientation was legal as well as same sex marriage. Seems they needed a new agenda.
Jan did not mention the $100,000 they took from the Arcus Foundation, specifically for them to add the T to their lobbying.
You can learn more about Gooding from her Stonewall review for 2018. #NoDebate
Targeting the Pink Pound.
During Gooding’s time at Stonewall that made many lucrative partnerships and this is one did start to look as if wooing the private sector was a key strategic priority. This is one of Stonewall’s partners; who are salivating at all the £££.
She talks about the history of Stonewall and how it was set up to oppose Section 28 legislation. For readers outside the U.K this was brought in by a conservative govt and banned the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools. Jan is then asked about Stonewall revenue schemes and she makes a couple of interesting comments. Apparently Ben Summerskill of Stonewall was against taking government money but all that changed and the government actively wanted a partnership with Stonewall.
The irony of her next statement was not lost on me given the fact that Stonewall has been misrepresenting the Equality Act consistently and accused of promoting not the law but the law as they would wish it to be. (Source: Akua Reindorf)
Specifically Stonewall set out their aim to undermine the protected characteristic of “sex”; specifically the right to legally protected female only spaces. This is an excerpt from their Vision For Change document.
The presenter then takes a question from an ex volunteer, for Stonewall, in the chat. He describes how he worked in Equality and Diversity but had been put off by the “hard sell” from Stonewall employees exhorting him to join the diversity scheme. He also had grave misgivings about the way Stonewall had embraced “trans” rights in choosing to adopt an extreme version which pushed for “Gender Identity” to be affirmed in all circumstances. Additionally, he also felt Stonewall’s choice to adopt a #NoDebate strategy and refusing to discuss the genuine conflict of rights this raised was a “lethal combination”.
The next commentator (Jonny Best) was again a long term supporter of Stonewall, and a gay man, who took issue with Stonewall’s condemnation of Lesbians who protested Pride in 2018. The group Get The L Out were protesting the Lesbian erasure and the insistence that same sex attraction is inherently transphobic because the women don’t accept trans-identifying males as partners. From his perspective Stonewall is now a Gender Identity Activism organisation who have redefined same sex attraction as problematic and, in so doing, reintroduced a kind of “gay shame”. Asked for a solution he says Stonewall has done so much damage it is now unsalvageable and should disband. Another gay man (Hassan Mandani) concurs and says Stonewall have tried to redefine his same sex attraction as “same gender” attracted thereby erasing the experience of gay men who are same sex attracted.
After those questions, from the gay men, the presenter decides it is a good time to bring Christine Burns into the discussion. Burns is a trans-identified male and founder of a trans lobby group Press for Change, he also advises Stonewall. He explains that Press For Change was set up as a “trans” lobby group determined to establish their rights through strategic litigation. After outlining successive legal victories obtained by Press for Change the presenter then asks why they had not continued on their own? The answer from Burns is that Stonewall operated on a bigger scale and had money. Burns also reveals they had been working with the NHS after 2007 and also the Press Complaints Commission. Burns also reveals he worked closely with Ruth Hunt at the Department of Health. In addition Burns claims that same sex attracted people are discriminated against because of their perceived gender non-conformity and therefore they should work together.
Bev Jackson: Kate Harris
The presenter now brings in Bev Jackson of LGB Alliance. Bev explains that she and others had tried very hard to get Stonewall to engage over many years and it was only in the face of their intransigence that a decision was made to set up a new organisation. Stonewall’s strategy of #NoDebate had left them with no alternative. Bev also explains that people disagree and calling people “bigots” because they disagree is not helpful.
Christine Burns (Again)
After this brief segment Burns interrupts to state that the “nastiness” had only started in 2017 when Theresa May proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Burns had worked on the GRA and claims that many compromises were made to get it passed. The delay, Burns argues, had left a vacuum into which many bad faith actors had entered. 👇(Worth saying, at this point, that significantly more time has been allocated to pro-Stonewall voices at this point).
It is not clear whether this accusation is levelled at the previous speakers but Burns clarifies that he is not talking about people in this conversation but, nevertheless, the people on this call “seem to have the same mindset”. CB also makes it clear that Stonewall are right in their #NoDebate stance because there should be no negotiation about the rights he has enjoyed “quietly and politely” for the last decades. Finally Burn’s recommends reading his book to get educated. This is good advice. You can read an excerpt below about how they strategised to force mixed sex spaces on women; by experimenting on female prisoners.
The presenter seems conscious of the inequity in the time allocates so now brings in Kate Harris.
Kate Harris: LGB Alliance.
Kate says what we were all thinking. “Christine you have been speaking far too much”. 😂. Then she directs a comment to Jan Gooding; pointing out that she and others spent nearly three years trying to get dialogue with herself and Ruth Hunt including a petition signed by 10,000 people. Not going to lie, I had to break off during Kate’s contribution which was deeply moving.
Kate continues to explain that her life being ruined is not as much of a concern as the young people who have been impacted by Stonewall adopting Gender Identity Ideology in its new incarnation.
Kate continues to outline to focus of LGB Alliance who are in the business of telling the truth and having fact based dialogue and telling Lesbians you do not have to cut off your breasts and pretend you are a boy to be a Lesbian. Kate makes it clear she blames Stonewall for this (so do I) and also for men in women’s sports and for propagating the lies that Gender Identity Ideology is built upon. Finally Kate points out that the fastest growing demographic of supporters of LGB Alliance are “transsexuals”. At the end she asks Benjamin Cohen, of Pink News to stop lying about LGB Alliance. He doesn’t of course because he is in deep. Husband is /was a Trustee of Mermaids.
I don’t know who the next contributor is but he makes an excellent point about organisations that become part of the establishment, eventually, and because they feel they have succeeded in their earlier missions they look for new areas and this is when they can take mis-steps. He refers to the new direction as “mission creep” which has confused lots of natural allies. He also refers to recent homophobic attacks which shows Stonewall still have lots to do on their original mission. He finishes by saying that he hopes the conflict between “trans” people and LGB people can be resolved.
Christine Burns interjects (Again).
He tries to go on but the presenter cuts him off, very politely and brings in a young bisexual who has a boyfriend but has dated women and been publicly harassed for doing so. She explains that she is finding the whole discussion really distressing. She finds the prospect of losing Stonewall scary and references recent draconian, anti-gay legislation in Hungary.
Next up is a straight woman, Ruth Kennedy, who is grateful for the debate and says Stonewall has done great work but is now pushing a version of “trans” rights which is coming into conflict with other protected characteristics and that is a problem and in some contexts, sex matters and it should not be controversial to articulate this. Turns out she is an ex-premier ship Rugby player and is clear that sex matters in sport.
Next up is a woman who is disappointed at the amount of spats and personal point scoring going on. We then move on to the co-founder of Tortoise Media, who are hosting this debate. James Harding makes the point that this event has shown there is a need for this discussion and also how we generally hope a debate ends with consensual agreement but the nature of some debates is this is not always the outcome.
Jonny Best is now invited to share his thoughts about how the LGB could include the T. First of all Stonewall should not compel belief in Gender Identity Theory. He is also critical of Stonewall’s definition of “transphobia” which was a “totalitarian step” because it does demand acceptance of the belief system of “gender identity”. He knows this would not have satisfied many “trans” identified people who find it painful that people are allowed to disbelieve a fundamental belief about your identity. At the same time it was enforcing this ideology which, in his view, was where Stonewall went wrong.
Back to Jan Gooding.
Jan feels some of the accusations levelled at Stonewall misrepresent the organisation. She explains that it is not true they don’t debate and they are in dialogue all the time. That said Stonewall starts from a position of acceptance and here is Jan explaining why there can be #NoDebate
She continues to outline what follows from this premise. We have to accept people are who they say they are, they need to live their lives without shame, with dignity and able to use the loos, alongside people, without insults and without being “misgendered” They need the possibility of playing sport.
She finishes with her belief that the majority of “sensible” people accept Stonewall’s stance and calls “trans” people our siblings in the “queer” community who need to live lives of dignity and respect free from violence. So, basically, has not shifted her stance at all or answered the questions put to her by other people on the call and, in particular, from Kate Harris.
You can support my work here. If you have intended to do it before, now might be a good time since paypal are banning gender critical voices and I have just put my head above the parapet by formally complaining.