Outraged at the nomination of the notoriously transphobic Guardian writer Julie Bindel for “Journalist of the Year” award by Stonewall and the silence from established trans campaigning groups, the transsexual and queer communities have come together to stage an unprecedented protest outside the £125-a-head “champagne and canape reception” for the Stonewall awards at the V&A Museum in London on Thursday, 6th November 2008. In what will be a major embarrassment for Stonewall over its controversial nomination, over a hundred people are expected to be attending the protest and will be waiting outside the V&A for the arrival of the guests, including celebrities such as actor Richard Wilson, who is hosting the event and award nominee and Daily Mirror agony aunt Miriam Stoppard.
Under pressure from the community to retract the nomination, Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall labelled any retraction of the nomination an “empty gesture” and nothing more than a “publicity stunt” when speaking to some of the many people who complained to Stonewall. However, beyond vague reassurances added quietly to their web site that the nomination does not endorse all the views of the nominees, Stonewall itself has failed to comment publicly on the issue, further calling into doubt their already shaky credentials as so-called “champions of diversity”.
Speaking out against the nomination, veteran campaigner and journalist Roz Kaveney said “[Bindel] is advocating talking therapies for trans people in a way that almost entirely parallels the advocacy of talking therapies by the Christian right as a way of extirpating all LGBT people. If she does not understand that, as a lesbian, she is a turkey advocating Christmas for turkeys in an adjacent bit of the farmyard, then she is being obtuse; what she is doing is betraying not only the trans community but the entire LGBT community, and it is wrong to honour her for her other work when there is this colossal stain on her career.”
I still maintain that this whole debacle is first and foremost about Stonewall UK and not Ms Bindel, whose role in this is less central than she might like to think.
For me, the real issue remains Stonewall UK’s cynical support for a Z-list celebrity journalist’s ceaseless and violent oppression of an already oppressed minority.
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