Archive for the 'Transphobia' Category

Feeding the troll, part 2

July 17, 2010

this is what a feminist troll looks likeMy old friend Butterflywings – whose attempts at internet trolling I wrote about here – has submitted a couple of comments to my previous post. They have absolutely no relevance to that piece, of course, although in their own little way they’re really quite priceless, so I thought I’d share them here instead: transphobic hate speech of this calibre needs to put into the public domain so everyone can see it.

I’m not going to bother applying the pink sparklehammer of deconstruction to them; they speak for themselves. It is worth noting, though, that these are the words of a cis woman feminist. This, as they say, is what a feminist looks like.

Author : Butterflywings
E-mail :
Fuck you, little child. Your attempts to smear me all over the Internet are hilariously pathetic. You’re the one that hangs out in little cliques of people who agree with you.
Accuse me of trolling? Now I am. No point having a debate with morons, after all.

Author : Butterflywings
E-mail :
You think you’re so great, don’t you? You realise everyone is laughing at you? I could demolish your pathetic attempt to argue against my arguments if I could be bothered, but frankly, posting links that agree with you…isn’t argument. Trannies are a bit thick, aren’t they.

It’s like waking up to find small piles of very smelly cat poo dotted around the place.

Time for some music, I think.


Related post:

Kyrgyzstan: “No penis, no passport”

July 6, 2010

It’s nearly two years since I wrote about the complete erasure of Kyrgyz trans women by Human Rights Watch in their report These Everyday Humiliations: Violence Against Lesbians, Bisexual Women, and Transgender Men in Kyrgyzstan (direct link to 48-page PDF). I emailed the Advocacy Director of HRW’s LGBT Rights Program querying why there was no mention of trans women and was told that:

[HRW] relied on information and contacts, provided by our colleagues from the Kyrgyz LGBT organization Labrys. They could not find trans women who were willing to give testimony.

And yet, if we assume the NHS estimate that 1 in 4,000 people is receiving medical help for gender dysphoria is both reasonably accurate and generally representative (yeah, I know, big assumptions), then for a country with a population of some 5.4 million people (via Wikipedia) it doesn’t take a lot of prodding at a calculator to come up with a guesstimate that there may be around 1350 trans people in the Kyrgyz Republic today.

In addition, we know from the HRW report that there are Kyrgyz trans men and, again drawing on the NHS estimates, the ratio of trans women to trans men is reported to be 5:1. Another quick jab at the calculator would suggest therefore, that there could be around 1125 trans women in Kyrgyzstan.

So where are they? Why don’t they show up in NGO and governmental reports and statistics? Why are Kyrgyz trans women so completely invisible to the world at large?

Perhaps this article at eurasianet offers some clues. As the writer, Dalton Bennett (a freelance journalist based in Bishkek), points out, there are real obstacles to transitioning:

Though, legally, Kyrgyz citizens have the right to change their sexual identification, “there are no mechanisms for implementation of this law. The lack of relevant documents that define this process is a barrier to exercise this right,” says Erik Iriskulbekov, a lawyer at the Adilet Legal Clinic in Bishkek and member of the Ministry of Health’s working group.

Under existing legislation, transgender individuals are required to submit a medical form to their local civil registry certifying them as “transsexuals” in order to change their documents. But the form in question does not exist, activists complain. The process thus leaves their gender ambiguous.

This was confirmed by Anna Kirey, Senior Adviser at Labrys Kyrgyzstan during a telephone interview with HRW researchers in 2007:

Ministry of Health policy allows transgender people in Kyrgyzstan in principle to undergo sex reassignment surgery (SRS), and afterward they may legally change their gender in official identity papers. However, SRS is not now performed in the medical system in Kyrgyzstan—and complete SRS is a condition for legal identity change. A Ministry of Health representative told Labrys in May 2007 that it recognized the need for improved procedures for legal identity change and that it was developing a more streamlined process. In the meantime, transgender men (and women) experience tremendous hardship as a result of having a legal identity in limbo.

And this quote from the eurasianet article only emphasises the seemingly Kafkaesque nature of obtaining parity between one’s core sex identity and legal status:

“One person denied the right to change his documents was told in court, ‘No penis, No passport,’ and the judge struck his gavel. They said this in court!” exclaims Akram Kubanychbek, a member of the Ministry of Health’s working group. Kubanychbek is a transgender man who changed his passport’s gender marker with the help of an inexperienced yet compassionate bureaucrat.

Recent UNHRC recommendations have been accepted by the Kyrgyz government. As yet, they haven’t been implemented; nevertheless Anna Kirey hopes this acceptance will eventually lead to a much greater understanding of the rights of trans and GLB issues:

“It’s unusual for a Central Asian country to accept any [recommended approaches] to sexual orientation,” Kirey says. “I feel the new government is going to give us a lot more space for bringing LGBT issues into a more mainstream human rights agenda.”

I hope that the human rights of the hundreds of invisible trans women will be included in this process of change and that serious efforts will be made to reach out to them; although I don’t think anyone is under any illusion that the much-needed changes in Kyrgyzstan are going to happen overnight. A profound shift is needed in the attitudes of the general population too, and that is going to take time. The question is whether Kyrgyz trans women are able to survive the wait.


Curtsey to Richard for the heads-up


Previous related posts:

Lynne Featherstone on gender identity and human rights

June 5, 2010

Lynne Featherstone (Image via Twitter)I’m beyond disillusioned with party politics in the UK these days, so I approached the website of Lynne Featherstone, “MP for Hornsey and Wood Green since 2005” and now Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities, with distinctly low expectations of her having anything useful to say on the subject of social justice and civil rights for TS/TG people. So it was a bit of a surprise to find her holding forth on her blog with a piece called Gender Identity and Human Rights.

Leaving aside her lack of clarity about whether the Equality Act 2010 will be amended to reflect the views of many in my community and her omission of non binary identified trans people – not to mention the complete erasure of intersex identities (why does that not surprise me?) – at least her message of support for the International Congress on Gender Identity and Human Rights, currently being held in Barcelona) recognises the existence of transphobia, if not its pervasiveness or severity.

The UK Government is totally committed to creating a society that is fair for everyone. We are committed to tackling prejudice and discrimination against transgender people at home and around the world.

The Government wishes the International Congress on Gender Identity and Human Rights every success when considering how to improve the rights of transgender individuals around the world and in tackling transphobia.

We need concerted government action to tear down barriers and help to build a fairer society for transgender people.

It’s a start, I suppose – a small step in the right direction – but quite frankly, it’s nowhere near enough to begin redressing the balance. I only hope that she, along with her boss (the famously homophobic Theresa May) and the rest of the motley crew of lawmakers now running the country will ramp up their efforts and treat this too-often neglected issue with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Because what my community doesn’t need is yet another meaningless PR statement which will be forgotten as soon as it’s been published.

Pope says that the Equality Bill “violates natural law”

February 2, 2010

Just to pick up on a point I made in passing in my previous post, about the Pope’s attack on the (admittedly poor quality) Equality Bill.

The BBC News website has this to say:

The Pope has faced a backlash after urging Catholic bishops in England and Wales to fight the UK’s Equality Bill with “missionary zeal”.

Pope Benedict XVI said the bill – which could end the right of the Church to ban gay [and transsexual] people from senior positions – “violates natural law”.


The Pope told the Catholic bishops of England and Wales gathered in Rome: “Your country is well-known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society.

“Yet, as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”

“In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.”

Peter Tatchell is quoted as saying:

“His ill-informed claim that our equality laws undermine religious freedom suggests that he supports the right of churches to discriminate in accordance with their religious ethos,” he said.

“He seems to be defending discrimination by religious institutions and demanding that they should be above the law.”

And our Prime Minister’s response?

Gordon Brown said he respected the Pope but commenting would be inappropriate.

A stark reminder that those who govern us consider the links between state and religion to be more important than the human rights of the general population.


Previous, related posts:

Special cis lady talks rubbish

October 29, 2009

Cis woman bigot and celebrity transphobic journalist, Julie Bindel, has finally managed to find a publication willing to post her most recent piece of hate speech.

In all honesty, I can’t be bothered even to pick up the famed pink sparklehammer of deconstruction; as far as I’m concerned, she’s one cis woman who truly isn’t worth it, even though (or maybe because) she is a particularly soft target. She holds to an outmoded and discredited ideology and the sooner she fades away, the better. I was in two minds about whether even to write this post because in its small own way it’s giving her the attention she craves.

However, I feel almost duty-bound to report that a cis woman blogger known as steerpikelet has announced her intention to write and publish a response in support of trans people, even though I don’t know any trans people who asked her to do this. Anyway, in her own words (and I have to say her use of cissexist/othering portmanteau terms like ‘transpeople’ fills me with foreboding):

For FUCK’S SAKE – Feminist transfail, again.

Okay, THIS calls for a fucking expose. A proper one this time, not a stream of invective. Stats, quotes, reasoned debate, no swearing, the whole works.

I’ve pitched to the Graun and am about to pitch elsewhere for a piece along the lines of ‘why feminists should support transpeople’ and ‘why surgery doesn’t ruin lives’. At the moment, the time I have to write and research this vital piece is very small. So I need all the help you wonderful people can give me to make this as good as possible.

So, please -message me, comment here if you’re comfortable, and tell me what needs to go in this article.


Please, give any help you can and direct people to this post. THANK YOU.

I have a couple of reservations: (1) listening to a cis woman speaking to other cis people on behalf of us is always an uncomfortable reminder of how marginalised and powerless we are, and (2) asking us to, in effect, write the piece for her makes me wonder if she’s really the right person for the job (assuming there’s even a job to be done in the first place).

But hey, if two cis women want to get into a slanging match about such a laughably poor quality piece of journalism, then who am I to spoil their fun? It won’t change a damned thing for the better, and may possibly even make matters worse for us, but as ever, we have no say in the matter.

Anyway. If anyone wants to find out more, the full story (including a link to the hate speech in question) is over at steerpikelet’s LJ which you can read by clicking here.


ETA, Friday 30 October: Y’know, when a cis woman calls a trans woman “dear“, well, let me just say it doesn’t do much to ease my sense of foreboding:

Yes dear

Another facepalm moment brought to you by…

(Screengrab for the record, via)


ETA, Saturday 31 October: My sense of foreboding was tipped over the edge into a state of full-on pessimism following the appearance of the following Tweet from Penny Red (the Twitter ID of steerpikelet):

Twitter screengrab

The subsequent exchange between her, @genderbitch, @kasperobscene and I has left me feeling deeply pessimistic about steerpikelet’s proposed article; she seems happy to appease the oppressor and it’s hard to see how her post can be anything other than another platform for the transphobic bigot. Free publicity, another opportunity for a public outpouring of her relentlessly transphobic hate speech – and I don’t know how much more of this I can bear…


Further ETA, Saturday 31 October: Selected quotes from the original article:

  • “Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease.”
  • “the Gender Recognition Act […] will have a profoundly negative effect on the human rights of women and children.”
  • “a girl who plays football is trans-sexual.”
  • “I would describe preventing puberty as a modern form of child abuse.”
  • “A trans-sexual ‘woman’ will always be a biological male.”
  • “In a world where equality between men and women was reality, transsexualism would not exist.”
  • “Sex-change surgery is unnecessary mutilation.”
  • “Using human rights laws to normalise trans-sexualism has resulted in a backward step in the feminist campaign for gender equality.”

Well, if it makes any of my cis women haters feel any better, there are times when even I wish I hadn’t been born, too.

EHRC – Trans inequalities reviewed

October 21, 2009

ehrc_logo-176x44The Equality and Human Rights Commmission (EHRC) has published its Research Report 27: Trans Research Review, a review of evidence on the inequalities and high levels of discrimination faced by trans people in Britain. This includes such things as: attitudes towards trans people; housing; education; crime; economic status and employment; health and social care; media, leisure and sport; family life and relationships; community and citizenship.

From the introduction to the Review (link here):

Transphobic harassment

Existing evidence suggests that trans people experience, and are badly affected by, transphobia, in a wide range of forms. This includes bullying and discriminatory treatment in schools, harassment and physical/sexual assault and rejection from families, work colleagues and friends. For example, Morton (2008), found that 62 per cent of respondents had experienced transphobic harassment from strangers in public places who perceived them to be trans. Whittle et al (2007) also found that a majority of respondents had faced harassment in public spaces. They noted that ‘73 per cent of respondents experienced comments, threatening behaviour, physical abuse, verbal abuse or sexual abuse while in public spaces.’ Tackling transphobia must be a priority.

Data on trans population

No major Government or administrative surveys have collected data by including a question where trans people can choose to identify themselves. Publicly collected data on trans people is virtually non-existent, though there is some evidence on attitudes towards trans people, for example in the 2006 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 50 per cent of people said they would be unhappy if a close relative formed a relationship with a transsexual person (Bromley et al, 2007) and in the Commission’s Who Do You See? attitudinal survey in Wales, the figure was 47 per cent (EHRC, 2008).

At present, there is no official estimate of the trans population. The England/Wales Census and Scottish Census have not asked if people identify as trans and do not plan to include such a question in 2010. GIRES, in their Home Office funded study estimate the number of trans people in the UK to be between 300,000 – 500,000, defined as ‘..a large reservoir of transgender people who experience some degree of gender variance’ (Reed et al 2009) (2)

The absence of public data raises significant concerns for populating the Equalities Measurement Framework, in order to map the changing face of inequality for trans people.

The download page for the report can be found by clicking here; despite my reservations about the EHRC (particularly with regard to their seemingly uncritical support for the distinctly trans unfriendly Equalities Bill) this is nevertheless a significant document which anyone with an interest in the inequalities faced by trans people would do well to study.


Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia and The F-Word

Feminism in London workshop: follow-up

October 10, 2009

FiL09-161x162In my earlier response to Lucy’s comments (links here and here) on my posts “Cis Feminism in London 09” and “Reclaim The Night (For Cis Women Only) and the London Cis Feminist Network”, I said that I wanted to write a little more on the subject, and that’s what I’m trying to do in this post.

Additionally, I would recommend that anyone interested in following this thread also reads Laura’s post, Feminism in London workshop, at The F-Word blog.

Before I start, I want to make my own clarification. The views and opinions I express here are mine alone: I do not claim to be representative of transsexual women. Neither is it my intent to invisibilise, marginalise or silence the voices of other transsexual women.


Late on Friday afternoon, the organisers of the Feminism In London event updated their website with the following information:

On the website’s home page:

This event is trans-inclusive and transwomen are welcome in the one workshop that is women-only. The Feminism in London organising group would like to apologise for not making this clear from the beginning.

On the workshops schedule page:

This workshop is for women (including transwomen) only.

Whilst I consider this to be a positive outcome overall and I welcome the clarification, there are a few points I’d like to make.

  1. The whole situation need never have arisen in the first place. The term “women-only” is cissexist, and has been since it was first coined by cis women feminists. That a supposedly progressive and egalitarian movement continues to use it makes it clear that the overwhelming majority of its members have simply not checked their cis privilege.

    Had the original publicity material (and let’s remember that it was only the website that was changed, not any posters/flyers, etc) been clear from the outset that the entire event was open to all self-identified women (for want of another clearly inclusive term), then the risk of misinterpretation could have been eliminated.

  2. I wonder if there would have been any clarification at all from Feminism In London if a member of the FIL organising committee hadn’t seen Laura’s post at TFW (the situation only began to turn after the comment initiated further discussion between the organiser and TFW bloggers).

    And I know this will make me (even more) unpopular in some people’s eyes, but I cannot understate the contribution my TFW co-bloggers made to precipitating FIL’s clarification. The positive outcome is, I believe, due entirely to their input. As well as being my co-bloggers and my friends, I’m more than happy to call them my allies.

  3. I’m not comfortable with the term “transwomen”. It carries its own meanings of objectification and othering and I would have preferred to see trans used as an adjective. We don’t refer to (for example) Lesbianwomen, or Jewishwomen, or diabeticwomen – so why say transwomen?
  4. The FIL event was still strongly biased against sex workers, and that is another aspect which needs to be addressed.

I realise that to some cis women feminists I still sound like Angry Trans Harpy™ – which I’m not. Well… not completely. I am pissed off that this whole discussion even needed to take place, but perhaps that’s just a measure of how deeply entrenched transphobic views still are within cis women’s feminism. And although I’m glad that the organisers of Feminism In London clarified – albeit only at the eleventh hour – that their event didn’t exclude trans women, I remain sceptical that the London Feminist Network is any less transphobic.

So now this transsexual woman waits to see if the lesson learned by FIL will be applied to next month’s Reclaim The Night march.

Reclaim The Night (For Cis Women Only) and the London Cis Feminist Network

October 5, 2009

RTN cis onlyMy previous post (link here) has drawn me into looking further back along the organisational chain of command, and the results are as depressing and predictable as one might expect; as much for the failure of would-be allies as for the actual transphobia of the organisers.

Reclaim The Night and Feminism in London are both organised by the London Feminist Network and one commonality in all their literature is the use of the trans exclusionary phrase “women only”.

The problem arises because the term is grounded in the use of the long-established trope which states that transsexual women are “not really women” – hence my assertion that the phrase women only is trans exclusionary. The definition is essentialist in meaning as it infers that one can only be “born a woman” (and never “become a woman”, to paraphrase de Beauvoir), and in so doing it denies not only the existence and agency of transsexual women and transsexual men, but also the potential for change itself. Thus women comes to mean cis women, just as surely as women only means cis women only. The biological determinism underpinning this rationale ensures that these definitions become permanent, unquestionable, immutable dogma.

However, it also results in the anomalous situation we now see in the cases of both Feminism In London and Reclaim The Night where transsexual men (“really women”) will be welcomed to these events, at the same time as transsexual women (“really men”) will be excluded. The bias in favour of transsexual men not only makes use of one of the most offensive manifestations of transphobia – ungendering us – but silences and further marginalises transsexual women in the process: it is divisive too. At the same time, it reinforces the male/female binary which, in their next breath, those same cis women feminists will tell you they are committed to destroying – because, they reason, gender isn’t really absolute, determined by one’s genital configuration at birth, it is in fact a completely malleable, socially constructed concept.

LFN cis onlyBut regardless of the contorted and contradictory logic employed by LFN to exclude transsexual women, it’s interesting to note how the cis women feminist organisers then go on to avoid being called on their hidden transphobia by saying nothing explicitly about who is included in, and who is excluded from, the term women only. Their cis women feminist supporters at these events, who blithely go along with this hypocrisy by telling themselves that if transsexual women aren’t explicitly excluded then they must be implicitly included, are therefore not only complicit in the silencing of transsexual women, but their complacency allows the organisers to manipulate and exploit them in pursuit of this hidden transphobic agenda.

Which brings me to the real question: who decided this? How many people were responsible for implementing this trans exclusionary policy – and would they have been successful if the majority not been so apathetic? In a situation like this, saying nothing is no different to actively supporting the bigots. And given that transsexual women are highly unlikely to have access to the decision-making process, it falls to those cis women feminists who call themselves allies to take a stand on our behalf.

No more excuses, my sisters.


Cross-posted at Harlot’s Parlour

Cis Feminism in London 09

October 3, 2009

Feminism in London - it's for cis women onlyNext weekend sees the Feminism in London 09 event. There are various workshops and discussions on a range of subjects: for example, racism and sexism, self-defence and assertiveness training, activism training, etc – and nearly 30 speakers scheduled. Any self-identified woman, whether cis or not, would surely find something of interest there.

But what’s this on the front page of the website?

If you are a woman or a pro-feminist man, come along to join the discussion.

Any trans woman seeing that will surely already hear the alarm bells ringing. It shouldn’t need restating that the word “woman” defaults to meaning “cis woman” and excludes trans women as a consequence. And “pro-feminist man”? I wonder if that includes trans men?

But there’s more. At the bottom of every single page of the website is this little gem of transphobia:

Some workshops may be for women only.

I see. And which workshops might they be, then? Close reading suggests that there is, in fact, only one workshop which is open to cis women only, and it’s the Rape and sexual violence workshop.

Because, as we know, trans women never suffer rape and violence.

Scratch the surface and the same old hidden agenda can be seen. Biological determinism: if you were born male-bodied, you will only ever be male. And its corollary – if you were born female-bodied, you will only ever be female – is the flipside. The thinking, if that’s the word I want, is fundamentally cissexist. The implication is that, irrespective of how we self-identify, to cis people we are always and forever the gender we were assigned at birth. It’s interesting that a self-styled feminist event should choose to implement such an essentialist policy. Whatever happened to the idea that gender is entirely socially constructed? And what happened to the feminism that preached equality for all and an end to oppression and discrimination?

And what all of this means in the context of the event is that a trans man will be welcome at the Rape and sexual violence workshop (because cis women have decided that he’s “really a woman”), but not a trans woman (because cis women have decided that she’s not).

But then I suppose it would be foolish to expect anything else of an event organised by the rabidly transphobic London Feminist Network. The same people who were last seen supporting a transphobic bigot celebrity lifestyle journalist at last year’s Stonewall UK protest, and who are no doubt already gearing up for the annual Reclaim The Night (But Only For Cis Women) march next month.

Frankly, if this is state of feminism in Britain’s biggest city in the 21st century you know what you can do with it.


ETA: Because trans women never suffer sexual violence.
(Via This Is South WalesPDF here)


Cross-posted at Harlot’s Parlour

Asylum seeker wins judicial review against deportation

August 6, 2009

Flag of the Islamic Republic of PakistanI know I should stay away from newspaper articles on trans issues, especially tabloid newspapers, but I’m seeing one story being endlessly re-linked around the web with no comment on its content – content which I find objectionable on several grounds. So I guess I’ll just have to do it myself, she muttered, hefting the pink sparklehammer of deconstruction and casting a jaundiced eye over the offending tabloids.

The reposted link is to a piece which appeared last Friday (31 July) in the Daily Express (link here). I’ve since found another report in the Worthing Herald (slow-loading link here).

The gist of the story concerns a trans man who came to Britain from Pakistan in December 2007, when he claimed asylum. Apparently he came to Britain to undergo his medical transition because, as the man’s solicitor, Toufique Hossain, said: “The claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution as a transgender male if returned to Pakistan”.

In the intervening 21 months between coming to Britain and finally winning his case it seems that not only has his transition been delayed, but he has also been held at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in an all-female unit. I wonder what kind of a field day the tabloids would have had if this had been a cis man held in an all-female detention centre.

I digress. The point is that this is a fairly short news article even though the case itself is notable as the Home Secretary has been made to reconsider a decision to refuse asylum to a trans man. This apparently follows a series of previous decisions to refuse asylum to trans people. In the words of the anonymous asylum seeker’s solicitor, Toufique Hossain:

“The [Home Office’s] acceptance of this case now amounting to a genuine fresh claim is a significant development in the treatment of transgender applicants within the immigration/human rights context.”

You would think there were substantial issues arising from this case that would merit further analysis and discussion. Instead, we have the story picked up by only two tabloid newspapers, each of which displays varying degrees of cissexism and transphobia in its coverage. The Daily Express’ treatment is noticeably more offensive, not least for its insistence on misgendering the asylum seeker from start to finish. As if that wasn’t enough, it then quotes a representative of the clearly reactionary TaxPayers Alliance as saying:

“This is yet another example of the myriad of ways in which people can gain free access to taxpayers’ money and residency. While it is right that we are a safe haven for those in fear for their life, the definition of what qualifies for asylum has gone too far.”

Which smacks as a variation of the very racist trope usually heard as something like “Damn foreigners, coming over here and stealing our jobs”. It’s a frankly ludicrous assertion in the light of Judge Mark Ockelton’s comment that he had “real difficulty” in understanding why the Home Office persisted in defending its decision despite the “strong evidence” in the asylum seeker’s favour. Toufique Hossain again, demolishing in one sentence the outraged whining of the political-correctness-gone-mad brigade:

“It is unfortunate that the Home Secretary only reached this decision with the assistance of the High Court – significant public funds would have been saved if an earlier and sensible decision was made.”

But perhaps the award for the most subliminally racist, Islamophobic and scaremongering quote should go to the Worthing Herald for this toxic little paragraph:

Human rights lawyers believe the case could set a precedent for other transgender applicants from Muslim countries who say they fear ill-treatment because their condition is not understood in the Islamic world.

It first tries to give itself objectivity by referring to (unspecified) human rights lawyers, before playing on the racist and xenophobic fears of middle England. The idea that every trans man in Pakistan will now be on the next plane over because of Britain’s “completely lax immigration policy” defies belief. And where is “the Islamic world”, anyway? You’d think it was on another planet and its inhabitants had to hop aboard a flying saucer to come here with their apparently single-minded aim of “squandering taxpayers’ money”. Never mind that the outcome of this case makes it clear that they’d actually have solid, legitimate health reasons for doing so. And meanwhile, how many Brits are heading abroad as so-called “medical tourists”? I’m not seeing much of an outcry about that from these journalists.

The tabloid press, pfft.