Answering comments from bigots

So yesterday the Bolton News ran an attack piece against me in which the Labour Party said I was “foul and abusive” because I swore on Twitter when frustrated and upset with HMRC’s inexcusably bugged electronic company tax return form.

Before we go any further, I would like to reiterate that I apologised for any offence caused by that outburst and I deleted the tweets very quickly, to stop anyone being offended by them. I also never received any complaints about the tweets at the time (I still haven’t).

The journalist slipped in a mention to my work with T-Vox, the world’s largest transgender, genderqueer and intersex information site. I founded T-Vox back in 2005 because there was no single resource that gave trans people legal, medical and social information and assistance in a free, clear and safe manner. There is now – we are widely known as “the trans wikipedia” for a reason – and it’s all down to the hard work of the T-Vox volunteer team. I can’t thank them enough for their efforts. Together we have saved thousands of lives in the ten years the site has been running.

Referring to T-Vox and transsexuality in this newspaper article was inappropriate and had nothing to do with the “story” being reported on. It was a simple hack job to stir up the bigots and I although I do try to assume good faith with people, I cannot see a legitimate reason for making this reference in this article; so I have to unfortunately come to the conclusion that it was an attempt to dissuade people from voting for me.

Naturally, it was brought out the bigots in the comments section.  Yes, I know, “don’t read the comments”. Well I did read them – and now I’m going to answer them.

Okay, here we go…

question one

No, OriginalAngryDad, I’m not a “dude”. Even before transition nobody ever referred to me as a “dude”. I was a physicist rather than a surfer. None of the photos of me on the article show me wearing a “frock” either. They show me wearing a suit, which is most definitely not a frock. So zero out of two there, but thanks for playing!

question two

My wife would disagree. Also, I’ve already answered the first part so please see the above response.

This isn’t the last we’ll hear from “westhoughton123” (which sounds a lot like a sockpuppet made specifically for this particular story but we’ll leave questions about who is behind it and why up to you, dear reader).

question three

“PC correctness” doesn’t cut it with me most days either, what with me being a Mac user. Wow “westhoughton123”, we have something in common! 😉

As for “bloke dressed as a female”, please see below:


See that bit that says “Female”? That means my femininity trumps your bigotry.

Now let’s move on to the main thrust of your argument, namely that you wouldn’t want a trans person representing you, regardless of which party they are a member of. Settle in, this response will be longer than the others.

I’ve known I was transsexual since I was five years old. I first sought treatment in 1999, when I was 19 years old. For those keeping score, that’s fourteen years of dealing with a problem so huge that it overshadows every single aspect of your life. It affects everything and it’s so overwhelming that many simply don’t make it out the other side. I’m one of those that did but I’ve known a lot of people – good people, good friends – who did not.

Treatment wasn’t easy back in the nineties. You had to go to your GP, convince them to refer you on for assessment, convince the assessor to refer you on to a gender identity clinic, convince the gender identity clinic to refer you for surgery, then sit out the waiting list for surgery (the record on that was seven years last time I checked).

So, a lot of waiting and if at any point someone decides to say “no”, it’s back to the start to begin the whole process all over again.

In early 2000, I was referred to a gender identity clinic in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The clinic said “no” without even seeing me, because it was being shut down. My GP never told me. It was 2004 before I found out what the delay was.

So, five years of pushing and I was back at square one. I didn’t give up. I started again, this time with assessments in London and Edinburgh, because apparently treatment for transsexuality wasn’t expensive enough already. Thank goodness for Young Person’s Railcards is all I can say.

It was 2006 before I was through the whole process. Seven years of my life spent fighting for treatment, working my way through the various hoops and administrative blocks that were put in my way. I fought long and hard every day and I won. Many don’t.

While I was doing all this, I was setting up T-Vox, completing one degree and starting another, setting up my own business (my third – I started my first when I was just fourteen) and generally making sure that life did not pass me by while I was dealing with this lifelong condition.

During all this I was attacked on an almost daily basis by bigots. Not just online bigots like you “westhoughton123” but also by people in the street who would throw insults – and sometimes fists – because they hated trans people. That never put me off. Violence and bigotry just makes me press on harder. It makes me more determined to win.

You say you don’t want a trans person representing you but you are overlooking one very important thing: I have a proven track record of overcoming monumental obstructions and beating the odds to achieve what I know is right. I can do that for you and all the other residents of Westhoughton North and Chew Moor – as demonstrated by how T-Vox, which I founded, has saved thousands of lives.

You say you don’t want a trans person representing you but let’s face it, being trans has made me exactly the kind of person you need representing you. You need someone who won’t give up no matter what the difficulties are. I am that person.

Okay, long answer over. Let’s end this with the final bigot post. Don’t worry, it’s a quick one.

question four

As I recall, the cartoons you are referencing here were “He-Man” and “She-Ra”. I always preferred “She-Ra”. It had better animation and a more competent villain (Hordak had actually managed to take over the world, a feat Skeletor never achieved). There was a crossover story between the two but it was called “The Secret of the Sword” (yes, I am a colossal nerd. How did you guess?!) not “She-man”, “hilarious” as that might seem to you.

Okay, that’s enough dealing with the comments. Time for more campaigning. This election won’t fight itself, after all! 😉