Bearded bloke walks into a bar. Says to the barman, “I’ll have a bottle of that new beer, please, the Pink IPA.”

“Sorry, sir,” says the barman, “this beer is for women only.”

“Well, actually,” says the customer, “I am a woman. It’s how I self-identify.”

“Very well, madam,” says the barman, “a wise choice of gender, if I may say so, and of ale. The lady’s IPA is on special offer at £1 less than the gentlemen’s IPA.”

“To be honest,” says the customer, “that’s why I became a woman. Cheers!”

No, this isn’t a joke. Apart from a bit of editing to bring out the comical side, it is a conversation that actually took place in a bar in Cardiff, where customer Thomas Bower was told by the bar staff that a pink-labelled bottled beer called Pink IPA was only for women drinkers as it had been launched to highlight the gender pay gap. Punk IPA, a comparable bottled beer from the same brewery and available to men, was priced at £1 more.

Bower, who has a beard, felt forced to self-identify as a woman so that he would be allowed to buy a bottle of the less costly brew. He subsequently sued Brewdog brewery for sex discrimination and won £1,000 damages, which he donated to charities helping both sexes.

So what’s the moral of the story? Clearly, we learn that Mr/Ms Bower is a resourceful gentleman/lady, but it occurred to me that we kind folk might be able to harness Bower Power for our own ends (new readers might want to check out my September 2015 blog After the Ball and After the Fall for the origins of “kindness”).

We should self-identify as children! Children’s fares for travel and half-price entry for any number of shows and events would only be the beginning. We could join the Scouts or the Guides, the Cubs or the Brownies; we could sue any parents for discrimination if they refused to let us join their kids’ summer camps and slumber parties. Children’s playgrounds, schools, bathroom facilities, no problem!

This very idea was actually put forward a couple of years ago, supposedly by a group of activists going by the name Clovergender. It turned out to be fake news, exposed as such by the excellent Bernie Najarian. However, the hoaxers may have been inspired by another case, one which looks convincingly real to me.

Perhaps you remember seeing it in the news. Paul Wolscht, a father of seven in his fifties, left his family to live as a six-year-old girl named Stefonknee – pronounced Stephanie and packing a pun with the “on knee” bit. She went to live with an adoptive “mommy and daddy”, spending her time playing with dolls and the couple’s young grandchildren.

This all came after his wife, Maria, decided she was not going to put up with his age and gender cross-dressing (think artist Grayson Perry’s little girl alter ego Claire). But get this: the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto proved far more accepting. According to a report in the Daily Mail, “much of the congregation is made up of LGBT members who have formed a special support group just for her”.

It could of course be argued that “Stefonknee” is perfectly genuine and not just gaming the system. But what about the great Canadian trans-waxing controversy? Brendan O’Neill, in Spiked, described a series of cases brought by one supposedly trans man:

A born male who identifies as female, and whose male genitalia are still intact, is suing female-only waxers on the basis that their refusal to wax his bollocks – sorry, her bollocks – is an act of discrimination. Yes, this person believes that because he identifies as female he should therefore have access to every female service, including the most intimate female services. Any female beautician who refuses to tend to his testicles is being ‘transphobic’, apparently, because they are denying his womanhood. Even though he has a penis. And testicles. And is a man. That’s hate speech, I know.

This is the case of Jessica Yaniv, born Jonathan Yaniv, who has filed complaints against more than a dozen female waxers with the Human Rights Council (HRC) in British Columbia. Yaniv claims that the women’s refusal to give him a Brazilian – that is, to handle his penis and testicles and to remove his pubic hair, activities these women did not want to carry out – is discrimination.

As if all this were not pushy enough, an article in Quillette said evidence had been put to the tribunal that “Jessica” had posted online asking for advice on how to approach a naked 10-year-old girl to ask for a tampon, and whether it might be appropriate to enter a bathroom stall with a 10-year-old to show her how to put a tampon in. “She” claimed “her” account had been hacked, and withdrew the case (but her many other cases are still going forward). Hacked or not, at a time when radical trans persons, especially trans women (i.e. natal men) are aggressively pushing the envelope ever further and faster, often getting away with it thanks to the backing of a huge feminist movement and a framework of human rights law, it seems entirely possible that crafty kinds could self-identify as children on an entirely spurious basis in order to gain intimate access to kids.

Devious dodges of that sort are not, in all seriousness, to be recommended. Nor should the pushiness of a few selfish extremists be used to discredit trans people in general – as the TERFs and alt-right try to.

Exactly how those of us with a sexual orientation towards children and adolescents should identify is more legitimately open to debate. To identify as paedophile is to invite being shunned as worse than a murderer, so we are never going to get P added to the acceptable diversity brought together in the alphabet soup beginning LGBT. I wrote about this in LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM – WTF?, when my emphasis was on the malignantly divisive side of identity politics. Nor are we going to be accepted under the kind label any time soon, because many of us who feel we are kind in the best sense do not accept that sexual intimacy with willing children is unkind. And society is not ready for that.

The news on this front is that research has now been published showing a tendency, at least among “virtuous” folk, to identify as queer. The paper, in the Journal of Homosexuality, is  titled “I’m Not like That, So Am I Gay?” The Use of Queer-Spectrum Identity Labels Among Minor-Attracted People. Author Allyn Walker wrote in the Abstract, “There are now those who object to the use of labels such as “gay” and “queer” by minor-attracted people (MAPs), raising the question, “to whom do queer-spectrum identity labels belong?” I engage with this question using data from my research with 42 MAPs”.

It is a good question, answered broadly in the article by the idea that it is fine for MAPs to use “queer-spectrum” identities, including “queer” itself. It is important to realise,” Walker writes, “that invalid and reductive historical assumptions that gay men were predatory are a mirror image of current assumptions about MAPs” (see cartoon below). The author adds, “Accepting MAPs’ preferences in their uses of queer-spectrum labels would go a long way toward reducing the shame felt by this population, and historically shared by other queer communities.”

Walker, who has just taken up a post as an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, identifies as queer himself (or rather “themself”). They recruited participants for the study largely from b4uact and Virtuous Pedophiles. In order to participate in this study, respondents were required to identify as “being preferentially attracted to minors, and have refrained from any sexual activity with minors since adulthood”.

The article includes a section called “History of association between MAPs and other queer communities”, which gives a useful reminder that gay activists have not always disowned MAPs, and have even sided with law reform. They write that “…multiple gay activist groups, including New York’s Gay Activists Alliance… and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition publicly favored abolishing the age of consent”.

These activist organisations take us back to the 1960s, to the era of Stonewall and its aftermath. Another excellent recent paper digs into the somewhat deeper past to explore connections between homosexual identity and the age to which people are attracted. This is The Age of Attraction: Age, Gender and the History of Modern Male Homosexuality, by Kate Fisher and Jana Funke. The full text of this paper, which is in the journal Gender and History, is free to read online and to download.

Fisher and Funke throw some very useful light onto the role of the scientific study of sex as it developed from the mid-19th century onwards. We find that right from the early days “constructions of male homosexuality were driven by anxieties about interactions between children or adolescents and older men”. Also, “To assuage fears about the violation of youth, homophile sexual scientists keen to present a socially acceptable model of male same-sex relationships rejected affirmative framings of age-differentiated relationships.” So much, one might think, for the “objective” aspect of sexual science! However, we learn that:

…authors who were close to or part of sexual scientific circles, continued to champion age-differentiated attachments, while simultaneously engaging with and participating in sexual scientific debate. Drawing on the claim that childhood sexuality was naturally undifferentiated, writers argued that same-sex attachments in youth were not always opposed to the child’s own desires or interests. They also rejected the idea that age-structured relationships between males were necessarily corruptive. Indeed, they maintained that such relationships could be beneficial to both young people and society as a whole. These arguments resonated with early twentieth-century sexual scientific debates.

This brilliant cartoon (adapted by David Kennerly, with his own text, from another original ) offers offers an admirably concise and hard-hitting (!) take on history.

 

VICTIM CULTURE’S NEVER ENDING STORY

Three and a half long years have passed since February 2016 when Heretic TOC published a blog called V.I.P. fiasco: you heard it here first, which began thus:

So, the sensational allegations of brutal, even murderous “V.I.P. paedophilia” that were hailed as “credible and true” by a top cop in Operation Midland, which was set up to investigate them, have now tacitly been admitted as the ravings of a fantasist by the toppest cop of the lot, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, head of the London Metropolitan Police, writing in the Guardian.

My headline, “you heard it here first”, takes us back even further, to when Heretic TOC ran a number of blogs drawing attention to the folly of giving any credence to the allegations in question. It was always obvious they were never going to stand up to serious investigation. As I said in It’s all been happening out there, in February 2015, the police appeared to be relying on dubious witnesses who would go back time and again to be “raped” by politicians and other VIPs. They had “even attested to the murder of several boys… but we are not told about any bodies being found, nor any names of missing persons who might have been the victims.” Another factor that made me doubt the credibility of these witnesses is that one of them “made similarly lurid allegations against my old friends Charles Napier and Peter Righton, accusing them of callous and sadistic abuse. I am absolutely certain these were outright lies.”

Now, at long last, a lot of the truth about these mad allegations and the even madder credulity shown by the police, has emerged with the trial of fantasist-in-chief Carl Beech, which recently ended with his conviction for perverting the course of justice, resulting in an 18-year prison sentence. Most sensationally, Beech, under cover of the anonymity accorded to “victims”, and known to the public only as “Nick”, had made grievous allegations against a number of public figures, including former prime minister Edward Heath.

The most damaging revelations about the police came just a few days ago, in a story splashed by the Daily Mail, which ran very detailed online coverage amounting to over 6,000 words, plus several videos and well over a dozen photos. For once, unlike the mainstream press coverage of the original allegations, which for the most part had been just as “believe the victim” in tone as the police approach, this latest Mail reporting is well justified.

The story centres on a sensational claim made by senior retired judge Sir Richard Henriques. Giving in-depth reasons for his view, he asserts that leading police officers in the Carl Beech case were themselves engaged in perverting the course of justice. The clear implication is that they were complicit in Beech’s numerous lies and incredibly damaging false allegations. On that basis, logically, they too should be put in the dock and, if convicted, join Beech in prison for a long stretch behind bars.

How often do you hear a judge say such things, not just about one “bent copper” but about several named members of a team, going up to the highest ranks of the force?

The judge’s allegations were made principally on the basis that officers used false evidence to obtain search warrants in the case, wrongly claiming – and knowing the information to be untrue – that “Nick” had been consistent in his story when in fact he had patently and drastically changed it a number of times.

But there is no need for me to go into the details. Heretics, at least here in Britain, will already have seen the headlines on whatever news platforms they use. If they have not already read it, though, I would commend the Mail’s coverage, not least for its inclusion of what Henriques says at length in his own words (Search for a cross-heading with the phrase “Shattering verdict of Sir Richard Henriques”).

I would just point out that the police are by no means the only ones left with egg on their face following Beech’s conviction. Another worth noting is the deputy leader of the Labour Party. James Heartfield, writing in Spiked, under the headline Tom Watson: time’s up for the paedo-finder general, noted that “In 2012, based on his conversations with Beech, Watson said there was ‘clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No. 10’.” Heartfield’s verdict: “This was a complete and utter lie.” What Watson had done was to use his position as an MP, speaking in parliament, to generate a baseless witch-hunt and thereby raise his profile, making a name for himself as a fearless exposer of dark deeds in high places.

There will always be chancers and charlatans like Watson. There will always be dodgy cops. Sometimes, they will come unstuck, as in this case. What should concern us even more, though, is a terrible malaise – victim culture – that allows the excesses of such people to flourish. It is now so deeply entrenched as to seem impervious to criticism. Made institutionally manifest in the UK in the lumbering behemoth that is the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), it is even now, and will be deep into the future, churning out ever more legions of officially authenticated victims to be paraded in the media, where they will be lauded for their “courage” ­– at least until such time as they too are discredited. The latest batch are from Nottinghamshire, where the city and county councils are said to have tolerated child “rape” in care homes and foster care for decades. Frankly, we would be foolish to take a word of it at face value.