Edited to add: check out my new blog at Peakers’ Corner!
It’s been a couple of years since I last felt compelled to add to this blog but that has changed in the fortnight since I was a victim of assault, criminal damage and theft at Speakers’ Corner on Wednesday, 13 September. That corner of Hyde Park is, of course, historically associated with free speech. The irony that I was assaulted for filming a group of people trying hard to close down the free speech of others isn’t lost on many who’ve commented already on the incident. You’ll find a list of blogs and articles at the bottom.
And in case I forget, I’d like to thank every person who has messaged, tweeted, commented and written their support for me. You have helped me to rise above it all and stay sane. Here are three videos showing what happened from different angles.
Readers familiar with this blog may be surprised to discover that the hundreds of people who apparently think I deserved to be beaten up aren’t all homeopaths. The overwhelming majority hate me because I wanted to hear from speakers with a different view on transgenderism. The accusation – which is repeated ad nauseum by trans activists – that if we don’t see things their way, if we are concerned with the implications of the proposed legislative changes on the lives of women and girls, if we criticise any part of trans ideology, then we are responsible for causing mental health problems, suicide attempts or the violence they suffer from other people, is so patently ludicrous that it isn’t really surprising that all they can do is shout, insult, gaslight and abuse. There is simply no danger of their ever making a coherent argument that can be taken half-seriously and, at some level, I think they know this.
For those who don’t know the story, a meeting about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act was due to be held at the New Cross Learning Centre – opposite Goldsmiths University in South East London – that evening but after a bullying campaign (documented here) by people who just can’t bear the thought of anyone saying anything that might hurt their feelings, the Centre cancelled at very short notice.
The bullies celebrated what turned out to be a short-lived victory because a new venue in the centre of London was quickly found and Miranda Yardley – a transsexual who was due to speak at the event and who was the main reason I wanted to go – announced on Twitter that we would meet at Speakers’ Corner at 7pm and proceed to the venue from there. It was fully expected that some of the bullies would turn up and follow us to the venue but at least they wouldn’t be able to get there before us and try to intimidate people going in, as they had planned to do at New Cross, encouraged by a group called Action for Trans Health, London.
By the way, the original line-up of speakers had included Bex Stinson and someone else from Stonewall to present alternative views to those of Miranda and Dr Julia Long but they pulled out and, in spite of protestations that the discussion would be one-sided, nobody volunteered to replace them, so far as I know.
The reason this is worth mentioning is that a lot of people – including, for example, Jack Monroe – seemed to think the meeting was ‘trans exclusionary’ and don’t realise the original idea was to have a public debate that all would be welcome to. It’s the sort of thing we used to do in the days before bullying and intimidation of people with different opinions became normalised and applauded.
Then again, most of the trans activists and their supporters seem to take the view that the issues raised by transgenderism should not be discussed at all.
How are we to understand this other than, ‘We don’t give a shit about anyone but ourselves. Concerned about convicted rapists like Martin Ponting and child murderers like Ian Huntley identifying as women and demanding transfer to women’s prisons? Your concerns don’t matter, only ours do, so shut the fuck up!’?
Believe trans women are not valid people? How likely is it that Miranda believes that? As for being “forced to debate their existence” – what the hell does that even mean? The comment is typical of the kind of hyperbolic claptrap I’ve come to expect from those trans activists who want to silence people rather than engage with our concerns. This, together with their hateful, violent rhetoric, is what distinguishes them from the likes of Miranda Yardley, Rya Jones, Jenn Smith, Rikki Arundel, Blaire White and many other trans folk who are not so high profile, who simply want to be accepted and get on with their lives and who will most likely – through no fault of their own – suffer from the negative image that those campaigning on their behalf seem to rejoice in.
Suffice it to say that, having played her part in encouraging attempts to suppress women’s voices, Jory has said nothing to condemn what happened. I am reminded of a couple of years ago when the so-called ‘femsoc’ at Goldsmiths issued a statement supporting the Islamists at their college in their attempt to no-platform human rights campaigner Maryam Namazie who, unlike these nasty, entitled little brats, is a true feminist who puts the lot of them to shame.
How it started
Anyway, having only developed a strong interest in the issues around gender in the last six months or so, (the straw that broke the camel’s back for me being the horror of seeing the misogyny and hatred generated by trans activists and documented on the terf is a slur website), this was to be the first time I would attend a meeting on the subject and the first time I would meet anybody who’d been campaigning on it.
To cut a long story short, as we were hanging around at Speakers’ Corner waiting to go to the venue, Julia Long decided to entertain us with a song. Someone handed her a megaphone. I got my camera out in readiness to film her. The bullies, some of whom had already been heard to shout “Kill all Terfs” and were now watching from a short distance away, probably thought she was going to make a speech. And, of course, it was imperative that, as someone who dissented from their self-righteous and unsupportable point of view, she should not be heard! Thus, the moment she put the megaphone to her lips, they started to chant, “WHEN THE TERFS ATTACK, WE FIGHT BACK!” over and over as loud as they could.
With respect to Julia, I thought footage of activists behaving like arseholes would be more interesting than her singing. So I turned my camera towards them and started filming as I walked over and stopped a few metres in front of them. Not one of them asked me not to film or raised any objection whatsoever to the fact that I was doing so. On the contrary, as can be seen in the videos linked to above, they boldly faced me and my camera and didn’t seem in the least bit bothered. They couldn’t have known and, I’m sure, wouldn’t have cared just how ridiculous I thought they were for deciding to shout that particular slogan at a group of peaceful women who’d just been hanging out and chatting in a park.
I couldn’t – and still can’t – understand what they perceived to be an “attack”. How is wanting to hold a meeting that – originally, at least – anybody was welcome to attend and voice their opinion at, an “attack”? What universe do these people exist in that they think it is noble and worthy to try to literally drown out other voices by shouting at the top of theirs and to go to such lengths to stop people expressing opinions and ideas rather than engaging with those opinions and ideas and trying to expose them as flawed using reason and evidence?
The attack on me
Still thinking I was filming people who might be civil and brave enough to engage with a straight question, I asked them, “Who is attacking who?” I repeated my question a few times as I filmed but it was a question that proved too taxing for any of them and only served to trigger one self-appointed hero to pull up his hood, make a run at me and try to knock the camera out of my hands to the ground.
Many hours later, I realised this was the same man – currently calling himself ‘Tara Flik Wood‘ aka Tara Wolf aka Tanis Wolf – who had earlier in the day asked on Facebook for the location of our meeting because he wanted to “fuck some terfs up”. A screenshot of this comment now appears in many places online. On this page, the screenshot shows that his comment was ‘loved’ by the Action for Trans Health London group, which is the group I hold primarily responsible for promoting the hatred and stirring up the feelings that led to the assault on me and who, unsurprisingly, archived all incriminating posts as soon as they learned what had transpired and replaced them with a risible statement, which included this sentence:
Oh, please! If it wasn’t male violence, what was it? And the assault on me helps their struggle how, exactly? I posted a question to this effect on their Facebook page but it was swiftly removed. (I don’t know why trans activists seem to find all my questions so difficult.) The last time I looked, their statement had also been archived and replaced with a fabricated story of an assault on one of their supporters after the meeting. This is now being widely shared on Facebook, thereby demonstrating there is no limit to how low they’ll go. Happily, the latest edition of the Sunday Times carries a piece by Joel Goodman entitled Trans group ATH ‘condones punching feminists’, which has been picked up and shared by other national dailies. They don’t seem best pleased and some of their blinkered supporters have complained to IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) about it. Good luck with that.
What happened next
How dismayed must Tara Flik Wood aka Wolf have been to realise that, because my camera was attached to a loop around my wrist, not only had he failed to do what he set out to do when he took that run at me but that I had retrieved my camera and was continuing to film, now trying to get footage specifically of him so I could pass it to the police. (This has been presented as ‘shoving my camera in their faces’, ‘goading’, etc, by imbeciles commenting online. For a real example of goading and getting in someone’s face, look at the guy goading Julia in the second video above.)
From the personal safety aspect of a 60-year-old with osteoporosis and one who has learned to be pretty careful in my everyday life, this was a foolhardy act on my part and one which led to me being physically attacked by at least two of Tara Flik Wood aka Wolf’s mates, both of whom, by the way, were taller than me. But it was an act borne of shock and anger and of a lifetime of challenging bullying, misogyny and bigotry and I had – and still have – no reason to doubt that is exactly what this first strike against me by Tara Flik Wood aka Wolf was, what the subsequent physical assaults by others on me were and what the ongoing online hate expressed against me is. My anger and feelings of aggression from the moment I was attacked were so strong, I’ve since wondered if I’m really a man.
But, seriously, much has been made of the fact that I fought back instead of just meekly handing over my camera. When one of Tara Flik Wood aka Wolf’s partners in crime finally succeeded in wrestling the camera from me, I held on to him to stop him running off with it. When he threw it to the ground and I heard the crack of it breaking, I pulled his hood down to expose his face in the hope someone would get a picture. Contrary to the nonsense being spread online, at no time did I have him in a headlock! He struggled to get away but I held him tightly, he tried kicking and I kicked back. (I just love Magdalen Berns’ description that he seems to think he’s in a mosh pit!) I eventually lost my hold on him when Tara and his mate with the ponytail ran up and started thumping me. I ended up on the ground and they scuttled off like the pathetic cowards they are.
Just blame the victim
The victim-blaming began immediately. After picking myself up from the ground to find my camera had disappeared, I walked over to those activists remaining to demand its return. The sanctimonious twit, who I now know to be Ananya Jaidev, pictured right told me I shouldn’t have been filming without their permission. Seriously! Even some of her companions looked uncomfortable at that one. Later she followed us to the venue and stood outside shrieking at the top of her voice all evening, though as we were on an upper floor, she and her three or four mates failed to have much impact except on their own throats the next day, hopefully.
When I emerged from the building she was still there screeching like a Dalek on speed. For a while, I leaned against a lamppost and watched this raving hypocrite shout ‘shame on you’ and couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. Hate not debate? You got that right, love. Shame on us? For what? Does she have two brain cells to rub together and an iota of human decency? It seems not.
Similarly, this deluded fantasist – the same one who got right in Julia’s face as you can see in the video above – justified the assault on the grounds that ‘young people were committing suicide because of people like me’. I called bullshit and he went into full tantrum mode.
For pity’s sake – they knew absolutely nothing about me. They didn’t know that I’d once made a donation to a trans person’s surgery or that I’d recently sent my best wishes to another having cosmetic work done or that I’d spent a lot of time challenging real transphobes on youtube after the outing of transgendered reality star Zeke Smith on the American TV show Survivor..
As for this nasty little shit who said she was happy I was hit… I would so like a word with her mother – or whoever dragged her up – and who must be mortified.
In contrast, I couldn’t be prouder of my own daughter, a highly accomplished academic and a lesbian feminist. Only a few months ago she had made a comment to me that confirmed her support for certain things trans rights activists are campaigning for that I was beginning to have doubts about. I was hesitant to raise them because I didn’t want to disappoint her and, anyway, I was (and still am) unsure of my own position. After the attack, she was moved to post this on her Facebook page:
The Dudebros celebrate
Indeed, as the news spread, the online celebrations began. Here are a few examples of dozens of tweets I’ve seen. I’ve collected many, many screenshots of hateful tweets and I owe a debt of gratitude to others who do the same. I was going to put them on this site but I’ve decided to post them elsewhere on a separate site I’ve decided to build. Watch this space for a link. (Edited to add: Here it is.) Oh, and by the way, there are also people online who claim that it is “violence” and “bullying” not to pander to the delusion these guys share that they are women. Women in what sense, FFS?
They will be disappointed that injury-wise, I got off surprisingly likely and it occurred to me that the reason my assailants are confused about their gender is that they hit like girls – and I don’t mean girls like Nicola Adams.
Edited to add: By the way, I don’t know exactly why but Ada Cable, who is one of the dudebros I’ve honoured by including a screenshot of his tweet above, was interviewed by police in connection with the assault on me and I’ve decided to pay homage on a separate page here. Call it revenge.
Joss Prior – pants on fire
The day after the assault on me, a trans activist called Joss Prior got to work on his attempt at damage limitation with a technique I have since learned is called DARVO. Unaware that I had kept screenshots of the comments he refers to, which I have placed online here, he tweeted this blatant lie:
Once video footage of the incident became available he selected a few clips and promoted them with a narrative that I was the one goading the protestors rather than the other way around and that I basically provoked a fight with a bunch of young men half my age, got one of them in a headlock, pulled his hair and dog knows what else. This has since been further fictionalised by others who have me lifting him off the ground and tossing him around like a ragdoll, when he’s just a wee munchkin half my size. Love it!
This interpretation is nicely debunked frame by frame here: On Gaslighting and Trans Terrorism
Hilarious though Prior’s “Zapruder” interpretation is, it seems that hundreds of people believe it or are trying desperately hard to believe it or are at least trying to convince other people that it’s true. And while none of these people matter to me and most of them probably don’t matter much to anybody else, I am astonished to find that even people with quite high profiles are going along with it. Guardian columnist, Owen Jones, retweeted it to his over 730k followers. Fortunately for him, he deleted hia retweet before I had time to consult a solicitor. A tweet by rabid anti-feminist Brooke Magnanti to her 45k+ followers suggested she’d swallowed it hook, line and sinker. And she’d pre-emptively blocked me too. What an idiot.
The latest example I’m aware of is this pile of manure from an NUS Officer called Jess Bradley, who also worked for Action for Trans Health, funnily enough.
People who are intelligent, decent and humane don’t like seeing other people behave like this nincompoop called Zack Ford, who is LGBTQ editor of some website and who tweeted this to his 13K+ followers.
But if he hadn’t tweeted it, I wouldn’t have seen all the wonderful responses, which were exactly what I needed a day or so after the attack.
Fortunately, most people who view the footage – including the police – take their blinkers off and engage their brains first.
By the way, my camera was later found with the memory card missing, which I believe is why they fought so hard to get the camera from me. It was quite a good camera but it was a write-off. The Mail on Sunday was the only paper to offer to cover the cost of it in exchange for a few pics and I was delighted at the thought of getting some money from a paper I detest. (By the way, could the very kind person who put a donation into my hand at the meeting after the assault, when I was still in shock, please get in touch so I can return it to you.)
At least the Mail had the decency to get my side of the story before publishing, unlike one Anoosh Chakelian of the New Statesman, who jumped the gun and very quickly put out a worthless piece showing her to be a crap journalist and a bit of a wally. I’m not linking to the piece, which has now changed slightly but I believe the original helped give rise to the widely circulated falsehood that the incident did not get reported to the police. It most certainly did. They arrived at the scene just after my assailants had fled. The whole incident is being investigated and the officer in charge has outlined how the investigation is expected to proceed. And that’s all I’m saying.
I’m not blaming the New Statesman for how the original falsehood got exaggerated or turned into whoppers like this one pictured right but I hope they’ve learned something about the importance of quality over speed in reporting stuff.
The Pink News website, of course, didn’t even try to contact me for my side of the story before publishing a peurile piece attempting to paint Action for Trans Health as an innocent party, while continuing the narrative of me as Superterf, putting blokes half my age in a headlock. How surreal is it that a mere 21 months ago, I commented for the first time on Pink News, beneath an article that reported some unpleasant comments about trans people made by Jeremy Clarkson. My comment was in response to someone who was defending him.
I still stand by what I said in that comment. Although I have seen and now experienced the ugly side of trans activism and the bigotry and sheer dishonesty of trans activists and their allies – including Pink News – it will take more than being physically attacked and virtually pummeled by gutless misogynistic thugs to crush my humanity.
But don’t push it.
Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to Stonewall for their general condemnation of violence, three days after the assault. Unimpressed though many were with it, particularly as one of their officers, Shon Faye, had been busy helping to promote the trans cultist Superterf fantasy, the statement brought more hate and bigotry out of the trans activist closet, (including this disgusting series of tweets by “moth dad” explaining why statements condemning the violence are inappropriate) and all of it helps me in fighting them. Sorry, trans activists, if you’re just too stupid to see why.
Let’s see if my daughter can help you understand. Here’s a response she made to someone on Facebook who’d made a fairly obvious point Tara Flik Wood aka Wolf had failed to grasp when he declared his desire to “fuck some terfs up”.
Edited to add: Here’s a link to a short talk I gave about the incident in York on 8 November 017 We need to talk about the GRA
UPDATE: Tara Wolf has been charged with assault by beating. The trial will take place before a District Judge on 12/13 April 2018.
Blogs and other articles
Miranda has a playlist of relevant videos