The blurby bit
This LGBT BBC screening of rare 1970s BBC footage of Julia Grant and Jan Morris revisits representations by and of two pioneering trans women.
Held at the Cinema MuseumFrom the Eventbrite website
The event was part of a theme to celebrate the BBC’s birthday and to take retrospective look at how ‘trans people’ were treated in programming in the 1970s. For once, the person doing the presentation, Marcus Collins, a real historian, had done proper research into the film archive.
Unfortunately this didn’t extend into researching the background of his guest speaker, Morgan M. Page, of the notorious cotton ceiling workshop fame and also responsible for producing a podcast series about Miriam Rivera, which was extremely selective with the truth. Collins introduced Page citing credentials that he had co-written Framing Agnes and had a trans history book out called Boys Don’t Cry, I’m sure both of those projects meet his normally low standards.
David Pearson, director of the famous A Change of Sex documentary, would also be interviewed and the brother of Julia Grant, the documentary’s subject, was expected, but didn’t come. Roz Kaveney had given apologies for health reasons, although the loathsome Nettie Pollard, previous member of the Gay Liberation Front and fervent supporter of the Paedophile Information Exchange, was in the audience and asked a question during the Q&A session.
Collins told us that the first programme the BBC ever broadcast about male homosexuality was in 1957 and was called the Problem of the Homosexual. Collins noted that the silhouetted figure who was interviewed for that programme, when asked what solution he would seek for his homosexuality, responded he would like to have been a woman. In my opinion this view was probably expressed because ‘sex change surgery’ was already a known form of conversion therapy, and a human interest story popular with the tabloids, with Christine Jorgensen having made news internationally just a few years earlier for the same.
The first programme about transsexualism was broadcast by the BBC in 1966, a Horizon documentary called Sex Change?, you can see a clip of it here and read some information (written post- ‘Trans Tipping Point’) here from the Royal Society of Medicine. According to Collins the documentary focussed on the medical aspects of transition.
The phenomenon was not covered again until the early seventies. In terms of ITV, Alan Whicker made a documentary in 1973 about the gay community in California and some men, who may well have simply been drag queens, were included in that.
The first clip Collins’ showed us was from Open Door, produced by the BBC’s Community Programme Unit, a project nurtured by Sir David Attenborough, then controller of BBC2. Collins described the men featured in the clip as from the ‘Transsexual Liberation Group’.
Interestingly in the clip shown, the leader of the group, Della Aleksander, is clearly confrontational to the other men on the panel, positioning himself as head honcho and ridiculously over-dressed for the occasion. Aleksander says that he rejects the idea that men like him are ‘fairies’ (indeed, he was married) who ‘can’t survive as men’ and we detect a whiff of masochism which underpins the fetish known as autogynephilia.
Sex changers are living in a highly glamourised unreal world. […]
As long as you’re highly made up and camping it up, as the expression has it, that this is what is being a woman is about. Of course, it’s not a bit like that.Della Aleksander on Open Door
‘Of course it’s not,’ the cross dressing men clamour. ‘Why I’ve even gone without make-up,’ says one. Which just proves that these men have always been #braveandstunning
‘Why did you want to become a woman?’ Della Aleksander demands of the others. One says he didn’t want to, but was told he should for his own sanity. Another says he ‘can’t do anything about it’ and ‘society says I’ve got to be either male or female’. The third says he did choose and had always felt feminine.
Aleksander then turns the question to himself and, contriving a Freudian slip – ‘being frank about it’ -, tells us it is ‘a matter choice’ and ‘being a more together person’ but that he didn’t believe it mattered if you were ‘happier’ – clearly contradictory.
I feel transsexualism is really a tip of an iceberg of human sexuality. Every one of us is an intersex. There is no pure male and no pure female. Both of us are pulsating towards a middle ground, this is what life is about. And in fact, in my opinion, the sex act itself is a transsexual act, in which one endeavours to become and to absorb the beloved. In a way we are all transsexuals and a few of here tonight are just typical of that rather extreme form of transsexualism which occurs in society from time to time.Della Aleksander’s closing statement on Open Door
Then the clip ended and the audience clapped, some enthusiastically, others followed, a bit uncertainly it has to be said given the weird schizophrenic note it had ended on.
Malcolm Clark aka @TwisterFilm on Twitter has written two threads about Della Aleksander and the Open Door programme, one thread includes the footage for the above gobsmacking quote here and another on Aleksander’s fascist background here, I highly recommend them if you want to know more.
Discussion with Morgan M. Page on Open Door
Page flanneled from the get-go, closing the distance between the radically different notions of transsexualism and transgenderism. He told us that the clip demonstrated that these men had clearly been in conversation with feminists, something which had not been suggested at all, and that they had clearly been engaging with feminist theory, also not mentioned, quite the opposite in fact, given the mind blowing closing statement we had just seen from Della Aleksander.
Page found it ‘wild’ that they called themselves the ‘Trans Sex Liberation Group’ (contradicted by the earlier information given by Collins, I could find no references for either on Googling) since they were such a ‘conservative’ group. Another contradiction since radical feminism, which he had just said they were well into, was not conservative.
Page admitted that Aleksander had a ‘dubious political past’ and had been described by Roz Kaveney as ‘slightly sinister’, which must really mean ‘fucking evil’ given what a nightmare Aunty is. According to Page, Aleksander had transitioned after getting a psychic reading in 1966, and that he continued to see this medium, who put him in touch with Queen Victoria and a ‘reformed Adolf Hitler’. In other words, he was a complete nutter.
He explained that there had always been a spilt in transgender politics, with one side in favour of all the good stuff, like prison abolition and anti-racism etc, versus the Caitlyn Jenners of the world who were ‘perfectly happy to vote Republican’ and to ‘sell their friends up the river for a little more acceptance’.
Aleksander had apparently also been a member of the Gay Liberation Front’s transvestite, transsexual and drag queen group, whose liberation manifesto was ‘Don’t Call Me Mister, You Fucking Beast’. When that group fell apart, Aleksander created the group ‘which may have only been created for this TV show,’ said Page, which was the only credible-sounding thing he uttered.
Page repeated the claim that Aleksander was in dialogue with the Women’s Liberation Movement and also the Black Power Movement (unlikely given his predilection for white supremacy), and introduced the idea to the audience that lesbians and radical feminists had always been accepting of men in their movement, whilst also claiming it was the moment at which the ‘anti-trans movement’ began. The example he used was of Beth Elliott being attacked during a performance at a festival by the Gutter Dykes. Dr EM has written a series of essays about Beth Elliott, who infiltrated women’s groups through coercion and was a self-described ‘pre-operative transsexual’ who had also been publicly accused of rape. Page claimed that the Gutter Dykes attacked Elliott on stage and tried to beat him and remove him from the stage but was saved by ‘two lesbian feminists comedians’ who got on stage to defend him. I could find nothing publicly available on the internet which corroborated this claim and Dr Em’s essays do not note it.
The trans movement was able to develop during the early 70s due to the opening of clinics to treat gender identity disorder. According to Page, these were secretly funded by Reed Erickson, a trans-identified female and millionaire philanthropist who funded the clinics via a foundation set up in her own name. Erickson was a patient of Dr Harry Benjamin, one of the first doctors to promote transsexualism. Page managed to work in a reference to the ‘the girls’ who had ‘nothing left to lose’ being front and centre of the Stonewall Rebellion and the Compton Cafeteria Riot (the latter event being a pure fiction in my opinion after watching Susan Stryker’s documentary).
To further bump up the enduring intersectional nature of the politics, Page told us that Sylvia Rivera met the Black Panthers. Collins wisely drew the conversation back to Britain and the next clip he was to show.
Collins explained to us that the host of the Talk-In Today programme was the political journalist Robin Day, describing him as a ‘professional bully’ (in fact Day is extremely tactful and polite). Jan (formerly James) Morris appeared on a panel show with him and the journalist Katharine Whitehorn, the then MP Leo Abse, feminist author Eva Figes and the children’s author Catherine Storr (also author of the popular children’s book Polly and the Stupid Wolf) attending with her psychiatrist hat on. The programme was made shortly after Morris had publicly announced his transition and the publication of his memoir Conundrum (Patrick aka @STILLTish did a Twitter thread on the memoir – see here.)
A series of clips of the programme were shown. The first one was with Robin Day asking Morris to give a definition of the word ‘transsexual’, noting that many people didn’t believe it was a true concept. Morris responds that it isn’t his concept and that he doesn’t subscribe to it and that ‘most sexual activities overlap anyway’.
When Day asks him to explain the difference between gender and sex, he responds that he thinks some people have ‘hermaphrodite’ characteristics on the gender side of things, but acknowledges that sex is a set biological trait. Gender is ‘the way you want people to think about you’ and ‘your soul’.
Day is brilliant:
But if you say that gender is not physical at all, why did you need to have a physical operation to deal with your particular problem?Robin Day to Jan/James Morris on Talk-In Today, 1974
Morris weakly tells Day that he had the need to integrate the inside feeling with the outside exterior, so Day quotes Germaine Greer at him and asks if there is any merit in the assertion that surgery and pills make little difference ultimately. ‘I have no answer. What do you expect me to say?’ says Morris faux feebly. Day pushes him again to respond, what difference do drugs and surgery make? Morris is forced to admit that ‘no one has ever changed sex’ describing it as a ‘popular vulgarism’ but that he wanted his body to become, as far as it could become, a female body.
Figes tells Morris she doesn’t believe in gender but rather that these were social stereotypes and that he has a ‘conformist and slightly ridiculous idea’ of what being a woman entails and notes that he had felt the Everest expedition he had covered in 1953 was ‘slightly absurd’ (Morris reported from Base Camp on Sir Edmund Hillary’s groundbreaking ascent). Day presses her to be absolutely specific.
It’s buying nice clothes, and men being nice to you, and you have an idealised view of what it’s like to be an ecstatic young girl, and I assure you it’s not ecstatic at all, and girls also can feel embarrassed and confused about their identity in exactly the same way as young men can.Eva Figes on Morris’s perception of womanhood
Morris responds that he thinks ‘it’s arrogant for anybody to think they know what anybody else feels like’ and that his only concern was to describe what he felt like and what he wanted to feel like.
Day points out that he might be reinforcing the idea that women are the weaker sex and that many women did not want this. Morris responds that people should be free to be whatever type of person they want and if they want to be an ‘old fashioned sort of woman-‘, at which point Figes tries to interrupt, but Morris slaps her down with: ‘Excuse me, can I just speak? Was I going for rather long sentences? It’s part of my background.’
In the next clip, Day very delicately approaches the subject of Morris’s sexual function, kindly advising him he need not answer the question. Morris does decline to answer, asking ‘Would you say that to Catherine Storr?’. ‘Yes, but she hasn’t written a book,’ Day attempts to retort, completely spoken over by the controlled steely voice of Morris. Day then withdraws the question. Owned.
Leo Abse tells Morris that it isn’t an impertinent question, but a relevant one and berates him for getting on his high horse about arrogance, when he himself is arrogant for believing he has become a woman merely for taking off his penis. He points out he had not been socialised as a female nor known the developmental phases of menstruation or pregnancy. Morris has little to say in response.
The journalist Katharine Whitehorn tells Morris that perhaps the reason his experiences are so one dimensional is simply because he had only had a very short period of time living in role and that therefore he had tricked himself into focussing on trivial things, like how taxi drivers address him.
Then Day turns to Catherine Storr, the only medically qualified member of the panel, and asks her if she believes in transsexualism. She says no, but says that she wants to treat Morris as a woman and that he is very believable. Then she says that she doesn’t believe in biological sex and that it won’t be something we know ‘possibly for another hundred years or so’ and that she was open minded about how sex and gender interplayed together.
Discussion with Morgan M. Page on ‘Talk-In Today’
The clip showing ended there, with Collins saying he found the discussion the panel had ‘unsettling’ and did Page feel the same way? Page, in typical transperbole, described it as a ‘firing squad’. The panel were ‘determined to tell [Morris] that she did not exist’. Again, nowhere in the clips did anyone suggest that Morris was not a real person, simply that he was still a man.
Page then told a story about Jan Morris appearing on the Dick Cavett show in the US. Cavett, Page told us, asked Morris such an impertinent question about his sex life, that Morris stormed off the show leaving him five minutes into an hour long live programme. Cavett was left floundering with no back up. Page, laughing at the hilarity of the image he had conjured up, told us Cavett spent the rest of the hour apologising. This archived New York Times article gives a slightly different account though:
The interview is among the best in the Cavett collection. Mr. Cavett is well prepared and genuinely interested in both the subject and the person. And he seems almost relieved, certainly impressed, to be dealing with a guest who refuses to be enticed into irrelevant routines, no matter how well intentioned.From John O’Connor’s review of the Dick Cavett’s interview with Jan Morris – https://www.nytimes.com/1974/05/16/archives/tv-author-on-cavett-show-tells-of-sex-change-jan-morris-is-the-sole.html
Collins said that he thought interviews with ‘trans women’ reached a level of prurience which he couldn’t imagine happening in other circumstances, but what did Page think? Well Page thought that ‘cis’ people were ignorant, although they did understand now if they said something like that now it would them in trouble with their HR department. If he was being generous though he put it down to ‘cis’ people only being able to understand the world in a binary and that anything which threatened that binary caused intense discomfort.
Page also said the 70s was when we saw the birth of ‘anti-trans feminism’, implied that Figes had never read Simone De Beauvoir and then gave the famous misquote: ‘One is not born, but rather becomes a woman’.
Collins asked how the critiques from the programme we had watched compared to that of gender critical feminists today. ‘I think they’re identical,’ said Page and on that we can all merrily agree. Why? Because the nature of sex has never changed and it doesn’t matter how many years pass, we will still return to the fundamental fact that the human sexual reproductive system is a series of developmental phases which begin at conception.
Page said in recent times there had been the Genderquake programme in which they had a line of ‘feminists going on the absolute attack towards trans people’. Here’s a reminder of that programme, in which Germaine Greer, well into her dotage, is grilled as if she were a war criminal:
Page said that there had been an onslaught of anti-trans BBC news coverage, including a WhatsApp group of anti-trans journalists at the BBC (only reported in Pink News and Buzzfeed, both articles note the BBC have 417 trans-identified staff members).
Collins appraised the Talk-In Today’s panel as having not seen Morris as sufficiently feminine (no one said this). Page told us that men going to gender identity disorder clinics at the time would have been required to present with all the accoutrements of femininity but they weren’t allowed to be camp nor perform in drag. No compliance equalled no treatments. The radical change in the transgender community now, said Page, was that they were no longer prepared to ‘put all of that power in the hands of cis medical professionals’.
No one had any questions for Page. He’d intimated everyone just the right amount, I think.
‘A Change of Sex’
About five years after Talk-In Today came the reality documentary series A Change of Sex following the transition of George Roberts into Julia Grant.
As the trailer above confirms, it was originally broadcast over three consecutive nights and there was a follow up series in the 1990s. I won’t say too much about the clips we were shown from the series, since the entire series is available on BBC iPlayer but one included the doctor treating Julia, Dr John Randall, explaining that transsexualism could be present in children, an extended clip of Julia visiting his mother, which felt like it lasted forever given the languorous way it was filmed, and finally Julia getting hauled over hot coals by Dr Randall when he got breast implants without permission.
Discussion with director of ‘A Change of Sex’
David Pearson explained that he had wanted to follow someone going through the medical and surgical process of transition, as he wanted to show the choices and decisions being made in real time. He had obviously put feelers out because one day a friend of Julia Grant’s rang the production office and said that he had wanted to be filmed as he did not feel safe going through the process. Back in those days, very few people in the public sphere knew anything about the transition process, it was a black hole of information, which Pearson wanted to shine a light on. Pearson met up with Julia Grant, who was then still George Roberts, and they got on very well.
During his preliminary research he found that the world of the transsexual was very secretive and perhaps a bit dangerous. None of the men he spoke to wanted to be in the film because they were worried about backlash. Julia had had a very tough childhood, his mother being an alcoholic, and he had had the responsibility of looking after his younger siblings.
Pearson chose to avoid any commentary, leaving the viewer to make up their own mind, and was influenced by the French New Wave film movement. He wanted to allow the people in the film to have their own voices.
Pearson described Randall as a very strange man and that he had originally been a ship’s surgeon. Randall was also reputed to be a transvestite himself and liked to take photographs of his patients which he displayed in his home. Pearson persuaded Randall to be included in the film and didn’t understand why on earth he agreed. (I can think of a very obvious reason; free advertising for his clinical services. It would be interesting to know how much the patient intake went up following broadcast.) Randall did have one condition though, rather a genius one I think, was that he wasn’t to be seen on camera, thereby protecting his own privacy but creating mystique. For Pearson’s part, the off-screen nature of the psychiatrist must have helped the narrative set up of Julia raging against the machine.
In comparison to the two other shows we had looked at A Change in Sex got 9 million viewers, which is a huge number for the time.
On the evening of the first broadcast, he and the film crew went to Julia’s house to watch it together, in part to ensure that Julia wasn’t attacked. The documentary was hailed as groundbreaking and the papers wrote about Julia Grant in terms of bravery. A day or so after the first documentary was aired the BBC received several mail bags full of praise for the documentary, which took weeks to go through, and bar a handful, they were all positive and from all walks of life.
Pearson and Julia developed a long lasting friendship, working again together on the follow up documentary. They had both wanted to do a documentary to look back over 40 years but the BBC turned the idea down, saying there wasn’t enough interest in it. Pearson rightly felt this was an absurd response and had noted since that time the BBC had chosen to make both series publicly available on iPlayer. (For my part, I wonder if Julia’s mental health at that point was too far gone, as I recall seeing him on some youtube clip and finding him completely incoherent, and I suspect the BBC didn’t want to make that film.)
Pearson said that most of Julia’s siblings and mother had been very accepting of his transition and said that he felt ordinary people were more accepting of it in general, than the likes of psychiatrists and professional journalists, like Robin Day. Pearson said he felt the decision to transition wasn’t really a medical or psychological matter, which I guess only leaves spiritual.
The documentary had an influence on the gender identity disorder service that Charing Cross Hospital ran, and several of the student doctors in the film were still there twenty years later. I suppose they might have decided to a be a little less distant and controlling than Dr Randall, but they were still in the mutilation game.
In the last few years of his life, Julia had the opportunity to work with the NHS on transgender policy and also met up with the Charing Cross Hospital gender identity service clinicians to give them advice.
Question and Answer session with Page and Pearson
It began with an anecdote from Nettie Pollard on the notorious Dr Randall. Apparently a former patient had informed Randall that he wanted to apply to university but Randall disagreed and said he didn’t approve of people who sponged off the state (university education could be fully funded at that time). She had also heard that a lot of the men transferred their care to Guys Hospital because Dr Randall would insist on them wearing mini skirts.
Pearson responded that Randall had a very fixed idea of what femininity was. He’d also heard that Randall had a thing for his favourites and such men would be invited to his home for parties. He had been told this by several men. Randall was obsessed with power.
Pollard commented that Randall would weed out men he felt that he didn’t feel were convincing. Pearson agreed and said that what Randall wasn’t used to, was men rebelling against his diktats – Julia was the first to challenge him.
Collins asked a question of Pollard – How were trans women regarded by the lesbian, gay and bi movement in the seventies? Pollard responded that a number of organisations were supportive of them, including Feminists Against Censorship, which she had been a member of, which was co-founded by Roz Kaveney and also had two other trans-identified male members. There were no issues between women and the trans-identified men and there was no problem between the lesbian and straight women, Pollard said. Though she did admit that there was a problem in the women’s group attached to the GLF with the men who had not had surgery yet attending, especially when they were discussing intimate problems, like childhood trauma. Right. However, it wasn’t ‘transphobic in the hideous way things have gone these days,’ said Pollard. Um, okay.
Pollard developed this theory a bit. People were critical of trans people because they were the weakest of the alphabet letters and therefore the easiest to pick off. The LGB would come next. Pollard felt that people were raising child safeguarding concerns for cynical reasons. When Pollard finally finished holding court, Collins thanked her with a deferential nod of the head – ‘Thank you, thank you’.
Someone wanted to know if Dr Randall was mentioned by name in the documentary and Pearson told us that he also wasn’t, which was another of Randall’s stipulations. Clearly it was easy to find out who he was though, since the hospital was named. Pearson had thought about it and felt that not seeing him was more disturbing than if you had actually seen him and I’m inclined to agree. In person he was not an impressive man, short and plump and did not have an enormous presence. Not seeing him forced the viewer to listen to his voice and this had been very powerful. At the time Pearson worried that it might scupper the documentary but ultimately it had turned out to be the film’s strength.
A psychiatrist in the audience said she was ‘astounded by the lack of accountability’ and wanted to know what he thought about psychiatrists in ‘gender-affirming care’. Pearson felt that it wasn’t really a psychological problem but that surgeons wanted a piece of paper from a psychiatrist as a justification for removing body parts. The surgeon who performed Julia’s vaginoplasty went onto have a big career in the field, but as we know from the later documentary series, Julia suffered from complications arising from the surgery.
Pearson also wanted to mention female to male transsexuals, which at the time no one knew existed, and that Stephen Whittle had appeared in the film (more on that later). At the time of the first films there were no protections in law for people who had had a sex change, Whittle went onto change this, Pearson told us.
Someone asked the panel what had happened in recent times to make the BBC less sympathetic to the trans issue? Page told us it was the ‘culture war’ and that two crucial things had lead to this, one being gay marriage and the other being that journalists wanted something else to write about, so when the Trans Tipping Point came along in 2014, that was the next big thing. However, it was also the point at which ‘evangelical Christian groups’ got involved, such as the Heritage Foundation (in fact they describe themselves as a non-partisan think tank which seeks to promote public policy aligned with traditional American values, a search of the word Christian brings up just six articles). Page said that the Heritage Foundation was still fighting against gay marriage. This is sort of true, but since gay marriage is now federal law via a Supreme Court decision that campaign has ended essentially and the thing they are protesting now is the Respect for Marriage Act which could result in the legalisation of polygamy.
Page claimed that he had watched the Heritage Foundation’s video presentations and claimed that they had said that getting rid of trans rights was the link to getting rid of the rest, which was why they focussed their attention on trans people. (That’s when they weren’t still fighting against gay marriage, of course). Page said that trans people are the weakest of the bunch because they ‘don’t have the infrastructure’ (forgetting the HRC, ACLU, Transgender Law Center, GLAAD, National Center for Transgender Equality, The Trevor Project, PFLAG, National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, National LGBTQ Task Force, the Biden Administration, and the US medical establishment – have I missed anyone out?). In particular, Page continued, trans people in North America don’t have access to medical assistance. This had been assuaged by trans people knowing each other and laughing together and most importantly, creating art and culture with each other. Unfortunately on Terf Island this had not been so, because the gender identity clinics had had ‘a stranglehold on trans culture for a long time’. He claimed the doctors, like Dr Randall, strongly discouraged trans people from hanging out with each other. Page started laughing again, just like he had earlier when he came out with the big Dick Cavett whopper, and told us he had seen papers in which two psychiatrists complained about how their patients were hanging out with each other and were scared when they saw that these patients were advocating against their treatments.
Page emphasised that very few trans people had any contact with each other. He told us that the Heritage Foundation had found alliances with Germaine Greer and gender critical feminists. I don’t even think Greer has even been on TV since her Genderquake outing and is more interested in her garden these days, the Heritage Foundation is probably the least thing on her mind.
But the really amazing things which had come out as a result of all the pushback was all the amazing connections the trans community had made with each other and this meant that the infrastructure needed for the fightback was beginning to form.
In wrapping up Page half-joked that Truss might open up a concentration camp for trans people. Pearson wanted to evoke the 1930s and seeking out ‘otherness’. Trans people were an easy target. Collins reflected that the programmes from the 70s showed trans people as individuals and people connected at that level and they weren’t thinking that these people, whether it was Julia Grant or Jan Morris, were representative of a larger community, the problem now was that it had become a political football.
Effective activism and Stephen Whittle
Taking up that last point that Collins made about representing the transsexual as an individual, this was something that Whittle and the Press For Change gang had a knack for and they got a huge amount of ‘sex change’ stories into the tabloids, always with a focus on the individual’s particular circumstances, this way it was more likely to evoke sympathy and perhaps this was something they learned from Pearson’s documentary making.
I recommend people watch the segment with Stephen Whittle (third episode from 31 minutes). In it we learn she has been on testosterone for four years, yet is still ‘slight’ and without a moustache, refers to herself as a ‘TS’ and ‘transsexual’ and that she does not want to pursue surgery as she considers it ‘not worth it’ because of the need to have repeated operations over the course of years (sound familiar?).
The most interesting thing about Stephen Whittle is that she used to babysit Alice Purnell’s children – I guess she must have been a teenager at the time.
… co-founder [of the Beaumont Society] Alice Purnell was a transsexual woman, and one of the trans community’s other founding figures, Stephen Whittle (a trans man, who used to babysit Purnell’s children in Brighton), was very much involved alongside her in the organisation, helping to produce the group’s newsletter in the seventies.From Trans Britain by Christine Burns, page 30
Alice Purnell was the man who co-founded the Beaumont Society, which initially began as a support group for crossdressing/transvestite men and for men who decided to go for the chop, when the notion of transgenderism eventually emerged. If one wonders why Stephen Whittle ended up in Julia’s documentary, or even why Julia ended up in Pearson’s documentary, I would suggest that was it. It also makes Pearson’s stylistic choice to avoid narration more explicable. Ask no questions, tell no lies, as the saying goes.
In stark contrast to Whittle’s relaxed composure on camera, she recently described her experience as ‘terrifying’.
Burns also notes in his book Trans Britain, that the Beaumont Society excluded homosexual men from joining and attributes the following words to Purnell himself that ‘no hint of overt gayness would be tolerated’ (also page 30). This is the same Purnell who presumably identified as a lesbian and pretty much sums up the anti-gay ethos of transgender culture, also evident in the attitude of Aleksander on the Open Doors programme.
In recent times, trans activist after trans activist have been trotted out onto news programmes, presented as brave and stunning individuals, while their associations with political groupings go undisclosed, while gender critical representatives are always tied back to their respective organisation (as it should be).
The other interesting thing from the night was the undue interest the audience had in the odious Dr Randall. These acolytes never think these red flag personalities have anything at all to do with gender identity ideology itself, even though John Money, the man who pioneered hormone and surgical treatment for gender identity disorder, was himself a child sex abuser. The child he ‘transitioned’ experimentally, and sexually abused, committed suicide as an adult. These are not just random coincidences but a feature of the treatment model itself.
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