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‘Maybe this time Starmer will understand covering up criminality is unacceptable’ – Cohen

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 2:07am in

Whistleblower who turned down £150k gagging clause and was ignored by Starmer says she will seek judicial review and take civil action after ‘perverse’ award for wrongful dismissal

Whistleblower Elaina Cohen has said she will seek a judicial review and civil action, after a tribunal judge awarded her only a net sum of £10,423 for being wrongfully dismissed by right-wing Labour MP Khalid Mahmood.

Cohen went public with allegations that Mahmood’s lover, who worked and still works for him, was using a ‘charity’ (now defunct) for domestic violence victims to exploit and abuse vulnerable Muslim victims. She received a total award of £11,729.99, but the tribunal judge reduced the payout under the Employment Protection (Recoupment of Benefits) Regulations 1996.

During the case, one of the victims told the tribunal – in evidence that neither Mahmood nor his legal team tried to challenge – that Mahmood’s staffer:

  • blackmailed domestic violence victims into shoplifting and giving her their social security benefits
  • made victims take speeding points on their licence that they did not incur
  • sadistically abused victims
  • made the chief executive of the charity suicidal by blackmailing her and taunting her
  • targeted the victim on social media
  • revealed details of the charity’s vulnerable ‘service users’ to others
  • used her and other women from the now-defunct charity ‘for the private entertainment of important people’
  • introduced one victim to a male friend who hurt the woman, ‘but she didn’t care’
  • berated two victims for stealing the wrong jacket from a local department store
  • made victims fund meals for local Labour politicians
  • made victims ‘stalk’ Mahmood and report back on him

Cohen repeatedly informed Keir Starmer and Labour general secretary David Evans of what was happening, but the pair took no action, part of a pattern of cover-ups that saw Starmer shelter at least two alleged sex pests on his front bench – and one confirmed sex pest in a senior job – while claiming to be a ‘champion’ of women facing domestic violence.

In an email after the judgment today, copied to the West Midlands Chief Constable and to Labour general secretary Evans, Cohen told employment lawyer Julie-Rose Helling that she was ‘furious’ with the outcome and planning to appeal. to lodge a formal complaint with the judiciary and to legal action against the force and the Labour party:

As you can imagine I am furious at the judgment which I believe was personal  .

I turned down £150k which would have shackled me with an NDA.  

I am appealing the award .

However I also intend to make a formal complaint to the judiciary at the conduct  of Judge Adkin which has been biased towards me from the onset.

I am being advised and considering and likely to now pursue civil action  against the Respondent , West Midlands Police Simon Foster and Sir Keir Starmer.

I will not rest until justice has been served. This was a whistleblowing case of heinous crimes against vulnerable women which has been ignored .

“The police admitted to me that things had been covered up”

However, Cohen subsequently told Skwawkbox that she is planning to seek a full retrial, as well as threatening legal action against the local police that she says confirmed there had been a cover-up:

I will be seeking a full retrial to overturn this judgment which I have been legally told is perverse. The judge had already been found to have concluded that I was not threatened with dismissal for blowing the whistle when it was already in evidence before the tribunal. Maybe this time Keir Starmer will understand that covering up crime is unacceptable – and I don’t believe this is an isolated incident in Birmingham and elsewhere.

I turned down offers of £150,000 and then £110,000 to settle the case because they would have meant signing a non-disclosure agreement. I’m not letting this go.

The police admitted to me that things had been covered up, this is the equivalent of finding Trump innocent of 34 counts. If the West Midlands Police don’t take action, I’m going to start a civil action against them.

Ms Cohen recently resigned from the Labour party in protest at the repeated cover-ups and Starmer’s ‘protection of abusers and racists’.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Exclusive: left-wing Jews’ fury over Jones’ renewed attack on Black Jew Jackie Walker

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/06/2024 - 7:02am in

Anger at Jones’s comments on Turn Left channel as his failures over antisemitism scam resurface

Left-wing Jews have expressed outrage at commentator Owen Jones’s renewed attack on Black Jewish left-winger Jackie Walker. Jones, appearing on the Turn Left YouTube channel, did not name Walker but referred unambiguously to her during the programme, using her as an example pf the ‘small number of people who engage in either antisemitism or antisemitic tropes’ and supposedly ’cause hurt to Jewish people’ by her analysis several years ago of the involvement of Jewish people in the slave trade:

Jones described ‘the idea that there was a role of Jewish people in the slave trade’ as if such a thing was unthinkable or invented, going so far as to call it a ‘false narrative’. But of course there were Jewish people who were involved in the slave trade, just as there were white British and European people and people of other ethnicities involved in the slave trade.

Of her analysis, Walker said:

Jews, like all peoples, are subject to material conditions. Persecution of European Jews led to an exodus  from Europe to the Caribbean. All Caribbean islands were slave economies. There is irrefutable historical evidence that over certain periods, and in some areas of the Caribbean, Jews were significant in the development and maintenance of the Slave, Sugar and Plantation trade. Like over 90% of Jamaicans I have heritage from slave owners and the enslaved.

She also wrote:

Yes, I wrote “many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. These words, taken out of context in the way the media did, of course do not reflect my position. I was writing to someone who knew the context of my comments. Had he felt the need to pick me up on what I had written I would have rephrased – perhaps to “Jews (my ancestors too) were among those who financed the sugar and slave trade and at the particular time/in the particular area I’m talking about they played an important part.” The Facebook post taken by itself doesn’t, and can’t possibly reflect the complexity of Jewish history, of the history of Africa, the history of people of the African diaspora and the hundreds of years of the slave trade. The truth is while many peoples were involved in this pernicious trade it was the rulers of Christian Spain and Portugal that ordered the massacre and expulsion of thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsular who forced Jewish communities to seek refuge in the New World and the Caribbean. It was European and American Christian empires that overwhelmingly profited from the kidnap, enslavement and death of millions of Africans and I’m happy to make explicit and correct here any different impression my Facebook post gave. The shame is, at a time when antisemitism has been weaponised and used against certain sections of the Labour Party, nobody asked me before rushing to pin the racist and antisemitic label on me.”

Jackie Walker, one of the highest-profile victims of the antisemitism witch-hunt – and far from the only Black person – was shamefully treated by Labour and a number of high-profile figures, who scapegoated her either to try to avoid further smears or to reinforce the false ‘Labour antisemitism’ narrative – so much so that even the politically-driven Equalities and Human Rights Commission investigation into the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints was highly critical of treated and then expelled her, though not for antisemitism.

In 2016, when Walker was first suspended, she wrote a response to the smears and the party’s actions. Years later, she received a Freedom of Information Act reply from the party about the discussions around the decision to suspend and then expel her. In correspondence, one party staffer involved in the investigation told another that the complaint against her was the weakest case of supposed antisemitism they had seen.

Owen Jones’s record on the antisemitism smear campaign, as in his support for Jeremy Corbyn at various points, is far from unblemished – nor is it his first attack on Walker. Electronic Intifada‘s Asa Winstanley wrote in a 2022 article titled “How Owen Jones learned to stop worrying and love Zionism”, that Jones:

sabotaged the popular movement that brought the veteran Palestine solidarity campaigner to the brink of power by claiming the Labour Party had an anti-Semitism problem, insisted Corbyn apologize for anti-Semitism that he had not even been guilty of and happily played the role of the Israel lobby’s useful idiot.

Jones relentlessly called for Corbyn’s most high-profile supporters to be thrown out of the party based on confected anti-Semitism allegations – including Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson.

Among Jones’s critics over his latest reinforcement of the smears against Jackie Walker is Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) co-chair Jenny Manson, who described herself as ‘furious’ about Jones’s comments. She told Skwawkbox that she considers the ‘particular animus’ toward a Black Jewish woman to be a sign of Britain’s ‘deeply racist society’:

In our so called liberal society, Black people are shut up when they talk about their own experience of oppression. Take Starmer’s treatment of Diane Abbott and take Owen on Jackie. To me this is cruel, contemptuous and arguably racist.

I would guess that most of Jackie’s critics will support Faiza Shaheen. So what does that say about the particular animus towards Jackie. Is it, as I once heard the lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie say, that West Indian Black people are at the bottom of the pecking order? And the women at the very bottom?

We are a deeply racist society.

Owen Jones was contacted for comment and was provided with Jenny Manson’s comment in full, but had not responded by the deadline for publication.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

US took part in raid that murdered 210+ Palestinians in Nuseirat, used ‘aid’ jetty

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 09/06/2024 - 4:31am in

Israelis disguised trucks as aid delivery vehicles before killing hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli captives, to free just four. Biden silent on Palestinian victims as he praises Israel, but Israeli families slam Netanyahu

Israeli occupation troops were directly aided and abetted by US forces as they hid inside a fake ‘aid truck’ to launch the raid on Nuseirat refugee camp that killed hundreds of Palestinians. US troops used the US-built supposed ‘aid’ jetty to provide support for the raid.

The Israelis also killed several of their own citizens in the assault and managed to free only four – who would certainly have been killed before they were ‘rescued’ if the Palestinians were interested in killing them. The Israelis paraded in front of the cameras appeared well fed and cared-for, in a territory where two million people are in famine.

Al Jazeera reporter Anas Al-Sharif posted video of an aid truck used by Israeli forces in the assault, which killed well over two hundred Palestinians and wounded more than four hundred. Al-Sharif said:

Israeli occupation forces infiltrated the Nuseirat refugee camp today in trucks disguised as humanitarian aid.

All the captives, including those killed by their own side during the ‘rescue’ – adding to the ‘immense’ number already admitted by the Israeli military (but ignored by the UK media) – could have been free in days if Israel agreed a proper ceasefire and prisoner swap. Thousands of Palestinian civilians remain in brutal captivity and at least 45,000 civilians – and as many as 100,000 according to some sources – have been slaughtered during Israel’s genocide, with twice as many maimed, mostly women and children.

US president Joe Biden congratulated Israel on the four freed. His speech did not mention the murdered Palestinians. Israeli families of captives, however, slammed Benjamin Netanyahu for ignoring them but rushing for a photo opportunity with the handful freed.

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Mexico’s First Woman President Is Not a Fluke

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 11:58pm in

Mexico has just elected its first woman president, the result of well-designed women-friendly policy. ...

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Independent candidates stand aside to give McIntyre a clear run at Phillips

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 7:46pm in

Pro-Palestine equality activist aims to unseat Jess Phillips in Birmingham Yardley. The task just got simpler

Jody McIntyre left and Labour’s Jess Phillips (left in group photo) who has denied being a member of LFI but has been repeatedly listed as a supporter

All independent candidates in the Birmingham Yardley constituency have agreed to step down to allow WPGB candidate Jody McIntyre a clear run in his bid to oust Labour right-winger Jess Phillips in the general election. McIntyre, a pro-Palestine and equality activist who became a Muslim, announced the news on his social media, saying:

All other independent candidates have agreed to stand down in Birmingham Yardley for the sake of a united campaign to unseat Labour Friend of Israel Jess Phillips. Our chances of causing the political shock of the century have just received a huge boost, but we need more volunteers if we want to win. Contact jodyforyardley@gmail.com and join us on the streets. This is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Phillips has recently been more vocal about Palestine and has denied being a ‘member’ of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). But as she has admitted, LFI does not have parliamentary members, but rather ‘supporters’. Phillips claims she was listed as a supporter ‘on a Wikipedia list from 2022’ because she “supported their calls for 2 state solution in 2016”. LFI took down its published list of supporters

However, numerous articles – including from the strongly pro-Israel Jewish Chronicle – have named her as a supporter of the group, a fact that will not help her campaign in a seat with a large Muslim population and many others outraged by Israel’s genocide in Gaza:

An extract from a Jewish Chronicle article titled “MPs flock to support Labour Israel group”. The article is undated but from the Corbyn leadership period

Phillips voted, against Keir Starmer’s orders, for a ceasefire last November in what many saw as a move to try to protect herself from local Muslim anger. However, her issues with the Muslim community are not limited to Palestine. She has been heavily criticised for accusing Muslim families of ‘importing’ wives from Pakistan for their ‘disabled sons’.

The Guardian, November 2023

McIntyre, who became well-known after police dragged him away in his wheelchair during a Palestine protest, is one of a group of candidates supported by the ‘Ordinary Left’ grassroots group and others. His formal campaign launch takes place on Saturday but he and his supporters have already been hitting the streets hard.

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Breaking: Spain joins South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 6:43pm in

Pedro Sánchez, right, and Benjamin Netanyahu

Spain has announced this morning that it has joined South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. Israel’s far-right government and its mouthpieces reacted with fury last month when Spain, along with Ireland and Norway, recognised Palestinian statehood – this latest news will no doubt trigger another wave of smears in defence of Israel’s slaughter of as many as 100,000 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, which the UK government and opposition continue to abet.

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Israel has dropped over 75,000 TONS of bombs on tiny Gaza since 7 October

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 8:40am in

More than the total dropped on Dresden, Hamburg and London combined during the whole of WWII

A rescue worker carries body parts after an Israeli bombing of Gaza

A permanent representative to the United Nations has published a shocking statistic about the amount of explosive dropped on tiny Gaza by Israel since 7 October last year.

Mohamad Safa, who represents PVA (Patriotic Vision), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) accredited by the United Nations, has revealed that Israel more than 75,000 tons of explosive during the first two hundred days of its genocidal assault on Gaza – more than the total dropped on three of the most-bombed cities during the Second World War: London, Dresden and Hamburg. The news has also been reported by Al Jazeera, but largely ignored by the UK ‘mainstream’ media.

And the figure was current after two hundred days of the mass murder – today (5 June 2024) is day 242. As many as 100,000 people – and at least well over 40,000 – have been murdered in Gaza during the genocide so far, with twice as many maimed. The vast majority has been women and children.

The war crimes of Israel and every government and company that abets it are abhorrent.

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Pret a Manger cancels plan to open 40 stores in Israel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 8:21pm in

Sandwich chain abandons franchise deal – doesn’t mention boycott campaign but activates ‘force majeure’ clause

Sandwich shop chain Pret a Manger has abandoned its plan to open forty stores in Israel, after a boycott
stores across Israel after a boycott campaign was threatened by pro-Palestine groups.

The stores were to be opened under a franchise deal with two Israeli firms, but the company has told the Tel Aviv stock exchange that it was activating a ‘force majeure’ provision in the contract allowing it to cancel the deal because of extreme unexpected circumstances. A public comment by the firm does not mention the boycott campaign and instead blames the decision on ‘travel restrictions’:

We have taken the difficult decision to end our current agreement with Fox Group and Yarzin Sella Group. We tried to delay this decision for as long as
possible, but the significant ongoing travel restrictions have meant that our teams have not been able to conduct the checks and training needed to set up Pret in a new market.

However, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has claimed the win after its campaign for a boycott if the firm did not divest its Israeli interests. A group tweeted:

This decision sends a message to all companies – if you provide support for Israel’s apartheid and genocide against Palestinians. you will face the strength of our movement who will boycott your products and protest at your stores.

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Akehurst banned Jewish candidate for blowing whistle on sexual abuse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 8:45am in

Jewish would-be candidate says Starmer’s imposed Israel-fanatic candidate for North Durham used NEC position to tell her she couldn’t stand because she would ‘bring Labour into disrepute’ because she blew the whistle on ‘sadistic and criminal’ abuse of domestic violence victims

Luke Akehurst – the fanatically pro-Israel ‘parachute’ candidate imposed by Labour’s national executive (NEC) as the party’s candidate in North Durham – told a Jewish woman last year that she couldn’t stand for the party because she blew the whistle to protect vulnerable domestic violence victims, according to whistleblower Elaina Cohen. Skwawkbox contacted Akehurst for comment on the allegations at the time, but he did not respond.

Elaina Cohen was wrongfully dismissed by right-wing MP Khalid Mahmood after she made ‘protected disclosures’ about abuse and exploitation by Mahmood’s lover of Muslim women fleeing domestic violence. One of the victims gave evidence at Cohen’s industrial tribunal about the ‘sadistic’ and ‘criminal’ abuse she had suffered at the hands of the woman, who also worked for Mahmood. Neither Mahmood nor his lawyers contested the victim’s evidence. As part of her testimony, she said:

Whilst befriending them [the lover] would find out their weaknesses and secrets and then would blackmail and exploit them for her own benefit and amusement and that of others.

She told the court via her unchallenged statement that Mahmood’s female staffer, with whom he was said to be in a relationship:

  • used a domestic violence charity she ran to blackmail domestic violence victims into shoplifting and giving her their social security benefits
  • made victims take speeding points on their licence that they did not incur
  • sadistically abused victims
  • made the chief executive of the charity suicidal by blackmailing her and taunting her
  • targeted Victim A on social media
  • revealed details of the charity’s vulnerable ‘service users’ to others
  • used her and other women from the now-defunct charity ‘for the private entertainment of important people’
  • introduced one victim to a male friend who hurt the woman, ‘but she didn’t care’
  • berated two victims for stealing the wrong jacket from a local department store
  • made victims fund meals for local Labour politicians
  • made victims ‘stalk’ Mahmood and report back on him

Cohen also repeatedly informed Starmer and Labour general secretary David Evans of what was being done to the women, but the pair took no action, part of a pattern of cover-ups that saw Starmer shelter at least two alleged sex pests on his front bench – and one confirmed sex pest in a senior job – while claiming to be a ‘champion’ of women facing domestic violence.

Akehurst’s deranged – and paid – support for Israel even in the midst of the genocide it is committing against the Palestinian people in Gaza is well known, but it is far from the only issue with him being allowed anywhere near a parliamentary seat. And his boss, who is cut from the same cloth, has no business being anywhere near power.

Khalid Mahmood has also been re-selected to stand in Birmingham Perry Barr, despite Cohen’s revelations about the victims and also her allegations of theft and taking cash from Kuwait, which he denied. Labour says it selects ‘quality candidates’.

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Sex and Gender: A Contemporary Reader – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/05/2024 - 8:24pm in

In Sex and Gender, editors Alice Sullivan and Selina Todd marshal a range of academics in different fields – from neuroscience to sociology – to explore the relationship between sex, gender and gender identity. Encompassing a broad range of topics and lenses, the volume presents illuminating research in this contested area, writes Lucinda Platt.

Sex and Gender: A Contemporary Reader. Alice Sullivan and Selina Todd (eds.). Routledge. 2023.

Sex and Gender A contemporary reader alice sullivan and selena todd cover.Sex and gender have become highly contested terms, with substantial confusion about their meanings and relationship to each other. This edited volume provides valuable clarification on many of the issues and claims relating to sex and gender in contemporary society. Its fifteen chapters come from experts in their fields, covering topics and disciplines from biology and neuroscience to sports, history, law, philosophy, criminology and sociology, allowing wide-ranging consideration of discussions about sex and gender.

The authors all recognise that sex is a biological referent – ie, immutable and determined at conception – but they provide a range of ways for thinking about gender as a social category, with different emphases on patriarchy (eg, Jones), socialism (eg, Todd), and the role of the state. They share an emphasis on the importance of clarity around terms: the authors take care with their language, and their articulation of concepts, whether the conception of woman (Stock) or sex itself (Hilton and Wright), its measurement (Sullivan, Murray and Mackenzie), or how “inclusion” has been reformulated to encompass the exclusion of women’s concerns (Benjamin; Devine). Such clarity is especially important in a context where the commonly understood meaning of words relating to sex and gender has been undermined.

My first thought on reading this collection was the extent to which assumptions, which were only recently taken for granted as self-evident, now have to be spelled out.

My first thought on reading this collection was the extent to which assumptions, which were only recently taken for granted as self-evident, now have to be spelled out. For example, that woman has a singular meaning, even if there is great heterogeneity among women themselves (Stock; Jones; Todd; Auchmuty and Freedman; Devine); that sex is both binary and immutable – and that humans are not clownfish (Hilton and Wright); that the commonplace use of “gender” to designate men and women (ie, sex) that was unproblematically understood as such, whether in nineteenth century novels, legal discussions or contemporary economic analysis, is now easily, or wilfully, misunderstood and typically needs to be caveated (Stock; Auchmuty and Freedman; Sullivan, Murray and Mackenzie); that that those with disorders or differences of sex development (DSD)s do not represent a ””third sex”, since disorders in development or “limit cases” do not alter the fact that there are two sexes among humans, as all mammals (Hilton and Wright; Stock; Sullivan; Devine). The volume helpfully evidences such points.

The contemporary regular conflation of the term “gender” [… ] has also raised questions about how “gender identity” can be understood without reference to (regressive) gender stereotypes.

The contemporary regular conflation of the term “gender” (as the social organisation of society around particular understandings of men’s and women’s roles and positions) with “gender identity”, which implies an identification with a “gendered soul” that may or may not reflect one’s sex, has clearly generated much confusion. It has also raised questions about how “gender identity” can be understood without reference to (regressive) gender stereotypes. The frequent insistence that any discussion of or teaching on “gender” (as social organisation or the cultural basis of inequality) must necessarily involve discussion – or endorsement – of “gender identity”, has impacted many teachers and educationalists (myself among them). For them, this book offers a useful resource that can help to clarify the scope of discussion of gender around the particular topics being addressed, whether biology, education or criminal justice.

Beyond this, the book provides original insights in its different chapters and highlights some recurrent themes across the diverse discussions. Being introduced to accounts from different disciplines, I learnt a lot about what we do and do not know. The chapter by Scott, for example, on sex and the brain argues that while there are clear physical differences (male brains are larger and women’s have proportionately more grey matter), the implications for behaviour have been more elusive. There is little evidence for distinctively female or male brains in terms of (culturally formed) expectations about differences in men’s and women’s abilities or behaviour. Scott also highlights how some key areas of well-attested differences in male and female behaviour (eg, aggression) have been neglected by cognitive neuroscientists, and comments on the ways in which disciplines find some questions harder to ask than others.

There is little evidence for distinctively female or male brains in terms of (culturally formed) expectations about differences in men’s and women’s abilities or behaviour.

Such absence of evidence and claims-making without a solid evidence base, with important consequences, is a theme that recurs across a number of chapters. Sullivan, Murray and Mackenzie highlight how the corruption of data collection on sex and the failure to collect good data on gender identity acts in opposition to the substantiation (or otherwise) of claims about gender (identity), potentially negatively impacting the rights and care of trans people (for example, if screening programmes relating to prostate or cervical cancer do not have information on natal sex). Littman discusses the poor evidence base on the dramatic increases among adolescent girls identifying as trans or non-binary; and Devine charts the neglect of evidence on the physical advantage retained by trans women in women’s sport. An apparently cavalier attitude to evidence is perhaps also what has facilitated the extensive “policy capture” that is charted in chapters on the law in the UK (Auchmuty and Freedman), the US (Burt) and education (Benjamin). Auchmuty and Freedman, for example, note that it came to the attention of grassroots organisations that Stonewall had been providing advice on single-sex spaces that was “legally incorrect”. A willingness to misrepresent the law (and the nature of evidence) flouts of course the sorts of norms on which we typically depend for a functioning society.

Disregard for evidence is perhaps most chillingly described in Bigg’s chapter on puberty blockers. While Biggs notes that children prescribed puberty blockers are a small proportion of all those identifying out of their natal sex, they are clearly particularly vulnerable. Biggs charts how at the time the initial (Dutch) protocols on puberty blockers were adopted, the only evidence derived from one patient. Subsequent evidence on outcomes of those treated was misrepresented (eg, a follow up from an original Dutch cohort, based its positive evaluation on only a subsample of those originally treated, and failed to mention that one had died due to post-operative complications related to puberty suppression); or was subject to lack of follow up for longer rather than limited short term outcomes (a point also made by Littman), or was suppressed. Biggs’ own analysis, after a concerted campaign for access, of a group identified for experimental investigation of outcomes from the UK Gender Identity Development Service found no positive effects of puberty blockers, contrary to claims on which roll-out of the treatment was based, a finding recently endorsed in the Cass Report. The argument that puberty blockers are “reversible” was, according to Biggs, a “rhetorical device” without evidence; and despite the limits to follow-up discussed, there is now some evidence for negative irreversible impacts of such treatment.

Despite the extensive coverage of the volume, there are two things I missed. First, while there is a cogently written introduction from Sullivan and Todd setting the scene, I would have appreciated a concluding chapter reflecting on the different perspectives and issues covered in the volume. While some seemed to see an unravelling of ill-informed claims about gender, others seemed to see their consolidation. Can a view be taken on this point? In addition, the ways that the chapters speak to each other (even if in terms of qualifying each other) might have been further drawn out.

Second, while I appreciated the measured and sensitive treatment of issues of “balance” and support of different rights eg, in sport (Devine) or US equality law (Burt), I would have welcomed further reflection on the reach and limits of an “inclusive” agenda (Benjamin), and the importance or not of spaces for women/girls to enjoy separateness or privacy, beyond the obvious cases such as sports (Devine) and prisons (Phoenix).

For those struggling to understand the disputes around the meanings of sex and gender or how to balance fairness and maintenance of the rights of different parties [ … ] this book provides an invaluable and authoritative introduction to the issues.

For those struggling to understand the disputes around the meanings of sex and gender or how to balance fairness and maintenance of the rights of different parties, whether as someone involved in teaching or research, or as an interested lay reader, this book provides an invaluable and authoritative introduction to the issues.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: Darya Palchikova on Shutterstock.

 

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