Steph's Place

The Karen White Press Whitewash - the truth and the exploitation by GC 'journalists' like Sonia Sodha

Opinion: The Sonia Sodha and the gender critical mantra's


On the 5th of June 2021, this website broke the news to thousands of people that sex offender Stephen Woods, also known as Karen White, was not transgender.

This was a 'big deal' for people involved in the gender war - dozens of newspaper articles in the past three years or so has stated the opposite. Consequently, various alleged 'womens organisations' (often shorthand for anti-trans hate groups) have depended on White as the prime example of a transgender sex offender.

White became synonymous within the transgender smear campaigns, and my tweet to highlight that Woods was not transgender resulted in my colleagues and myself suffering an epic 'pile on' by several hundred Gender Critical (GC) people.

Not nice.

Moreover, sadly hundreds of GC failed to read all of the first article or maybe understand it with many crying, "no, he is yours - own it" and some others saying, "well, this is exactly what we said would happen with Self ID."

Prisons are a unique environment where everyone has the right to be safe. Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform and Self-ID has nothing whatsoever to do with placement in prisons or aiding sex offenders.


The Ministry of Justice and Her Majestys Prison Service (HMPS) updated their trans policies on the 27th January 2020, and what happened over three years ago should never happen again. No convicted trans woman has the right to ‘Self ID’ and demand automatic placement in the female estate. Trans women with a Gender Recognition Certificate can be housed in the male estate.

No - that is not a typo - a trans woman with a Gender Recognition Certificate can be housed in the male estate - decisions are based on 'risk'. 

Self-ID in relation to the GRA will in no way make any difference to the abhorrent number of women, and of course, trans women attacked by men. Abusers have done it for centuries and do not need to wear a dress to do it!

Now to be clear, I am not saying there are not some sex offenders in the trans community. There are around half a million trans folk in the UK, and there are bound to be 'bad apples' in all groups of people.

However, my "Trans in Crime" article, published weeks before the Stephen Woods/Karen White blog, established without doubt that trans people commit far less crime than cisgender people.

My only reasoning for this is the fear of being trans and a prison inmate is so massive, that trans folk will do anything to avoid problems that could lead to incarceration. Indeed, a young trans woman once told me that she refused to even defend herself for fear of being seen as the aggressor by the police while being physically beaten to a pulp by a bunch of transphobic yobs outside a pub.

So while the resulting 'pile-on' from my Karen White article was from Gender Critical (GC's) people seeking to take a personal swipe at me - it was also pleasing to see that a few gender crits already knew that White was not trans and acknowledged the fact by direct messaging me and saying as GC's they dare not broadcast this truth to their clan.

But how did they know?

More research required.

Stephen Woods, aka Karen White, was branded "trans" by a number of national newspapers before his trial in the first few days of September 2018. A typical example was that of the Daily Mail, who on the 6th of September published this headline:

"Transgender inmate charged with raping a woman sexually assaulted four fellow prisoners days after being remanded to an all-female jail."

The article was written for the Mail by one Chris Brooke and updated on the 7th of September. The report by Brooke explained that White was being remanded in custody so that victim statements could be prepared before sentencing on the 11th of October.

The crucial date then appears to be the 11th of October when White was due to be sentenced, and it is then, that the prosecutor Mr Christopher Dunn makes his statements concerning White not being transgender using these words:

"Allegedly’ transgender. The prosecution says allegedly because there are smatterings of evidence in this case that the defendant’s approach to transitioning has been less than committed."

Then Christopher Dunn added:

“The prosecution suggests the reason for the lack of commitment towards transitioning is so the defendant can use a transgender persona to put herself in contact with vulnerable persons she can then abuse”.

In researching this case, I found the evidence of the prosecutor's statement via local newspapers and the Snopes Investigative website. In short, I had to dig pretty deep, but obviously, the few gender crits who was aware of Wood's status did not do this.

Note earlier in this piece; I wrote the 11th of October 2018 appeared to be the critical date - in fact, that was not the case. The press was reporting Woods was not trans before the sentencing date. In essence, I had been looking at the wrong dates, thinking evidence emerged on, and after, the sentencing date. 

Indeed The Times on the 10th of September 2018 used this headline:

Rapist, Karen White, in women’s jail ‘was trans faker.’

The article, written by Lucy Bannerman and Mark Lister, appears to suggest that White may have been an occasional crossdresser but was not, in their view, "trans." I say "appears" because I dont have a Times subscription and am most certainly not going to support an anti-trans rag - so in consequence, I can not read all of the article. But the fact remains the headline uses the words "trans faker".

Then enter the Daily Mail again, who on the 14th of September 2018 published another article with the headline.

"Sickening proof our prisons have finally lost the plot: He's a rapist who was sent to a female jail for GBH after claiming to be a woman then sexually assaulted the inmates. Damningly, now his ex-girlfriend says his gender change is a sham."

Now, if there is one thing I know about newspapers, they watch each other like a hawk!

The Mail could sense a big story from The Times article published on the 10th, so reporter Barbara Davies of the Mail started interviewing Woods exes, neighbours and family within hours of The Times story breaking.

Quoting Woods ex-partner, Barbara Davies, reported this:

White was able to hoodwink officials and get himself transferred to a women's prison.

'If anything, he [Stephen Wood] was an occasional cross-dresser,' reveals the former partner.

'He usually wore men's clothes — jeans and T-shirts — and often didn't shave.

'He showed no interest in transitioning. It confused me. I didn't know whether to say 'him' or 'her' when I spoke to him.'

The woman says White occasionally dressed as a woman, either for nights out at a bar in Huddersfield town centre or if he had meetings with officials in relation to his claims for disability and housing benefits.

While she insists she is not against genuine transgender women prisoners being in female prisons, White, she says, was no such thing.

'There were no appointments at gender identity clinics or anything like that, which is what you would have expected,' she says. 'He didn't take any hormones or medication. He was very manipulative and very controlling.

He was a liar. He could twist anyone around his finger.

I've seen him do it with authority figures.

He played the system'.

So between The Times, The Daily Mail and finally the prosecutor Christopher Dunn, it is pretty clear well before sentencing, Stephen Woods had not started to transition. 

Put simply; he was not "trans."

So the question then has to be asked if newspapers and lawyers stated Woods was not trans in the autumn of 2018, why do many reporters and newspapers still report he was trans?

Reporters like Sonia Sodha, who on the 6th of June 2021, wrote this in The Guardian while childishly slagging off Stonewall, a charity that supports LGBT+ people like me. 

"Karen White, a trans woman who committed indecent assault, gross indecency involving children and two rapes while a man."

This is a key line in Sodha's piece - she is basically "selling" the typical GC mantra. 

Indeed Sodha did not even have the decency to say allegedly, trans.

Sonia Sodha could have also used the more accurate description "occasional crossdresser" - but no, she used "trans woman" - quite willing to smear a small, vulnerable and pretty law-abiding community. 

Did Sonia Sodha do this on purpose - wanting to stoke the fear and hate in the gender war?

Only she can answer that.

But for sure, her article had all the hallmarks of a GC scaremongering wind-up rant mooting the old chestnut that men will identify as women so to attack them. The real punchline in her article was, of course, Karen White - the trans woman sex offender. 

Then we can look at an article from The Sun dated 18th of November 2018, over four weeks after Woods appearance at Bradford Crown Court and some eight weeks after The Times and The Daily Mail had published their stories. The headline?

"Sex Beast transgender woman rapist who molested female prison guards sent to notorious prison for MEN"

Written by one James Cox, the headline is false in two ways. Firstly Woods was not trans, and secondly, there has never been any suggestion he molested female prison guards.

I won't bore you with the dozens of other newspaper reports about Karen White - you get the drift. Nor have I even mentioned the gender-critical #sexnotgender websites stating categorically Wood's was trans.

The simple fact is our community are constantly smeared by the press and, in particular, by the right-wing press and gender-critical journalists - it is left to dinky little websites like ours to try and call out the truth.

Stats from the government state that as of 31st March 2019, there were 13,359 prisoners in England and Wales serving sentences for sexual offences, and if just 1% of those were trans, that should equate to 133 sex offenders.

The simple truth is there are nowhere near that many - 99.4% are cisgender, and not one of them, including the 0.6% who are alleged trans needed a Gender Recognition Certificate to abuse.

Indeed the entire alleged trans prison population revolves around low numbers - even Fair Play for Women stated the total number of alleged trans in prison was 163.

And notice I used the words "alleged trans" because we know for sure there are prisoners who, like Wood's, try to convince prison authorities they are trans so get access to the women's estate. Fortunately, they dont succeed.

We also know some sex offenders say they are trans for personal safety reasons - they see 'being trans' as a safer option inside prison than being known as a paedophile or sex offender. Being trans, in theory, should mean extra personal security in prison, but that is not what happens. 

For we know that a trans woman is sexually assaulted in an English or Welsh jail on average every thirty-three daysClearly, bona fide trans women are being sexually assaulted by sex offenders at a much higher rate than cis-gendered women while in prison. 

Who cares? 

Certainly not the heartless GC.  

The press and the GC websites fail to report that trans prisoners are not safe and, worse still, ridiculously conflate crime with GRA reform and Self-ID to create fear in their followers. 

So I must repeat myself.

Self-ID in relation to GRA reform in no way automatically enables recipients access to single-sex spaces, and HMPS procedures do allow trans women prisoners even with Gender Recognition Certificates to be housed in the male estate! 

Self-ID in regard to GRA reform (and yes, it will come eventually) simply allows a successful recipient to be awarded a Gender Recognition Certificate, enabling them to change a birth certificate. 

In my case (and bear in mind I have taken hormones for some ten years and had bottom surgery and still do not qualify for a GRC), it will allow me to die in dignity as a woman.

Would you really deny me that? 

In fact, it is estimated just 1% of trans people have a GRC.

Does that not tell GC people something is massively wrong? 

The GC's also misinterpret the Stonewall umbrella. The Stonewall umbrella does not mean that everyone under the umbrella is trans. The umbrella purely means some people encompassed under the umbrella may identify as trans. Gender Crits and the press just don't get that. 

Stonewall constantly say (not that it is reported) that they dont represent all LGBT+ people. Indeed I am not a member of Stonewall. Stonewall does not represent me; I do not, for example, agree with a 'no debate policy.' I very much appreciate the support they give my community, but I don't agree with everything they say or do.  

Equally, Fair Play for Women or WPUK does not represent all women. They say they do, but recent polls conducted by YouGov certainly contradict this.

Is the ghost of Karen White finally being laid to rest?

Hopefully, to some degree, yes, and we are proud to have highlighted this.

But as a community, we have a very long way to go before being treated as equals. 

For sure, the press and transphobic journalists will continue to disguise transphobia as womens rights. And they are entitled to their view, as proven in the recent Maya Forstater case.

History will judge them.

Would a trans person hold a "belief that may well be profoundly offensive and even distressing to many others" as stated in the Forstater Judgement -  I sincerely hope not.

Whether Sonia Sodha holds those views is a question for her - but in an article published by Dr Natasha Kennedy of Goldsmiths university, it is reasonable to say her view is pretty clear. 

After all, the Oxford Language definition of transphobia is just nine simple words: "dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people".

Then just yesterday, June 17th, also in The Guardian, Freddie McConnell stands up fighting the corner for Stonewall. Obviously, he can not call out Sonia Sodha a colleague by name, but I suspect she may not want to get in a lift with him.

Oh, I nearly forgot Freddie is a trans man - Sonia does not see him as a target. 

Freddie ends his piece brilliantly, though with these words: We never thought we could rely on this government for fair treatment. But it is dismaying to realise we cannot count on the press either.

No, we can't, Freddie.

Especially when there are journalists around with beliefs that may well be profoundly offensive and even distressing to many others.

Isn't that right, Sonia? 


Authored by Steph  @PlaceSteph




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