Steph's Place

5th April. The Story Behind The Story.

The story that broke Karen White was not trans.

Well.

My "Trans and Crime" story (click HERE if you have not read it) was published on Friday at 9:30 am, and what a response!

I say "my," but that is not really true. The article was very much a team effort that started some four months ago with a "tip-off" from a gender-crit (called "X" from here on) that what Stephen Wood, aka Karen White actions in a woman's prison was blown out of proportion by the media and the gender-criticals (GC). 

To virtually everyone - truth matters.

Then a few weeks later, the second tip-off came my way from "Y." I was given information about a dedicated sex offenders prison with a separate wing for LGBT+ prisoners. Y said that many inmates housed at this prison were recorded as "trans" by the MOJ - but were not trans. They were sex offenders wanting to get close to trans women or occasional crossdressers. Talking to Y, firstly on the phone and then by Zoom, Y was enlightening. Y was indeed an expert on everything transgender, and more information followed.

I then wrote the story up but was well aware that I was treading on dangerous ground - so I decided to ask a few close Twitter followers for their opinion of the piece. Most were okay with it or only wanted small changes, but one team member (I will call her "B") came back with a page of suggested changes. One of her several points was, "this article has to be a 110%".

She was, of course, absolutely right - the piece needed to be as watertight as possible. Then another - shorter list of comments - from another team member saying the article was too defensive and needed "beefing up."

At that point, I was a tad down, weeks of hard work and not all 100% positive feedback.

But then X, probably thinking I was on Stephen Wood's trail, opened up to me much more, then saying Wood was not trans; "Wood's performance was a charade, a flag of convenience, he was not trans", X said.

I was shocked.

X's statement went against everything the mainstream press, Fair Play for Women and Woman's Place UK was saying - but there was a gender crit just wanting the world to know different. To know the truth. 

I started to check this out and on Snopes.com, a website dedicated to ascertain if stories in the media are true. I found an article from David Emery dated 30th November 2018 that had subsequently been fact-checked and accredited as accurate. It gave the inside story on Stephen Wood but not everything. Emery stated Wood was actually accused of four incidents inside New Hall prison but would only agree to two incidents, to which he subsequently pleaded guilty at his trial. After more research, I found additional evidence in local newspapers - this was the break-through that perhaps made the piece.

Stephen Terence Wood - also known as Karen White was not transgender.

My story was re-written (incorporating B's requests as much as possible), and the article was re-submitted to the team. All looked good - then P came back with one late point, so again another change which fortunately he did for me. By then, I was well and truly sick of the piece!

And then D-day.

Publication - I undertook the launch on Twitter and by my friend Katie Neeves posted details on other social media platforms.

And what a great response! Google analytics showed four-figure page hits, and positive comments came in thick and fast.

  • Robin Moira White a barrister at Old Square Chambers and who recently gave evidence to the Women & Equalities Committee, tweeted "A powerful piece of writing on a difficult subject."
  • Kirsty Miller, an ex Prison Governor, tweeted, "Spot on."
  • What The Trans (a former journalist at the New Statesman and PinkNews) messaged me saying "You are a real writer. A real researcher and this is journalism."
  • And from the lovely Dawn Smith who was on the Andrew Marr show just a week earlier tweeted, "Your passion and knowledge shine Steph, I hope you get published".

 

But it wasn't just me, was it.

There was X, a gender-crit wanting the truth to be told but perhaps not prepared to say to people on the GC side for fear of being ostracised. And then "Team Trans" - all the other people that spent hours and hours between them reading drafts - thinking of all the angles to cover.

To everyone that helped - especially X and B - thank you. I take away from the Trans & Crime article that independent trans rights activists really should start working together as a team much more. We need to be more organised. 

And so to the next major project.

I want to hear from trans folk who have or were prescribed puberty blockers. We hear lots from so-called "experts" and the lawyers in Keira Bell case - but we hear nothing from the thousands of people who have taken puberty blockers. What do they think about PB's? Did PB's help? What happened after taking them? What do the parents of the very young think? Should they not all have a voice?

So I tweeted for info and within seconds got three 'likes' - one very surprisingly from Suzanne Moore, who, for whatever her views, has a hypnotic writing style that pulls readers in like no other writer I know. She really does make it look so easy and it is not. In her recent blog letter, she describes herself as an "old bint" - a club (as I am 6 years older than her); I wonder if I could join - or is this a sex-based right club too? Suzanne, please let me know! 

Tony McCoy, the twenty times champion jockey, once tweeted, "Sometimes those who challenge us the most teach us the best."

I will never be able to write like Suzanne, with so much pose. But her act of liking my tweet perhaps may suggest she trusts this trans woman writing another difficult story - if so, that is progress.

Will my "Trans and Crime" article prove to some GC that Karen White was not trans? Dispel the myth that trans women are predators?

Will it help create trust?

I don't know.


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