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This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Articles in the press

Earlier this week there was a brace of articles in the Mirror and followed up in the Express that, for some reason caught my eye enough that I decided to read further.  It turned out that a female-to-male cross-dresser had sexually assaulted two other girls.  What made me read them more closely was the fact that, although all the girls were the same age and a sexual assault had occurred, both articles focussed almost exclusively on the cross-dressing of the perpetrator.  Not the fact that she had shown no remorse, not the fact that she had only met her victims twice before the assaults, but her cross-dressing.
Now, sexual assault is always wrong (if people 'want' to be assaulted then it is consensual and no longer assault, so I know that I'm not including some of the more rough 'play' out there, but that ain't my bag either) and it is horrible that these events took place.  That all of the girls concerned were able to go far enough beyond their comfort zones for such things to happen (the articles weren't terribly clear about what the assaults were beyond confirming that they didn't go beyond heavy petting - which I suppose is a mercy) is pretty bad.  These were all legal minors in the UK.  I would have though that this news would have been the real story, the shocking bit.

The attacker: Gemma Barker.  Posed as six different 'lads' online
and dated one victim twice under different pseudonyms.
Assault is bad enough, but there's a chilling undercurrent here!
No, most of the articles were on the cross-dressing.  With some rather bizarre conclusions that, given my own predilictions, I find a little concerning.  Firstly there was the comment by the Mirror's own forensic psychologist stating that the perpetrator "in dressing as the opposite sex" displayed clear signs of "psychopathy" and was "most likely autistic" which "unfortunately cand never be cured" and that the best that could be hoped for was "a more secure caring environment".  These words chilled me to the bone.  The psychologist mentioned that the lack of remorse was a giveaway for the psychopathy comment, but the cross-dressing was used as evidence of the autism and a "deeply disturbed" young girl.

Pardon me?

The 'cross-dressing' was limited to wearing baggy clothes to hide her frame (so no major attempt to bind a fairly well-developed chest according to the published pictures) and keeping the hood up to hide her hair.  She posed as a male on facebook to talk to her potential victims.  This is considered deeply disturbed?  Every male geek who ever posed as a woman on the internet is now potentially a sex-offender!  Or is it because she's a female?  Are they not allowed to have such urges?

The victims.  One of them, the one who was said to be suicidal
after learning that her attacker was a female, dated the attacker
twice under different names - both times being attacked.  Terrible
but something isn't adding up right...
Then there was the reaction from one of the victims who was quoted extensively in both articles claiming that the perpetrator had left her close to suicide because of what she did.  She claimed that her life had been ruined.  So far, so terrible.  Then it got... well, weird.  She went on to explain that "I feel like someone has died" because when she was told her 'boyfriend' was a girl "that person that I loved was a lie, he was gone and that was as good as him being dead".  Um... Hold on a minute here.  She loved him?  Okay, don't get me wrong, as I said, that this happened is terrible but... I don't know, something about this makes me very worried indeed.  There's an undertone.  There's a rising pitch.  And I just wonder about which direction this is going to go next.

To my mind there are several angles on this: were the assaults only reported when the 'boy' turned out to be a cross-dressing girl?  What makes the fact that the assailant was a cross-dressing girl any worse than the assailant being anyone who lulled someone else into a compromising position and assaulted them?  Why does the reveal that someone you love is a different gender than you thought make that love invalid?  Surely the fact that the attacker was unrepentant in court and emotionless and stuff makes that invalid, it has nothing at all to do with gender.

However, I know that I concievably come under two of the headings raised in these articles: cross-dresser and autistic (not actually but close enough for my wife to joke about it) and so anything I say about "love is love" is necessarily tied up in my bias.


  1. Being from the other side of the pond, I don't know the reputation of the Mirror, but this sounds completely made up to me. Too many ludicrous things.

    Funnily(?), I have two children on the autism spectrum, and my wife and I agree that I might well have Asperger's myself. Makes a body wonder...

    1. The Mirror is a tabloid, so yes, I get your point. But it was followed up in another tabloid and has been on the net. I think I'm just generally paranoid about this sort of thing.

      My wife thinks I'm autistic too, she was an Autism Support Worker as well, so she's probably a good judge, and so... yes, does make you think!


All comments are welcome, I have a thicker skin virtually than I do in real life!