Those of us who try to stay abreast of trends in gender will likely be aware of the current controversy in the UK Labour Party over men who “Self-ID” as female taking spaces on All-Women Shortlists and Women’s Officer positions. What you might not know is that Labour Party officials are also conducting formal investigations into members they suspect of holding feminist thoughts around “gender”, based on their social media postings.
File this one under “you wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t read it with your own eyes“.
In that spirit, what follows is an actual complete transcript of a literal Labour Party interrogation, conducted by two Labour Party officials: a woman who remained silent and took notes, and a man named Dan Hogan. Dan Hogan works for the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit where he has been employed since 2016. Prior to that, Dan Hogan worked at Labour Party headquarters on the Policy Team starting in 2013, after having worked for various Labour MPs since 2009.
The individual being interrogated is Venice Allen, a Lesbian Feminist campaigner and Labour Party member who was literally called in to Labour Headquarters on a matter most urgent! Did she now, or had she ever, believed that – Oh, never mind. Read it for yourself.
No one will be surprised to hear that Venice Allen has quit the Labour Party following this experience.
Dan Hogan statements are marked as “D”.
D: Obviously I will be going through the evidence as I said to you previously; a few other questions as well. I’ll ask you about the social media posts, your intention behind them and other conduct. I imagine you’ll probably have some questions as well. I will allow you to ask those at the beginning and end. Following this investigation I’ll be making a report to the National Executive Committee Disputes Panel along with the recommendations to further action. They make a decision on whether to take further action in your case. At its most serious that can take the form of a referral to the National Constitutional Committee and a hearing there. That can result in expulsion from the Labour Party at its most serious. However, if my recommendation is that the investigation is closed and your suspension is lifted that’ll happen immediately and that will simply be noted at the next meeting of the NEC Disputes Panel. Like I say, I’ll allow you an opportunity to ask your questions at the end of the interview but in the meantime do you have any questions for me right now?
V: When you say immediately would it be like in a couple of days, or…?
D: Well, as soon as I’ve had a chance to reflect on all the evidence and reach a conclusion.
V: My other question is that in the initial letter I was accused of breaching the Labour Party Rules on social media and in person, but I didn’t see any…
D: Well, it’s hard to provide evidence of something that’s happened in person. We’ve had…
V: So we’ll be talking about that too?
D: We will be talking about that as well. First of all, you’ve seen the evidence that I sent you. I did make one error in it so I do apologise. There was a post which was repeated twice instead when it was actually supposed to be included in this as well. You can see, Item…
A: But they’re the same thing.
D: Yeah, where’s my pack? There it is. Yes, I believe I put in A3 twice instead of including A2, but I don’t think that’s too different for you to [s.l. take that instructions 0:02:03].
V: That’s fine.
D: So can you confirm that all the items in the evidence pack including the ones here, that you were responsible for posting them?
V: I am, yeah.
D: In Items A1, A2, A3, can you tell me what you meant by that?
V: It’s my belief that you can’t change sex. As far as I’m concerned a transwoman is actually a man so I think all these posts are just saying that. Lily Madigan here is saying that “select group of women”, so he says he’s describing transwomen. I think that transwomen are men which is why [unclear 0:02:46].
D: Just for clarity, so I understand all of your comments. When you say ‘male’, which you have in some of these, do you mean something distinct from men, man, bloke, etc. or do you use the words interchangeably?
V: Where have I said ‘males’? Oh, [unclear 0:03:08] saying males are males. Well, male doesn’t just cover humans does it? Whereas men and blokes are also just exclusively humans, but I guess here I’m just using it interchangeably.
D: But in this context you have used it interchangeably?
D: How would you expect a transwoman to respond to being told that they’re a man?
V: I don’t expect that they’d be happy to be called a man, but I think it’s politically essential that we name them as men at this point when the law is about to be changed, or it’s proposed to be changed to allow any man to self-identify legally as a woman. So for me it isn’t about personality, it’s about changing the law which I protest.
D: Did you believe anybody could be offended by your comments?
V: [Unclear 0:04:54] basically. I don’t think we have the right not to be offended.
D: You don’t think people have the right not to be offended?
D: What would you say to anybody who had been offended by these comments?
V: I’d say that, “I’m sorry to offend you, but there’s a change in the law which is being proposed which is effectively going to erase women’s rights and that’s more important to me than your personal offence.” I find a lot of things offensive that are directed at women. They’re are going to twist that and then [unclear 0:05:54].
D: What would you say in response to somebody who said that by deliberately misgendering transwomen in general these posts demonstrate a hostility or prejudice based upon gender reassignment or identity?
V: Firstly I’d like to question that word ‘misgendering’ because I think actually these pronouns based on sex and this notion of mis-gendering is kind of Orwellian because, actually, it’s them who are mis-gendering themselves. Can you repeat the rest of the question to make sure I am [unclear 0:07:01]?
D: I’ll repeat the whole thing. What would you say in response to somebody who said that by deliberately misgendering transwomen in general these posts demonstrate a hostility or prejudice based upon gender reassignment or identity?
V: I can see how someone would feel that but I don’t think that’s an accurate reflection of me, and I’m not hostile to transwomen. Perhaps I got the defensive transwomen, but I feel that with these proposed changes in legislation we’re in a sex war situation.
D: Just to go back to the previous thing, you say that the notion of misgendering is Orwellian and that people calling themselves women or men but if they’re not are misgendering themselves. Is that correct?
V: Hmm-hmm. [Unclear 00:08:31] if someone had used the preferred pronoun. I’d like to say that in my personal life I’ve always treated transwomen as honorary women on a case by case basis, but when we’re being forced by the law to use somebody’s preferred pronouns it’s really important that we don’t, that we stick by what actual pronouns relate to their biological sex.
D: So it’s the context of the proposed legislation that means that…
D: …you’ve changed the way you talk to transpeople.
V: I still use preferred pronouns in real life on a case by case basis, but on Twitter I think it’s really important that we name men as men.
D: You refer a lot to transwomen. What do you believe transmen are?
V: Transmen are trans-identifying females.
D: I refer you to Item B. Do you want a copy as well?
A: If you wouldn’t mind that’d be very kind, thank you. I think the copy that I have doesn’t have letters on, the one you originally sent. No, this one does but the one you were sent by email doesn’t have letters.
D: Oh, I do apologise. Can you tell me who Heather Peto is?
V: I believe that he’s the Trans-Inclusion Officer of the Labour Party.
D: And can you tell me what’s meant by your post?
V: What’s meant by the post is that I’m highlighting that Heather Peto…
[coughing] feels entitled to be on all-women shortlists [coughing] and I’m sickened by that, hence the emoji ‘cause of all-women shortlists are in place to help women to do…what’s the word?…balance the divide between men and women, balance the number of men and women in Parliament to represent the people and I think that these should be only available to women.
D: The post obviously refers explicitly to an individual who, as far as I understand, identifies as a woman. How do you believe Heather Peto would respond to being described as a trans-identified male?
V: I don’t know. That’s what Heather Peto is, a trans-identifying male, so I can’t really say how Heather would react to that one.
D: Do you believe that, in common parlance not in terms of biology, specifically describing someone as male when they identify as a woman is to deliberately misgender them?
V: I don’t know how to say it. I don’t agree with this notion of misgendering so I can’t really comment on that. I don’t mind how people identify. It has never bothered me until I heard of these proposals to streamline as Theresa May says the Gender Recognition Act.
D: But Heather Peto as a male may not be a supporter of that notion, but she’s not responsible for it. You’ve mentioned before that the change to the legislation is the context in which you are describing men as men. What does Heather Peto have to do with that?
V: Heather Peto is using all-women shortlists to further his career in politics and to stand as an MP. As far as I know he’s stood and failed as an MP before as a man and I believe that he’s taking advantage of all-women shortlists to…well, he was, he didn’t get elected. But I don’t think it’s fair for men to use up these places which are designed to address the imbalance of men and women in Parliament. I have absolutely no problem with transgender people standing for MPs or Councillors.
D: Specifically, what about describing Heather Peto as a trans-identifying male?
V: That’s what Heather Peto is, a trans-identifying male.
D: Do you think Heather Peto might be offended by your post?
V: Quite possibly.
D: Do you believe that matters?
V: I think if you choose a career in politics or media you have to accept that there might be criticism.
D: Should that criticism extend to questioning what somebody is?
V: If they are, in my opinion, misusing particular programmes and systems that have been in place to help women, yeah I do feel that it’s just criticism. It’s not a personal criticism against Heather, it’s a criticism against this process. This self-ID that the Labour Party is endorsing.
D: Heather Peto’s Twitter profile, you’re just demonstrating you know that she is a Labour Party member. Does it bother you that your posts may specifically offend another member of the Labour Party?
V: Sorry, can you repeat the question?
D: Does it bother you that your comments here may specifically offend another member of the Labour Party?
V: My intention is not to personally offend anybody. I’m just highlighting to my followers that programmes in place to help women are being abused by trans-identifying men in my opinion.
D: What effect do you expect your post and other ones like it might have upon the Labour Party in terms of it being a welcoming environment for people with different backgrounds?
V: I’m not finding the Labour Party a very welcoming environment for women right now as are a lot of women as this reflected in your latest poling.
D: And in respect to my actual question.
V: Sorry, can you repeat the question?
D: What effect do you expect your post and ones like it might have upon the Labour Party in terms of it being a welcoming environment for people from different backgrounds, such as transpeople?
V: What effect? I expect this particular post to have very little effect because it’s just my Twitter and I’m not an Officer of the Labour Party. I’m just a member of the Labour Party and I think we should be able to discuss these issues without being suspended or investigated.
D: What effect do you believe this post and posts like it may have upon public perception of the Labour Party?
V: I don’t think any. I don’t think Labour members discussing Labour policy, I think it shows a Labour Party that is willing to engage in debate. I don’t think women should be silenced for the feelings of trans-identifying men. If you look at Heather Peto’s own Twitter profile I don’t think he’s particularly bothered about my feelings either. Other Labour members including Heather Peto who have elected, official roles in the Labour Party, not just members like myself, some of the things that they’re saying about women have the potential to discredit the Labour Party far more widely than my posts.
D: In Item C1 you reply to a post by Paris Lees. She says, “If it isn’t intersectional it isn’t feminism” and you replied, “If it has a penis it isn’t female”. What do you mean by ‘it’?
V: Just copying the words that are written in Paris’ post. So I’m just changing as little as I can to make my point. I’m not referring to Paris Lees. When I talk about male and female I’m not just talking about humans, I’m talking about all species of the animal kingdom. If it has a penis it isn’t female and that applies to a human or a cat, or any such creature. Paris’ is a general point and so’s mine.
D: So are you or are you not referring to Paris Lees as ‘it’?
V: I’m not referring to Paris Lees as ‘it’. I don’t think you’ll find any evidence on my social media where I’m calling people ‘it’.
D: Do you believe that a reasonable person looking
[at?] this post might assume that you were describing Paris Lees as ‘it’?
V: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s a reasonable assumption to make from that post I’m afraid. I think I said, “If it has a penis it isn’t a woman” I would be talking about a particular person, but as I say that male and female can be used to describe humans but they can also be described generally of any creature.
D: Is feminism a notion that exists in the animal kingdom?
V: No, I’m not talking about feminism. I’m talking about male and female.
D: Yes. My point is…
V: [Overspeaking] Feminism, obviously no. As far as I know is not a belief system amongst animals other than humans.
D: So this is a conversation about feminism?
V: No, this is Paris Lees’ pinned Tweet. Paris Lees says, “If it isn’t intersectional it isn’t female”. I’m not talking about feminism, I’m talking about male and female. If it has a penis it isn’t female. I think it’d be a misunderstanding that post to say that I was referring to Paris or any other person in that way. If you look at my social media profile you can see that I have never described any person as ‘it’.
D: Later in C2 you say, “Paris Lees is a man that’s why we say he. He looks like Michael Jackson ffs” which I take to mean ‘for fuck’s sake’. “Plastic surgery is disgusting on anyone.” Do you believe that is abusive or offensive?
V: I think it could be offensive. I don’t think it’s abusive. Paris Lees is an extremely famous media person and I’m an unknown woman and I think people talk about media celebrities’ appearances all the time. It may be offensive but I don’t believe it’s abusive. As I say, I don’t think anyone has the right not to be offended.
D: Would you say that to Paris Lees if she were here now? That she looks like Michael Jackson?
V: No, I wouldn’t say that because that’s not the kind of person I am to say to somebody face-to-face that they look ugly, but I think what you say about celebrities on Twitter is very different to what you would say to a real person in real life. I find Paris Lees an extremely offensive commentator and a lot of the things that he says are extremely offensive about women, but I don’t have the legal right not to be offended and Vice and The Guardian can publish what they like.
D: Is Paris Lees’ appearance relevant to her views?
V: No. And I do think he looks like Michael Jackson.
D: What do you think about that comment now?
V: What do you mean what do I think about it?
D: In hindsight.
V: Well, that was in November so it was about a month and a half after I started this Dr Radfem Twitter account. I didn’t have maybe such a large platform that I have now. Would I say it now? I’m not sure with the platform that I have. It wasn’t a post, it’s a comment as you can see that I’m replying to somebody. It’s not something that I would’ve posted as a main post ‘cause it’s not really relevant. I’d like to also point out that if this goes further to the next stage, I’ll bring a whole file of all the abuse that I’ve had; probably about half of it is about the way I look.
D: Item D1. I understand this is a photo of Lily Madigan which has been doctored to give her red eyes and superimpose the word ‘dicksplash’ across her forehead. Are you responsible for creating or sharing the image?
D: Can you explain what you think the image is trying to convey?
V: I think it’s just trying to convey that he’s an idiot. I think that’s what dicksplash is synonymous for. And maybe the red eyes are trying to convey that he’s unpleasant. I’d just like to ask why are we using this piece of evidence ‘cause all the other posts that you’ve used are public posts, but this was a private post that was taken from a secret Facebook group which was infiltrated by trans activists and then shared on Twitter.
D: We’ll come to that in a moment. Do you share the sentiment expressed by [s.l. Davidge 0:06:31]?
V: Do I share it? That he’s an idiot and he’s unpleasant? Yes, I do.
D: Are you responsible for the comment below?
D: What do you mean by that?
V: I meant, I guess, that the whole meaning of that would be lay off Lily Madigan and that making means like this is not a constructive way to argue against transgenderism in the Labour Party and self-ID. I don’t mean arguing against transgenderism, I mean transgender people taking women’s roles in the Labour Party. Lily Madigan talks a lot on his social media profile of suicide and I don’t find that authentic, so that’s why I said “fake a suicide” and when I say, “I think we should campaign officially through Labour Party about him” that’s exactly what I mean. “Save our meany memes” he said it in Clitoris, referring to that if we are going to make memes like this it’s best chose people who are older and more able to deal with that. For example, Eddie Izzard who’s a [unclear 0:08:19] comedian. I think you can also tell from this post that I haven’t liked it or laughed at it. You can’t tell that ‘cause it’s not my [unclear 0:08:43] but I didn’t.
D: You do agree with the sentiment though?
V: Of the post? If I’ve read the sentiment correctly that he’s an idiot and unpleasant, yeah then I do agree with that. But I don’t agree with making memes about him, as I say in this comment, and I don’t think you’ll find any memes about Lily Madigan on my social media profile.
D: Do you think it’s appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party member to refer to another Labour Party member as a ‘dickhead’ or to…
V: [Overspeaking] In private, yeah I think that’s totally fine. I don’t know about in public but this isn’t a public site.
D: I suppose the same goes for ‘dicksplash’?
V: Yeah, I think that we are allowed to talk about politicians and political figureheads as however we like. I don’t think ‘dicksplash’ is the most offensive one that we could use.
D: Do you think it’s appropriate for anyone to suggest a Labour Party member is going to fake a suicide?
V: In a private setting I think that is appropriate, yeah. In a private group about feminists campaigning about transgenderism, I think it’s a good point to make with somebody who constantly goes on about suicide.
D: Would you say that to Lily Madigan if she were here now?
V: No, and I wouldn’t say it in public either and I didn’t say it in public.
D: Do you think your comment is offensive?
V: The way it’s been taken out of context, yeah I do.
D: And it’s original context?
V: No, I don’t think it is. I don’t think it is offensive in the context that it was meant for because it was never meant to be read by Lily or any other transgender person. This is in a women only group.
D: What would you say to someone who suggested that this comment is evidence of bullying of Lily Madigan?
V: I think I’m trying to say not to make meany memes about him, so I would say it was the opposite. I’m trying to stop people bullying Lily Madigan.
D: What does Eddie Izzard or Tris Osborne, who you later refer to as Clitoris/[unclear 0:01:35], have to do with this?
V: There are rumours that Eddie Izzard wants to stand on an all-women shortlist and that’s particularly interesting to us radical feminists because Izzard has referred to himself as a man who enjoys cross dressing. He’s referred to his clothes as just clothes and not women’s clothes and that people should be able to wear what they like. I always respected him for that so I’m really surprised that now he’s identifying as transgender and the idea that he could take advantage of all-women shortlists is seriously offensive to me.
D: Has he suggested that…?
V: [Overspeaking] I don’t know.
D: …he would stand as an…?
V: [Overspeaking] That’s the rumour I heard, yeah.
D: What do you think about that comment now? Sorry, before we go there, what about Tris Osborne?
V: He’s somebody who’s been really vocal in attacking us feminists. He’s a grown-up man who can take a bit criticism and take it as much as he gives it on Twitter. While Lily Madigan gives out a lot of offensive comments about us, this comments shows that I personally feel that he is not the right target for what I’ve described here as meany memes. So if we’re gonna make memes that make fun of people we should stay away from younger people. That’s what I mean in this comment. You don’t have so much experience being in the public eye.
D: But Eddie Izzard and Tris Osborne are fair game?
D: What do you think about that comment there?
V: I regret that I posted it because it was never meant to go public.
D: But not because of what you said?
V: I don’t think I’ve said anything wrong in this comment, no. As I said earlier, I don’t think that people have the right not to be offended but this is more offensive than a comment that I would make in public at the person. Not necessarily because of what I’m saying but the way it comes across.
D: I direct your attention to D2 please. Am I correct to state that D2 is in response to Item D1 being shared across Twitter?
D: In what respect is Lily Madigan a liar or a bully?
V: Well, firstly I don’t know if you’re aware of the incident that happened at the Labour Women’s Network Christmas party where I was asked to leave.
D: I was coming to that.
V: Yeah, but that’s why I’m calling him a liar because originally on Twitter he said that he didn’t ask me to leave the party, we had a perfectly civilised conversation. But then later on he’s saying that I…he’s saying all kinds of things about me which aren’t true, including that I was physically ejected from the Christmas party.
D: This is based upon what she said after the event?
V: Yeah. I think that Lily Madigan talks a lot about the abuse received from feminists but I’ve never seen any evidence. This is always used as the worst thing that anyone’s ever said. It’s just what I said, kind of exposed him as a liar because if this is the worst thing that they can publish then it’s nowhere near as bad as the abuse that I receive almost daily. And I think that the way he uses social media to describe me and other feminists is tantamount to bullying; and mainstream media not just social media.
D: In both these, D2 and D3, you specifically refer to another Labour Party member, namely Lily Madigan who identifies as a woman, as he and not female. Do you think that’s acceptable?
V: Sorry, what’s acceptable?
D: To refer to a Labour Party member who identifies as a woman as he or [unclear 0:08:12]?
V: Yeah, as I explained at the beginning that’s my belief. It’s my belief that pronouns should correspond to your biological sex.
D: What would you say in response to somebody who said that by deliberately misgendering a transgender woman specifically these posts demonstrate a hostility or prejudice based on gender reassignment or [unclear 0:08:53].
V: I’d repeat what I said; that I don’t believe in misgendering, I think that they’re misgendering and I don’t think it shows that I’m hostile to transgender people in general. I’m making a political point based on my belief.
D: What would you say to someone who suggested that these posts, include these and the previous one, demonstrate bullying of Lily Madigan?
V: Firstly, I don’t think you should be using that in evidence ‘cause that’s from a private group. Let’s discuss the public posts. I don’t think that an unknown member of the public can bully a famous politician, and I think that if you take a political office you should expect criticism. I don’t think it’s reasonable to describe criticism as bullying and a disagreement with ideology as bullying.
D: You describe Lily as a famous politician.
V: Yeah. I think if you’re invited on all of the major news programmes and you have…I’m not sure how many followers Lily has on Twitter, you’re certainly a lot more famous than me.
D: What do you think about these posts now?
V: How do I feel about these posts now? I stand by them.
D: E. As far as I understand India Willoughby identifies as a woman.
D: [Unclear 0:11:05].
V: Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said back there.
D: I said I don’t know what celebrity…
V: [Overspeaking] How very wise [laughter].
D: In this post you appear to describe her as a man.
D: Do you have anything specific…
to add with regards to that post?
V: According to my belief India Willoughby is a man.
D: Item F.
A: Can I have a look at that? Is it concerning India Willoughby as a Labour Party member?
D: Just that it’s issue that’s been brought to our attention.
A: It’s not specific to Labour Party membership this one?
D: I can’t comment on other people’s Labour Party membership status. The only reason that’s part of this investigation is because it’s been sent to us.
A: You have commented on all of the others’ memberships.
D: Where they’ve made public the fact that they are Labour Party members.
A: Thank you.
D: Item F. Did you produce this image or just shared it?
V: I produced it.
D: I was going to ask you do you share the view expressed but presumably you do.
D: Can you explain what you mean by the comment in the image?
V: The first bit is a question. ‘Eddie Izzard on an all-women shortlist?’ So I’m not sure if that’s true or not, that’s just putting out there, ‘Is Eddie Izzard an all-woman shortlist? This is what misogyny looks like’. Trans-identifying men on an shortlists is misogyny in action according to my beliefs, especially somebody who has been so vocal in the past that he is a man who chooses to wear makeup and [unclear 0:02:05] as has been claimed.
D: My understanding is that Mr Izzard has recently come out as being transgender rather than simply a crossdresser. Does it matter what he’s said previously based upon what he’s said now?
V: Well, his public image is based on the fact that he’s a man who likes wearing women’s clothes. So if he was to go on an all-women shortlist I think it would look extremely bad for the Labour Party.
D: My understanding is that earlier in January, before this post, Eddie Izzard came out as being transgender.
V: I wasn’t aware of that. I haven’t seen any posts where Eddie Izzard comes out as transgender. I’m not saying that isn’t the case. I’ve always been a great fan of Eddie Izzard until recently.
D: What changed that?
V: When I heard that he was going to go on an all-women shortlist.
D: As a crossdresser?
V: Yeah, because…I don’t need to explain that any further do I?
D: So in your view, at the time Eddie Izzard wasn’t transgender but just was a crossdresser.
V: To be honest with you I think that the whole transgenderism ideology doesn’t separate the difference between a crossdresser and a transgender person. I would like to see it where crossdressing is not included in transgenderism. I haven’t seen those being separated before. I just believe that crossdressing is now another trans [unclear 0:04:30] that we’re not allowed to use. As far as I know, a lot of crossdressing men describe themselves as transgender nowadays ‘cause I believe that transgender is the umbrella term which covers all of those things.
D: You weren’t aware at the time that Eddie Izzard specifically identified as…
V: A woman.
V: I haven’t heard him say that, no. I’m not aware of that, of him describing himself as a woman or a transgender or woman but perhaps he has; I don’t follow him closely. But any trans-identifying male on an all-women shortlist for me it’s a sign of misogyny.
D: And why did you give that rumour any credence?
V: It’s just what I had heard. This meme was almost putting it out there to find out if that was true or not, hence the question mark. I think the Labour Party including transwomen on all-women shortlists is incredibly misogynistic.
D: So do you think there is anything problematic about showing another Labour Party member as wearing a Labour Party rosette with the words ‘This is what misogyny looks like’ typed over it?
V: I think we have a right to name misogyny where we see it, as black people have the right name racism where they see it and gay people have the right homophobia as they see it.
D: And do you think Eddie Izzard is misogynistic?
V: No. I think the system which allows transpeople onto all-women shortlists is anti-women or the same aim as misogyny. I’m not saying that Eddie Izzard is a misogynist in this post.
D: Do you think that somebody looking at that might think that is what you’re saying?
V: No. That’s not what my intention is.
D: Okay, but aside from your intention, how people might see it.
V: Not really. I think we’re talking about all-women shortlists here and that if Eddie Izzard was included on an all-women shortlist that would demonstrate misogyny.
D: Item G. In this post you refer to…
V: Going back to here, yeah. It’s going back to this. You’re still referring to this, yeah?
D: Is that part of the same thread?
V: I think it is. If you look at [unclear 0:08:09] you can see it’s Jennie Bujold, I think it might well be part of the same thread ‘cause it’s the same person.
D: What’s the previous code I’ve given to the item?
V: D2. And then again D1 ‘cause it’s all about this private comment from the meme.
D: So that’s D2 and D3.
V: No, D3’s got nothing to do with that.
D: D1 and D2. Okay, thank you. While we’re on that actually, do you know when the posts that that’s all to do with, i.e. that one…
V: This one?
D: Yes. When was that posted?
V: I’d have to check it out but I could look that up for you.
D: Thank you. I’d be grateful if you could.
V: I’ll just write that other note.
D: In respect of this…
V: Can I keep these?
V: I can just write the date…
D: I believe I’ve sent you…
V: Yeah, just so that I’ve got it in print here.
D: You already mentioned briefly what Tris Osborne has to do with this. Can you explain why you’ve chosen to single him out?
V: He’s just been a very vocal critic of us. As far as I know, he’s been quite active campaigning against feminists in his local party.
D: When you say us you mean feminists who…?
V: Radical feminists, yeah. Or just gender critical people in general.
D: So people who take a sceptical view of transgender ways.
V: Well, people who don’t believe you can change sex.
D: Why do you refer to Tris Osborne as a Clitoris?
V: Because his Twitter handle looks like clitoris. Somebody point out that every time they saw that handle they thought it’s so similar if you look at the first few letters.
D: Do you intend it as a term of abuse or ridicule?
V: Ridicule, yes. I don’t think it’s abuse.
D: Why? As in why does he need a…?
V: I never use that. It’s just what we use… [coughing]
F: I’ll go and get you some water.
A: Have mine.
V: I never publically called him Clitoris until this came out, but I’m explaining who Clitoris is. I think in the previous comment I’ve been accused of targeting transpeople in this comment whereas, actually, as far as I knew Izzard isn’t trans
and neither is Councillor Osborne. So I was pointing out that I wasn’t talking about transpeople here. I was talking about two grown-up men who identify as men as far as I know.
A: Mr Hogan, do you have the post on Twitter that that is a reply to?
D: I don’t, but if you can direct me to it…
A: I can. I don’t know if you can see that clearly. No? She’s saying to direct this sort of abuse at other transpeople. She’s literally directing them to use such meany memes on other transpeople. It’s discussed and particularly she acknowledges they’ve already gone too far.
D: So that’s somebody taking your side.
V: No. It’s trying to say that I’m abusing transpeople and I’ve responded…
A: The reply is, “Clitoris is not trans by the way. It’s our nickname for Councillor Osborne.”
D: If you can send me a screenshot of that that’d be very helpful.
V: You might [unclear 0:01:22] the whole thread of this.
D: Do you think that coming out with ridiculous nicknames for people who engage in this debate is appropriate?
V: In private, yeah. I think in private we can talk how we like.
D: That’s one in relation to social media. I’d like you to think about Eddie. Obviously, he agreed to Stand Up for Labour fundraiser on 14th November.
A: Sorry, I didn’t catch the…the what?
D: A Stand up for Labour fundraiser [unclear 0:02:14] Labour Party on 14th November
V: Yeah, I remember that evening.
D: Can you tell me what happened?
V: What, the whole evening?
D: What I might be referring to.
V: I’ve got no idea what you’re referring to. [Unclear 0:02:33]. Sorry.
D: Is that your [unclear 0:02:36]?
D: Did you speak to anybody who identifies as transgender at this event?
V: A young transman called Ash.
D: And what did you say to him?
V: Well, we had a cigarette outside and we were just having a little chat. Then later on Ash was accompanied by a man from Islington South CLP I believe…I can’t remember his name, and we started discussing the Gender Recognition Act. We’d mentioned outside while we were having a cigarette amicably that I was opposed to the Gender Recognition Act. Ash had made friends with certain members of my family. Later we started talking and there was a woman inside who I don’t know, who started saying that she thought that transwomen should be in women’s prisons and I said that I disagreed. We were having a conversation about the Gender Recognition Act and Ash seemed absolutely fine having this conversation. It was the man who was with Ash who seemed to take offence, got up and stormed out in the middle of our conversation. I’m not sure what triggered that man to get up and walk out but I did find it quite surprising.
D: When you’re talking about the man from Islington South are we talking about a man who identifies as man or…?
V: An actual man. I can’t remember his name but I could find out for you. I believe he’s quite senior Labour Party.
D: Did you at any point in the evening refer to a person who identifies as a man as ‘she’?
V: I don’t believe there were any transwomen there. Not that I spoke to. The only transperson I spoke to was a trans-identifying female called Ash and we parted on good terms.
D: Sorry, you don’t believe there were any trans…
V: Identifying men there…transwomen. The only transperson that I know and spoke to was Ash.
D: And Ash is a trans-identifying…?
V: Female. But we didn’t have any fall out or disagreement. We were just talking about political ideology and Ash seemed quite happy to have that conversation. Ash has just moved to that CLP and has made friends with various members of my family.
D: Did you at any point film attendees at the event with your ‘phone?
V: I filmed the act. I didn’t film people in the audience. I filmed [unclear 0:06:25] who was performing there and I didn’t take photos of anyone without permission. I didn’t take any photos of Ash or this guy from Islington South.
D: Did you join a discussion with Dana Carlin and Heather Peto?
V: They weren’t there as far as I know.
A: I’m sorry. What was the first name?
D: Dana Carlin and Heather Peto.
A: D-a-n-a…and the surname?
A: I’ve never…
V: [Overspeaking] yeah. I’ve never heard of Dana Carlin and I’m pretty sure that Heather Peto wasn’t there because we’ve been in conversation for quite a long time and I’m sure Heather would’ve introduced himself. As far as I know I’ve never met Heather in real life, and I’ve never heard of Dana Carlin.
D: So the only time you’ve interacted with Helen is over Twitter.
D: Heather, sorry.
V: Ah no, we’ve spoken on the ‘phone quite a lot as well. In the most recent conversation we had he described us as ‘frenemies’.
D: When was that?
V: I could find out if you want. Actually, no, it probably doesn’t have the old…I’d say last time we spoke, it was around the time that we were both invited on the Victoria Derbyshire, but then Paris Lees put a stop to it. I could find that out after the interview. It was probably about a month ago though, in January.
D: Okay. That was the last conversation you had with Heather?
V: With Heather. Oh, yeah.
D: At any point in the evening did you refer to the genitals of transwomen, people identify as women, and suggest that they’re not real women?
V: No. I have no idea. I have no memory of that. Possibly when we were having this conversation about transgender inmates I might’ve said if somebody has a penis they’re not a woman or something, but I have no memory of actually saying that. I just remember having a conversation about transgender inmates and where they should be housed, in which estate. My mother was very particularly active in that conversation but as far as I know the only transperson present was Ash who seemed quite happy to engage in this debate.
D: Does your mother share your view of these things?
V: I guess you could say it was a belief that I’d been brought up with; that you can’t change sex and the notion of being born in the wrong body is a ridiculous one because I believe, as atheist, that we are our bodies; and I don’t believe in souls, not being a religious person.
D: How would you describe your tone or behaviour through this conversation?
V: Completely respectful ‘cause I was aware that there was a trans person there who I got on well with and I wouldn’t want to say anything that would make that person feel uncomfortable.
D: It’s not in any way [unclear 0:00:22]?
V: No. Absolutely not. But I did note, and I was surprised to note, that the man who was with Ash took offence by what I was saying. He was not transgender as far as I know.
D: And they left [unclear 0:00:47].
V: He kind of made Ash leave with him. He was like, “It’s time to go” and he kind of ushered him off. I’m using ‘him’ for Ash because it’s somebody that I liked and got on with. So I’m happy to…
D: [Overspeaking] That maybe what confused me before.
V: I also don’t believe that there’s a danger from women identifying with men, it’s a danger to men. I think it’s a completely separate issue.
D: How do you believe that transpeople that you were interacting with that evening were [unclear 0:01:55] by your behaviour?
V: As I say, I feel that we got on really well, me and Ash, and my mum and Ash particularly.
D: I’d like you to think back to a Labour Women’s Network event on 11th December, which you’ve already mentioned. Can you tell me what happened?
V: I saw the party advertised on Facebook and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to talk to some female MPs so I bought a ticket…
D: In respect to your campaign?
V: Yeah. So I bought a ticket and I went. I got there just as the party was beginning, I guess around 7.30 or something, and I introduced myself to Olivia Bailey and the other woman who I don’t know her name on the door. I showed them one of these leaflets which I give to you and I showed them my scriven necklaces which I make. I showed them both these things that I do. We had a little chat about the necklaces. I said if they would like LWN necklaces that was something I could do for them cheaply. And I showed them this leaflet and I told them that I was campaigning against the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. They were absolutely fine with that.
Then I went to the bar. The only person I knew personally at that party was my actual Councillor, Sophie McGeevor, but I don’t know her very well. I said hello to her. Then I went to the bar to get a drink and…you know how when you’re at parties and you don’t really know anyone you sort of make eye contact with people, funnily enough, an older transwoman caught my eye. I’m not very good at recognising people so originally I thought, “Oh my goodness, maybe this is Heather Peto or someone.” So the transwoman came up to me, introduced himself and asked me what I was doing at the party, at which point I said, “Well…”…then I realised it was just a normal Labour Party member rather than anybody who had any position in the Labour Party and I said, “Well, I hate to say it but I’m being called in the press a famous transphobe.” And they were like, “Oh.” “But of course I’m not transphobic. I’m campaigning against the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act” at which case we both got a drink and we sat down at a quiet table. We spent about 20 minutes discussing the proposed changes of which this person wasn’t very aware of. Some things we agreed on and some things we didn’t. One of the points that we did agree on was that this person thought that forcing people to use preferred pronouns was a terrible thing because this person said that being included as a woman is an honour and a privilege that you earn rather than force on other people, especially women. Then we went around the party together. I can’t remember this person’s name unfortunately, but I know that they live in Cambridge and we had quite intimate conversations. This person was telling me all about their romance, love life and stuff so we had a very nice conversation and an intimate conversation.
Then we went round the party. I went and spoke to Yvette Cooper and I gave her one of these leaflets. I wasn’t kind of standing by the door or anything, I was just giving them out to people as I spoke to them. Then we watched a couple of the speeches. I was pretty offended by Angela Rayner’s speech which she focussed on transphobia, but I didn’t manage to speak to Angela Rayner. After about an hour, Olivia Bailey came up to me and said that me giving out these leaflets were making people feel uncomfortable so I said, “Okay, I won’t give out these leaflets anymore.” So I didn’t, I put them in my bag. I still mingled at this party and I was giving people as presents, not asking for any money, Corbyn necklaces. Due to the nature of it being a Labour Women’s Network party there weren’t many people at the party who wanted Corbyn necklaces. I would hazard a guess that Lily Madigan and I were probably the only Corbyn supporters at that party. I had necklaces which said ‘Corbyn’, I had necklaces which said ‘Lesbian’, I had necklaces which said ‘Notorious’ and I had necklaces which said ‘Radfem’. I was speaking to the performers…
D: Sorry, you’re speaking faster than I can write. Can you tell me what those necklaces were again?
V: I had ‘Corbyn, ‘Lesbian’, ‘Radfem’ and ‘Notorious’.
D: Are they all very much in the style of the one you’re wearing today?
D: Was there a necklace that said ‘Transphobe’?
V: No. I spoke to the performers and one of the performers was really excited by the ‘Lesbian’ necklaces and asked to have two, to give one for her and one for her girlfriend. At this point, a woman…and I can find out her name, got very angry with me because she said that she was personal friends with the jewellery designers who operate under the name Tatty Devine, which is a very similar style of laser cut acrylic made necklaces. She said that my necklaces were a rip off of Tatty Devine’s and that she was offended with them. That was probably the only time I raised my voice in the evening. I didn’t say anything offensive to her, I just laughed and said that…
D: Tatty Divine?
V: Tatty Devine, yeah. That Tatty Devine didn’t own laser cutting as a jewellery technique and also didn’t make political necklaces. So I kind of laughed at her and moved away.
D: You raised your voice…
V: Well, I didn’t swear at her or anything but that was the only possible argument that I had with anyone all night; with this woman who I can find out her name. She’s an American lesbian I think. Then I saw Lily Madigan who I had no idea would be at the party. I was quite surprised to see Lily there, but I decided to go and speak to Lily because I’m a human, Lily’s a human and I thought it was the polite thing to do. So I went up to Lily and I said, “Hi. I’m Venice. I’m Dr Radfem on Twitter. Do you know who I am?” Lily said, “Yes, I know who you are.”
D: Were you on good terms at this point?
V: I’d never met Lily before but I went up politely.
D: But you’d had some interactions on Twitter recently?
V: That you’ve seen yeah. I’m not sure if any of these…I think this is before. I think it had come out on social media. So this is November that Paris Lees…that Lily knew…
D: This is 11th December and the…
V: None of the evidence I don’t think was before that. But Lily knew who I was because I had…so what I said to Lily, “Do you know who I am?” Lily said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you okay, because I know that you’ve been saying that you’ve had a lot of abuse?” and Lily said, “I’m fabulous, thank you.” I said, “That’s really good to hear because I want you to know that this is not at all personal. We just object to your role as a women’s officer and we don’t want you to feel bad” and Lily acknowledged that. Then I said to Lily…
“Would you like a ‘Corbyn’ necklace?” Lily said, “No” because they felt that…what is the word? Something like, “Be careful about hero worshipping Corbyn.” And I said, “Fine” and then offered Lily’s friend a Corbyn necklace and she also declined. We were watching…I dunno, it wasn’t Angela Rayner. We were watching another person giving a talk at this point. I felt it was a slightly awkward atmosphere.
D: Sorry, I am listening. I’m just checking how long I’ve got this room for.
V: I moved away and at that point decided to take a selfie with Lily Madigan in the background.
D: Sorry, that last bit. So you took a selfie of Lily in the background. What happened immediately prior to that? She declined to…
V: I had offered both of them…
V: …necklaces and they declined. At that point, when they declined, I kind of felt this sort of awkwardness so I moved away and maybe five, 10 minutes later I took the selfie with Lily in the background which I think they saw me doing. Then I was talking to these three women. I wasn’t talking about the Gender Recognition Act, I had offered them a necklace. They really liked the necklaces but they didn’t want Corbyn ‘cause they were very against Corbyn.
D: Can I just pause you a second sorry. When you took that selfie with Lily in the background was it your intention to get Lily in that photo?
D: Why? Is she actually…?
V: Because Lily’s a famous politician and I would do that. I’ve done that with Corbyn, I’ve done that with other politicians.
D: Was she sort of willingly part of the photo?
V: Just in the background at a party. So I was speaking to three women and they were rooting through my necklaces to try and find something. They didn’t want ‘Lesbian’, they didn’t want ‘Corbyn’ so they chose ‘Notorious’. At that point Liv Bailey came up to me again and said that my presence at the party was making people feel [unclear – noise 0:02:50] so I said, “Are you asking me to leave, Liv?” and she said, “Yes.” I said, “Can I finish my drink?” and she said, “No. I will refund you for the drink.” So she got a fiver out and I said, “Can you give me a fiver for my ticket.” She said, “Yeah.” So she gave me a tenner in total. The women I were with were shocked that I was being asked to leave, then they left with me. As I was leaving I saw a man that I’d been speaking to and have given a leaflet to before and I said, “I’ve been chucked out for my views, for making people feel unsafe.” He was absolutely appalled and he said…his wife was with him now and he said, “Darling, this is the woman who’s campaigning against the Gender Recognition Act proposals that I was telling you about.” She said, “No, no. You can’t be chucked out. I’m not standing for it.” I said, “Oh no, no, I don’t want to create a fuss. I’m going outside. Meet me outside if you wanna talk about it.” I went outside, I waited for her to come back and she said to me, “I’m sorry to say this but you should just leave now.” She looked quite scared. She said, “You should just leave now” and I went, “Okay.” I picked up on her fear and I did exactly that.
D: This is a woman you’d been talking to earlier?
V: I’d been speaking to her husband. She was very indignant that I’d been asked to leave. She’d gone back in to find out if I could be admitted again even though I said that I didn’t want to be. Then she came out quite shaken, visibly shaken and told me that I should leave right away.
D: I’ll just see which of these questions are relevant now.
V: I’d also like to point out that the transwoman that I spoke to at the beginning of the party also left at that point. I don’t know if she was leaving at the same time as me or in solidarity with me, but we had a hug.
D: This is the woman you’d…
V: The transwoman.
D: …sparked up a friendship with.
V: Yeah. And we had a hug at that point.
D: Did you follow anybody around the event?
D: At any other point during the event, apart from the altercation about necklaces, how would you describe your behaviour?
V: Polite and respectful.
D: Not aggressive at any point?
V: Not aggressive at any point. Even with this woman who was having a go about the necklaces, I just kind of raised my voice a little bit and laughed at this notion that Tatty Devine owned laser cutting as a jewellery technique.
D: Did you get any explanation as to why you were asked to leave?
V: No. I regret not asking but I was so surprised that I was being asked to leave that I didn’t. Everybody said to me, “You should’ve asked what she meant by making people feel unsafe.”
D: So that was all you were told?
V: Yeah. First of all I’d been told that leaflets were making people feel uncomfortable and then that my very presence was making people feel unsafe.
D: I’ve not seen this before so you might have to have a look.
V: Sure. Are you going to read it? Have I got time to quickly pop to the loo?
D: We’re gonna be done very shortly.
V: You’re welcome to hold onto that. I don’t think you’ll find anything transphobic on there. Lily Madigan has actually referred to this leaflet as being transphobic but I’d really like to question that. [Unclear – rustling 0:06:49].
D: I’m trying to look at it all but…
D: Now, you’re probably aware of this article already in Pink News.
D: You’re probably also aware that a story about you being thrown of this event, or asked to leave the event, has also appeared in the national newspapers including The Times. What effect do you believe that that reporting of the incident may have had upon the reputation of the Labour Party?
V: I think it’s probably pretty bad for the Labour Party because it was such a ludicrous thing that I was ejected. So that being made public sure makes the Labour Party looks bad, when a woman is being ejected from the feminist party for having feminist views. I think that’s the Labour Party making themselves look…and I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect me to be silent about that to protect the reputation of the Labour Party. I think the act of chucking me out is what damages the Labour Party.
D: Do you have any questions for me?
V: Can I just ask [unclear 0:08:06]?
A: A couple. The first thing is you’re referring to a couple of events which aren’t documented on Facebook. They’re not to do with social media, this Hornsey and then this party. You appear to be referring to allegations. What are those allegations based on? Do you have witness statements or a summary of what is alleged?
D: We’ve got complaints. I can’t go into detail about those complaints because that’s not our process. In the event that those complaints lead to a referral to the National Constitutional Committee and actual charges, at that point you’ll be provided with all the evidence that’s being used, including witness statements and being told the names of witnesses and you’ll be able to base your own defence upon that.
A: So when you are analysing what is asked about that you’re bearing in mind that Miss Allen doesn’t know the details of what you’re putting.
D: Yes, if I have further questions when I’ve had a chance to look over these notes, look over this and compare that to other accounts I’ve had of the incident then I’ll come back with further questions that I have.
A: Given that there’s been a number of references to all-women shortlists, can you confirm because there’s been a certain degree of different statements coming from the NEC over time, is it the position of the Labour Party that all-women shortlists under the Equality Act Section 104 are limited to female as a protected class of persons, or that they include any of the identified…?
D: I’m not the authority on this. I think you should put that in writing to a different section of the [unclear – coughing 0:09:49].
A: Do you know which section that would be?
D: I would just address it to email@example.com, the general email address that we use for governance [unclear 0:10:00] unit. Alternatively you could just write to Ian McNicol.
A: Thank you.
V: I don’t have any more questions I don’t think.
A: Is there anything else you need to…?
V: I don’t think so, no.
D: Alright. Thank you for your time.
V: Thank you.
A: Sorry, one last thing. You wanted to be sent the details of the thread as a whole and a screenshot. The email you’ve emailed Venice on, is that your main email for all purposes.
D: Yes. Similarly, any other bits of social media evidence you think might be relevant.
V: Yeah, I wrote some notes so I can send them to you.
D: Thank you.
V: What about the bullying and harassment that I’ve received from these from these people that you’ve mentioned?
D: Have you made a complaint about it?
V: No. So that’s what I need to do. There’s no point giving it to you as evidence?
D: Not at this point.
A: Alright, thank you.
D: Thank you.