A fun run organised by a children’s charity, where fathers dress in drag, has been reported to the police as a “hate crime” by a transgender group. The group describes the event as “dehumanising.”
The five-kilometer “Dames on the Run” race is organised by Derian House Children’s Hospice and seeks to raise money for sick and terminally ill children.
However, Chrysalis Transsexual Support Groups have reported it to the police in an attempt to stop it going ahead.
The run is described by the hospice as “drawing on the much-loved Pantomime Dame character that is part of our theatrical heritage and supported by hundreds of thousands of people in every year”, but it was labeled “dehumanising” by the transgender group.
The move is part of an on going push by trans organisation to have cross-dressing and drag outlawed or deemed a hate crime.
The National Union of Students (NUS) led the way in March by voting to enforce a “zero tolerance” approach to drag and cross-dressing in all student union events across the country. And in July, a Pride event in Scotland banned drag queens because they might make the trans-gendered feel “uncomfortable.”
Steph Holmes, of Chrysalis, told the Chorley Guardian: “We get enough confusion with the word transgender, which mixes us up with transvestites. Transvestites certainly don’t dress for comic purposes and I don’t get up in the morning and think ‘what can I put on today to give people a laugh?
“This race pokes fun at cross-dressing and, by association, us, reducing us to objects to be laughed at. Dehumanising us this way gives carte blanche to those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.”
Adding: “It’s a small step from ridicule to persecution. The current stats suggest a 34 per cent chance of beaten up, raped or killed for being trans. We do not need to give the bigots any more ammunition.
“I am sure that Derian House didn’t intend to give offence. The very fact that it’s a children’s hospice should make them sensitive to potential bad publicity and the effect that this has on young trans people.”
Thank you for all the support we’ve received for Dames on the Run. We hope to make an announcement soon as to whether the event can proceed.
— Derian House (@DerianHouse) August 24, 2015
Derian House said: “As a children’s hospice, we deal with highly sensitive and emotive issues all the time and would never have considered organising a fundraising event that might cause upset or offence.”
“…It was intended appeal to the fathers of desperately sick children, who do so much to hold their family together in the face of their child’s devastating illness and who ask for very little support in return.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to participate in a fun-packed event and encourage other men to show their support and raise vitally needed funds for the hospice.
“We were shocked to receive a complaint, and our chief executive wrote immediately to apologise for any offence caused and assure her that none was intended. She has accepted an invitation to visit the hospice on Monday.”
Lancashire Police said: “We are aware of the incident and no further action will be taken.”
UPDATE: Chrysalis, the group initially linked to, has issued a statement distancing itself from the comment. The denouncement appears to have been made by Chrysalis – Transexual Support Groups, which is a distinct organisation. The latter now also appears to be attempting to withdraw their comments on the matter, given the level of public outrage.