Why is Aimee Challenor still advising Stonewall?

This is grim stuff, so apologies in advance. Although I don’t know why I’m apologizing.

Aimee Challenor, former spokesperson for the UK Green Party and current Diversity Officer for the Coventry Liberal Democrats is about to marry a gentleman from Michigan who writes pornographic fiction about children and “mind control.”

How do we know this? Because someone posted the accusation on Mumsnet and the budding author, Nathaniel Knight, cheerfully owned up to it on Twitter.

“Yes, I have written smut,” Knight said. “I have written smut featuring minors. I have written smut featuring incest. I have written smut featuring things that are not ethically sound or morally right in the real world. I also write smut featuring adults.”

Stirring stuff! Even by the Internet’s cavalier application of the laws of space and time, the thread stayed online for too long. Knight deleted the thread, but it was too late. The tweets had been screen-shotted and reposted.

Note his choice of word, by the way: “Smut.” Not “pornography” or “porn” or even “erotica.” Those words wouldn’t have quite as casual an air. “Smut” has the just-minding-my-own-business-guv quality you need when you’re choosing something to loiter next to the word “minors.” Essentially, he’s trying to diminish it and normalize what it is he actually writes and fantasizes about. “I have no reason to hide the fact,” he continues, “that I am sexually awakened adult who has fantasies that might be unethical to explore in real life.”

Well, you do, mate, as a matter of fact. Because your “unethical” fantasies are the kind that get you housed away from the general prison population, should you be so “unethical” as to indulge them in real life. (Again, note another artfully chosen word.)

It was an astonishing thread. The guy’s brain is obviously so pickled in porn that he genuinely doesn’t realize that the thing he is oversharing is something that no human being should ever feel safe saying out loud to anyone, except maybe a therapist.

But Knight isn’t really the point. You see, at the time of writing, Aimee Challenor is still — still — on the trans advisory board at Stonewall, an influential charity which advises many organizations with responsibilities for children, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Yes, that NSPCC. (And now, this NSPCC.)

Despite the fact that Challenor’s father was charged for an unspeakably dreadful and depraved crime, Aimee continued to use him as an election agent. David Challenor is currently serving a 20+ year sentence for raping and torturing a 10-year-old girl in the attic of the family home.

The Greens produced a report that meant Aimee scarpered rather than hang about to be disciplined, pausing only to shout “transphobia” on the way out the door. Then it was straight into the arms of the Liberal Democrats and a new man, who apparently shares the same taste for children — at least in his imagination — as David Challenor.

A Labour peer recently got fired from her position as the shadow Brexit secretary because she complained about a bunker mentality at the top of the party, but this is a problem that extends all the way across the UK Left. Anyone pointing out legitimate concerns with, for instance, the obvious ramifications of legally allowing individuals to self-identify as the opposite sex, is portrayed as a bigot and a bully, with a kind of message consistency that would be the envy of Fox News.

Feminists who question modern gender ideology are insulted by trans activists in suspiciously coordinated language. The same phrases come up again and again: “no debate,” “transwomen are women,” “trans rights are human rights” (whatever that means… Trans people have the same rights as the rest of us…) There are some — the majority — who repeat this messaging because they think it makes them appear more inclusive, more evolved, and because they haven’t thought beyond its superficially “kind” appearance.

But there are others — and I think David Challenor was one of them — who have a vested interest in lowering the standards of safeguarding in the UK and silencing those who raise the alarm about it. As social workers often point out, it only takes a few people to groom an organization — or, in this case, a whole movement — and people like David Challenor see the destruction of safeguarding norms as a way to normalize sexual practices and exploitation of children that would ordinarily attract a criminal sanction. Almost in the same way another person with paedophilic tendencies would replace the words “pornography” and “evil” with “smut” and “unethical.”

These women who must be silenced include Helen Watts, who was expelled from the Girl Guides for questioning Stonewall’s safeguarding policies. Stonewall (along with Gendered Intelligence) advised Girlguiding on its trans inclusion guidelines — guidelines that require males who identify as girls to use the same sleeping, washing, and changing facilities as females, without the prior knowledge or consent of parents. If girls object, the only remedy is to ask for a private space away from the others, or not take part.

“Girls are being groomed to ignore their own boundaries, to put the needs of males above their own, to never express a preference for single sex spaces for fear of being labelled a bigot.” Watts told me. “It’s revealing that while the Guides trans policy emphasizes that trans children must be protected from harassment and victimization, no such protection is offered specifically for girls who must have single sex spaces.”

As Helen also pointed out, “In all seriousness now, if Yaniv was in the UK and so inclined, [Yaniv] could be a girl guide leader. Girlguiding policy is that being a woman is a matter of self ID. Anyone who says they’re a woman can be a leader. Assuming [Yaniv] passed a DBS check (no convictions) then [Yaniv] is in.”

Women like Watts are now tagged for violence as “TERFs” by both gleeful misogynists and unthinking children who insist they are protecting the most vulnerable. Aimee Challenor is very likely a damaged young person for whom we should have sympathy, but sympathy should not extend to enabling such people to take influential lobbying roles with young people’s organizations.

And must it again be pointed out that both organizations have a duty of care — not only to the vulnerable LGB people who are affected by their guidelines and policies, but to Aimee Challenor?

One thing is certain, there is no way this person should be giving Stonewall any kind of advice. And while they are, no-one should be taking advice from Stonewall.

Graham Linehan is the comedy writer and director behind Father Ted, The IT Crowd, and Black Books.

Update, Jul 29 2019: Aimee Challenor has been removed from the Stonewall website. Congratulations to all the women who never stopped applying pressure to the organization.

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