4 August 2022

What is it that the Bigots and Conspiracy Theorists fear about Drag Queens reading stories to children?

Demonstrators in Brighton and Hove see off an assortment of racists and fascists led by the King of Conspiracy Theorist, Piers Corbyn

Bigots & Piers Corbyn Demonstrate Against Drag Queens Reading Stories to Children

There was a demonstration by hundreds of people on Thursday at Brighton’s Jubilee Library against an assortment of fascists, cranks and conspiracy theorists who were attempting to prevent drag queen Aida H Dee from reading stories to children.

They were led by Piers Corbyn who seems to take pride in his idiocy. Leading chants of ‘your parents were straight’ and speaking of the New World Order it is clear that Corbyn has become gripped by a pathology that prevents all rational thought.

The pervasive idea that gripped the counter demonstrators was that by being read stories by a drag queen the ‘innocence’ of young children was being compromised and that they were being groomed.

Hove Bigots Demonstrate

These people have a fear of any sexuality which isn’t straight and believe that by coming into contact with those who are gay or transgender children will be contaminated and converted. Simply as a matter of fact children are sexual beings. They are inquisitive about their own bodies and that of other children. They will often play ‘doctor’ and play with themselves. That is a normal part of  growing up. For fascists and racists, children are innocent until they reach puberty. See Child sexuality.

The idea that children might experiment with different gender roles is a threat to those who cannot envisage anything other than male and female stereotypes. Anyone who has actually had children knows that they like to experiment in for example dressing up as the other sex or playing different roles.  But for the fascists and the assorted nutcases who gathered in Brighton and Hove this is a threat, not least to their own identity.

Not all those who demonstrated in Brighton and Hove were fascists but a good proportion were. I received an email a week ago from the outright neo-Nazi  Patriotic Alternative boasting that

Patriotic Alternative has led the charge to oppose this clear attempt to introduce children to sexualised material.’

We were accused by them of being paedophiles (a favourite accusation of neo-Nazis), grooming children and we were otherwise subject to abuse from these low lives. The irony is that it is the far right which has always contained within it numerous child abusers and paedophiles.

Hove Paedophile Woman

This should be no surprise since authoritarian political movements are a magnet for those who want to dominate others, including children. It is the Right and far-Right which have always supported beating children. Of course that was for their own good! Nothing to do with child abuse or their own sexual proclivities.

The woman in the video who accused us of paedophilia, was repeating a standard fascist trope belies the evidence. Below are a few examples.

Child abuse, paedophilia and the far-right

Despite his claim to campaign against child abuse, no one has been friendlier to paedophiles and child abusers than Tommy Robinson. Robinson has repeatedly equated Muslims with child abuse yet the statistics are quite clear. The actual data shows that the ethnic origins of those convicted of sexual contact with children are pretty much the same as the ethnic mix of the UK.

What is clear though is that fascists and neo-Nazis are over represented amongst those who are convicted. Below are a few examples:

1.            In 2010 Tommy Robinsons friend Richard Price was convicted of making 4 indecent images of children. Far from condemning Price a campaign was launched by the EDL for his release. Robinson wholeheartedly supported Price, claiming he had been “stitched up” and that “Price has no idea how they were on his computer.”

Since its formation, there have been at least 20 members and supporters of the EDL convicted of child sexual exploitation offences. At least 10 of these were active while Robinson was still leading it.

2.            The most shocking case was that of Robert Ewing, who murdered schoolgirl Paige Chivers. He was later prosecuted for abusing two other children.

3.            Leigh Mcmillan, a senior EDL figure was sentenced to 17 years after abusing a 10 year-old schoolgirl 100 times in the mid-1990s.

4.            In 2010, EDL supporter Brett Moses was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexual grooming.

5.            In 2011 John Broomfield, an active EDL supporter, admitted 20 counts of making indecent images of children. The police found 236 indecent images depicting children and babies on his computers.

6.            Also in 2011, Michael Coates was charged with a series of sex offences, including two attempted rapes. He was active in the EDL splinter group the North West Infidels.

7.            In 2011, a gang of racists attacked Redbridge Islamic Centre. Elliot Jones, one of the attackers on that day, was convicted of trying to incite a child into sexual activity.

8.            Mark “Archie” Sleman was an EDL supporter who was active in London and Exeter. He was imprisoned for nine years in 1994 for the kidnap and rape of a ten-year-old girl.

9.            In 2012 EDL member Matthew Woodward was charged with possession of images of children as young as 10.

10.       Michael Kinnear, who was active in the EDL was gaoled in 2015 after police found images on his mobile of a primary school aged girl “performing a type of striptease” and in a state of undress.

11.      47 year old Paul Whiteside was given a 10-month jail sentence suspended for two years for abducting a school girl. Whiteside had previously campaigned against ‘Muslim grooming of young girls in Lincolnshire.’

12.            Other EDL child abusers and sex offenders include Bradley Daniel Alford, Alan Boulter, Pete Gillett, Luke Atkinson, Dean Chambers and Bruce Cordwell amongst many others.

13.       More recently, Robinson once again found himself allied with a sex offender. In June 2017, he shared a stage with William Charlton at a rally in Sunderland at an event where the sexual abuse of children was the key theme of the speeches. It later transpired that Charlton was found guilty of distributing an indecent photograph of a child. 

I could go on but as I said, fascism attracts people who love uniforms and worship authority. Children are their ideal targets because of their vulnerability which is why their accusations of paedophilia are a means of projecting their own inadequacies onto others.

Gender Criticism

However there is also another aspect to this fear of people who don’t conform to ‘normal’ gender stereotypes.

As people will know from previous blogs, I do not agree with much of transgender ideology when it comes into conflict with women’s demands for autonomy.  In particular I find it difficult to accept the claim that a transwoman is a woman sexually when that clearly isn’t the case biologically.  Likewise I can’t accept that mere self-definition without more therefore means that a man can claim to be a woman.

However I have always been clear that we should not countenance prejudice or discrimination against transgender people. I find it strange that this debate focuses primarily on transwomen and not on transmen even though the majority of trans people are the latter. I have no doubt that a section of transwomen are imbued with what might be called masculinist ideology. For example the attack on a group of feminists by transwomen in 2017 in Hyde Park.

What has though shocked me is that someone who I know as a gender critical feminist posted to me an article critical of the drag queen story telling and when I pointed out the far-right connections she was nonchalant about this. 

Last year the Institute of Race Relations published an article by Sophia Siddiqui arguing that gender critical feminists were peddling a far right agenda. I wrote to them at the time saying that they might find that they were embarking on a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Feminists around Womens Place UK and other gender critical feminists have a responsibility to clearly and explicitly dissociate themselves from the fascist inspired demonstrations in Reading, Brighton and Hove and other places.  Otherwise their gender critical   ideology will be seen as nothing more than an attack on trans people per se.

Piers Corbyn

I have a few words to say about Piers Corbyn who I have just unfriended on Facebook. I sent him a message:

After today I am removing you as a friend. You have come a long way from a squatters leader and member of the IMG to someone who demonstrates alongside Patriotic Alternative and assorted fascists and bigots. I have no idea what has taken hold of you but you are working with an assortment of cranks and conspiracy theorists. Clearly socialism and a class analysis play no part in your world outlook or analysis. From always being an eccentric you have made idiocy your byword.

I first knew Piers over 40 years ago when he was the leader of the London Squatting Union as well as a member of the International Marxists Group. Now he comes across as a deranged conspiracy theorist, a climate denier and anti-vaxxer who happily works with fascists and other freaks.  He has now decided to join these people in ‘protecting children’.  It is true that children do need to be protected but primarily from Corbyn and his fascist friends.

Hove Paedophile Woman

The irony is that it was the parents of the children who were taking them to the story time, so it was they who were being accused of being paedophiles and groomers by these misfits and bigots.

This was undoubtedly distressing to the parents which was why it was necessary that we outnumbered them. CNN quoted one parent who had to pass through a Patriotic Alternative demonstration in Reading:

Rosie said she was unprepared for the vitriol she encountered at the library, where protesters waved signs reading "Stop grooming children" and a line of police officers ushered parents into the building. At least one mother was crying inside as protesters played the theme song to British TV show "Jim'll Fix It," whose late host was a notorious ​child sexual abuser, on loudspeakers outside the library.

"It was just horrible. I was expecting it to be a joyous thing, considering it had been Pride a couple of weeks ago in Bristol." Instead, she said the harassment by protesters was "very backwards and (I feel) naive to think there's been any progress."​​

Bigots and fascists chant 'Antifa Out' - an obsession of Trump loyalists and assorted White Supremacist groups

At least one person chanted ‘antifa out’.  Antifa being an anti-fascist organisation that Trump demonised in the United States. These are the people that Corbyn has decided to link up with.  He should remember the saying about those who lie down with dogs get up with fleas!

Tony Greenstein 


  1. Great analysis Tony. Thank you for the part you played in protecting parents & children trying to enter the library......not usually considered a high risk activity!!! Keep up the good work comrade!!

  2. An interesting and disturbing article. Piers Corbyn has had a long association with right wing libertarian individuals and think tanks, particularly when it comes to climate change, the first recorded such event he appeared at being in 1995 (https://www.desmog.com/piers-corbyn/), so perhaps his hobnobbing with neo-fascists here is no surprise.

    It's good that you acknowledge the danger that gender-critical feminism might fall into this trap as well, but my feeling is that this would not be some political aberration, but is the result of this strand of feminism depending on a series of non-arguments. First is a distortion of the legal implications of self-recognition (see https://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/gender-recognition-self-determination-and-segregated-space/).

    Secondly, is the reduction of trans issues to matters of sexuality. Here, I think, you make a mistake in your mention of child sexuality in not making a distinction between adolescent and pre-adolescent stages, when clearly a huge change takes place with the onset of puberty. My understanding is that most trans people start to experience gender dysphoria well before puberty, which means it is not something provoked by the sexual feelings that accompany puberty. Saying that trans people are motivated by how they want to express their adult sexuality seems to me to invite arguments that they are some kind of "sexual deviant" and this is reinforced by all the talk about invasion of women's spaces, which I think is central to the arguments of Women's Place UK (for example). So I am not surprised that some of them will gravitate to the far-right, as that is where a lot of these arguments are now expressed most strongly.

    Finally, is the argument about sex and gender. This is complex, but it has to be acknowledged that sex is not as easy to define biologically as most people think (genitalia/DNA). The trouble that Caster Semenya has had illustrates that. Those who are interested can read about the biological/social aspects in the following articles:


  3. "The idea that children might experiment with different gender roles is a threat to those who cannot envisage anything other than male and female stereotypes."

    There is no such thing as "transgender children". Trans is an adult concept.

    The entire edifice of transgender ideology is built on and dependent on maintaining sex-based stereotypes, without which "transition" (eg a man "living" as a woman) would be impossible.

    What is the difference between "Womanface" and "blackface"?

    The left's myopic adherence to regressive, misogynist trans activist misappropriation of women's existence, spaces and services has left the field of objection wide open to exploitation by the far right.

    We reap what we sow.

    1. I'm not saying there is such a thing as trans gender children. I think you are over egging the pudding when you say the 'entire edifice'. That assumes that there is no such thing as gender dysphoria.

      certainly transgender ideology makes assumptions about sex-based stereotypes but then we all live within the confines of such stereotypes whether we like it or not.

      There is a vast difference between what you term 'woman face' and 'black face'. The latter came from the legacy of lynching and slavery. Men dressing up as women has a long history in theatre going back to Shakespeare and the Globe and is entirely different. I'm not justifying it but it is not the same phenomenon.

      I've made my own views about the idea that a man can simply proclaim himself to be a woman. But I don't accept that all trans women are simply misognysts. Some are but not all by any means.

      If the far-Right exploits these issues then it is feminists duty to dissociate themselves from those who are no friends of women, gay or transgender people.

  4. Tony- you are correct to describe parallels and contradictions between the far right and so-called "gender critical feminists". There are both parallels and contradictions. Neither, it would appear, are happy about drag queens reading stories to children. However, gender critical and material feminists will call out the homophobia of both the far right and transgender ideology, with the latter refusing to accept sexual preferences, arguing that there are only gender preferences (such that a man identifying a woman and wanting to date women is a lesbian).You might want also to call out this contradiction. Furthermore, it might not have escaped your notice that misogynistic men on the left take great pleasure in having an excuse to denigrate and silence "bolshie" women with whom they disagree, with material and gender critical feminists being a prime target.

    In Bristol last week, there were two groups of protesters outside the Henleaze Library. Notably, Antifa was there in black clothes, black masks and, curiously, with trans flags, shouting out trans slogans. Now, there is no reason to believe that drag queens are always transgender- unless you adopt the very wide definition of "trans" adopted by Stonewall, where the trans umbrella includes transvestites and gender non-conforming people (the latter would probably make me trans). Whatever, it was inappropriate for the Antifa protesters, in their black and masks to be shouting in front of a library. Incidentally, the anti-drag queen protesters were all in ordinary clothes with hand-made posters and no flags.

    Finally, I am surprised you do not see the "black-face" "woman-face" parallel. Drag queens portray a highly sexualised, parody version of womanhood, with extreme make-up and wigs. I don't see how anyone on the left should find it remotely funny or OK.

    1. Dear Esther,

      I think it is a principle that socialists and feminists should never been seen on the same side as fascists, racists and homophobes.

      I don't accept that there is an equivalent between 'black face' and what you call 'woman face'. The former were a product of slavery and lynching. The portrayal of Black people as children. Drag queens as in Pantomime Dames are not the same and you know it.

      I really don't believe that you should have been protesting alongside the bigots. This reading of children's story by an autistic drag queen was nothing to be concerned about.

      The 'concerns' of protesters about the children was hypocritical. They were taken there by their parents. The reading was not sexual.

      The reader was the equivalent of a pantomime dame, nothing more. Do you protest against the annual pantomime which children love so much?

      The fascists and bigots in Brighton called us 'paedophiles'. That is what they called gay people remember? I accept what you say about drag queens not necessarily being transgender.

      I don't accept your strictures about the Antifa protesters. Where there are fascists there should be an anti-fascist presence. I'm sorry you weren't with them.

    2. I wasn’t protesting on either side, Tony. I’d never take the side of fascists. As far as I know, there weren’t fascists at the Bristol protests, although the Antifa protesters did a good job of intimidating people. I don’t accept that drag queens are harmless comedy in the style of pantomime dames. They come from a completely different place. And as for the autistic young man in Brighton, it is quite possible that he is vulnerable and being used for ideological purposes. I’d like to know why the Bristol antifa protesters deliberately and completely conflated drag with trans. Do you have any idea why they did this? Finally, you will know that the far right and feminists come from a completely different place on drag. The far right protest it because they want to maintain stereotypes (“men shouldn’t dress like that”). Feminists protest it because they reject misogynistic stereotypes (“women don’t dress like that”).

    3. I assume that this is Esther replying! Regardless I understand why gender critical feminists may have problems with drag queens though they too come in different shapes and sizes. However this particular event seemed entirely innocuous in terms of imposing a gender stereotype or ideology on the children.

      However we must never ever be seen to be on the side of those who would remove the rights of all women, gay and trans people. They are our enemy.

    4. And do you know why the pro-drag protesters were flying trans flags (the Antifa protesters in Bristol were flying only trans flags, and I can see that there were trans flags at the Brighton protest)?

    5. Esther, I'm not sure what a 'trans flag' is. But I assume the reason is because the right-wing protestors were equating the drag queen with being trans.

    6. The pro-drag protesters were using the trans flag. Why?

  5. Doesn`t Tony Greenstein believe in the Innocence of Children and how Impressionable they are. They Love their Mom and Dad. Why Confuse them with all the Gender Bender Variations.If they are allowed to live their lives without Indoctrination, they will make up their Own Minds up about their Sexuality.

    1. You are naive if you think children are innocent! They are highly inquisitive as you would know if you'd had children.

      There was nothing in the reading of a few stories to children by a drag queen that compromised either their 'innocence' or their love for mum and dad (this assumes that parents aren't often their main abusers).

      There was nothing sexual in the readings and the children concerned were taken to the readings by their parents. Bigots like you would no doubt ban the pantomime dame too.

      One of my sons loved dressing up as a witch and wearing girls' clothes. Thats quite normal as are girls who are tom boys.

      You labour under the impression that watching some who is a drag queen will compromise their sexuality. I doubt it and you are confusing transgender people with sexuality which is a different thing anyway

  6. Dear oh Dear! Don't be so po-faced Tony and 'befriend' Piers back on social media. We all know Piers Corbyn is a harmless eccentric campaigner of and about allsorts of issues who means no malice to anyone. Who takes notice of him anyway?

  7. Slightly off-topic, although not completely unrelated - what do you think of the contrarian/post-left, and anti-woke/anti-identity politics left ?


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