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Unlawful Transphobic Discrimination at the RNLI – they are getting away with it!

Please sign my petition: http://www.causes.com/campaigns/96412-end-discrimination-at-the-rnli-against-transgender-people

The RNLI has recently shown itself to be transphobic: prejudiced against transgender people.  This came to light in the first instance when the management at RNLI Burry Port rejected the volunteer application of trans woman Kate Lesley on the grounds that, to quote what they actually said at a meeting on 16th June 2015:

“The ‘culture’ of the local RNLI Burry Port Lifeboat Station is too ‘macho’ to ‘cope’ with a trans woman as a volunteer.”

Some weeks later, in order to justify their rejection of Kate Lesley, they lied about this and denied what they had said, although this was also witnessed by Kate’s wife, Jane.

RNLI Headquarters then compounded the situation by failing to deal effectively with this discrimination.  Instead, they actually whitewashed the two individuals concerned at RNLI Burry Port and supported them in their misrepresentations about what happened.

The RNLI next fabricated a spurious excuse for Kate’s rejection, claiming that they were rejecting her because of her reaction to a previous incident when a member of the shore crew tactlessly and insensitively referred to her in the wrong gender – as ‘this gentleman’ – although he had previously been introduce to her as ‘Kate’. This was supposed to have been a ‘genuine mistake’ (you can decide for yourselves how likely this is by looking at the photos of Kate on this blog – she doesn’t look much like a man, does she?). It was very embarrassing at the time as it was in front of a group of parents and children from the local nursery, just up the road. Burry Port is a small place.

After inviting the RNLI Burry Port management to discuss this incident in a friendly way in order to help the Station avoid a mistake of this type in future, nothing happened for a couple of weeks, and it was assumed that Kate’s and Jane’s written volunteer applications were being processed and they would soon be starting their volunteer roles with the RNLI. It now appears the local management had already decided to reject Kate – because she had the courage to bring this initial incident to their attention. The opportunity to show a more inclusive, enlightened and progressive approach to LGBT people was to be squandered, because of their embarrassment, awkwardness and uncertainty about the best way to handle things.

Kate’s approach at this helpful, low-key meeting was untruthfully misrepresented some weeks later by the RNLI as ‘highly reactive’ and used as the spurious excuse for Kate’s rejection. It certainly was nothing of the sort.  It was an amicable meeting on all sides, from which much good might have come, if only the local management had known how to proceed in a mature and sensible way.

Kate’s rejection as a volunteer was despite the fact that, as a retired full-time classroom teacher for 15 years and a Tours and Talks Guide with the National Trust for 7 years, she was very well qualified and had plenty of experience of talking to the public, regularly giving talks to groups of up to 40-50 people.

Although she was giving up her spare time for free, rather than giving her a chance to prove what she could do as a volunteer to help them with their educational work, they said they didn’t even want her to start.

Kate and her wife Jane were flabbergasted – very shocked and upset. Jane had also volunteered to help them, but they say in their final response to us that they have not rejected her – could this be because she is not transgendered herself, just married to a transgendered person?  Apparently that’s okay, they just don’t want any LGBT people in person as volunteers.

To protest against this unlawful discrimination against Kate, please contact the RNLI as below and add your voice, so these bigoted and unenlighted people don’t get away with it.

And in case anyone thinks that the RNLI should be a ‘protected’ charity which one should never criticise, and how dare I bring this to the attention of the public through social media, let me state clearly now that I do appreciate the wonderful work done by the RNLI in rescuing folk from the sea, and the last thing I want to do is distract the RNLI from their valuable work in this regard. However, under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone for reasons of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity etc., and they need to be made accountable and brought to book for this.

If you wish to read the full transcript of all correspondence with the RNLI relating to the above, please now click on the link below:

pdf-all-rnli-corresp-to-09-09-15

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The RNLI Lifeboat Station in Burry Port, near Llanelli, Wales, is a very nepotistic institution. It is largely run by a closed-shop of the same local families, who treat it as their personal fiefdom, to do with as they wish. To judge by the attitude of their Operations Manager, they are small-minded and intolerant of diversity, keeping out anyone who may not fit into their restrictive ‘macho’ image of themselves. There is only one woman member of the crew out of 21, and she belongs to one of the local families which dominate the station.

Nepotism is rife at RNLI Burry Port. See their website and note the number of times the same surnames appear: Bowen, Griffiths, Morgan, Williams: http://www.burryportrnli.com/

Make no mistake – this is not because many people in Wales have common surnames – these people are all closely related; they are members of the same local families.  (The following list of names are publicly available on RNLI Burry Port’s own website, so I am not revealing anything confidential here: http://www.burryportrnli.com/ )

Roger Bowen – Lifeboat Operations Manager (L.O.M.)
Alan Bowen – Treasurer (L.M.G)
Beryl Bowen – Fundraisin Chairperson

Trevor Griffiths – Chairperson (L.M.G)
Alyson Griffiths – Fundraising Committee Treasurer

Haydn Morgan – Deputy Launch Authority (D.L.A.) & Lifeboat Sea Safety Officer(L.S.S.O.)
Susanna  Morgan – Crew & Education Officer
Gary Morgan – Crew & Education Officer
Rachel Morgan – Fundraising Committee

Steve Williams – Boathouse Manager
Byron Williams – Media Admin
Beverley Williams – Fundraising Committee

Unfortunately I have three ‘strikes’ against me – I am English, I am transgendered, and I am not a Bowen, a Griffiths, a Morgan or a Williams.

Please read below, and then please do support me in my campaign against these bigoted troglodytes, who are still living in a previous century.

If you wish, you can read the full transcript (see link above) of ALL correspondence with the RNLI – which makes interesting reading, showing how hard we tried to make the RNLI see sense.

Please support me by expressing your disgust with how the RNLI have treated me both at the local and national, headquarters level. Write to, email or phone the RNLI people concerned.  If enough folk contact them, maybe we will finally get the RNLI to respond as they should have done to the unlawful transphobic discrimination to which I have been subjected.  The RNLI claims to be a ‘Stonewall Diversity Champion’ – what a joke!

Contact Details:

Burry Port RNLI Website

BurryPort RNLI on Facebook

BurryPort RNLI on Twitter

Email: Burry-Port@rnli.org.uk

Station Telephone: 01554 832060

Burry Port Lifeboat Station
The Harbour
Burry Port
Carmarthenshire
SA16 0ER

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Lifeboat Operations Manager (L.O.M.), RNLI Station Burry Port: Roger Bowen
Mr Bowen lied about what was said at our meeting with him and Trevor Griffiths on 16th June; misrepresented the facts and failed to acknowledge or admit to any of the discriminative comments he made, subsequently inventing a spurious and untruthful excuse for my rejection as an RNLI volunteer while denying the true grounds, which were based on transphobic prejudice.

Email. Roger_bowen@rnli.org.uk

(These contact details are publicly available on RNLI Burry Port’s own website.)

————————————–

Trevor Griffiths – Chairperson Local Management Group (L.M.G), Burry Port Lifeboat Station (Took seven weeks to write a letter in response to our complaint, but denied what had been said at our meeting with them on 16th June).

————————————-

(The following contact details are publicly available on the RNLI Headquarters main website and linked webpages).

RNLI Chief Executive: Paul Boissier
‘Whitewashed’ the local RNLI station, claimed to believe their lies, failed to address the discrimination issue properly despite signing up the RNLI as a ‘Stonewall Diversity Champion’

Postal address:

Paul Bossier
Chief Executive RNLI
West Quay Road
Poole
BH15 1HZ

Email: paul_boissier@rnli.org.uk
Tel: 01202 663149
Fax: 01202 663306

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Inclusion & Diversity Officer: Susan Kingswood (Did very little in spite of her title and went off on holiday).

Address:

Susan Kingswood
RNLI O.D. Advisor
Inclusion & Diversity
West Quay Road
Poole
Dorset
BH151HZ

Email: susan_kingswood@rnli.org.uk

Tel: 01202 663338

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People and Transformation Director: Heid Allen
(Note her job description – this is not ironic, it is her actual title!  And she was one of the LEAST helpful people at the RNLI, totally lacking in empathy, and rather spiteful in her letter to me in which she confirmed my rejection.)

Postal Address:

Heidi Allen
RNLI People and Transformation Director
West Quay Road
Poole
BH15 1HZ

Heidi_Allen@rnli.org.uk

Tel: 01202 663137

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aka Amber Goth

It is now six months since I began living living full-time as a woman.

My transition to the female gender full-time came about in early July, following this year’s Sparkle Transgender Weekend in Manchester.  It came about as a direct result of attending a presentation given by Dr. Luis Capitan, one of the facial feminisation specialist surgeons from Facial Team, based in Marbella, Spain and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

I had a private consultation with Dr. Capitan (for which there was no charge, unlike some FFS specialists, who charge even for initial consultations).  Dr. Capitan was very kind and listened carefully to what I said.  I explained what I thought I needed to have done, and he did not try to sell me unnecessary procedures which I did not want, but understood that for me, the most important thing was facial feminisation itself.  It sounds obvious, but what I mean by this is that my wish was to look like a ‘normal’ woman for my age as far as possible (or maybe a bit younger!), but that I wasn’t aiming to look like a Holywood starlet or Barbie Doll.

Apparently this is what some trans women want. Whilst it may be possible if you are prepared to go to a lot of extra expense for facelifts, eyelid surgery, and God knows what else (in addition to facial feminisation surgery), I felt it was important to have realistic expectations and was delighted with my new brow and nose, as soon as I saw them!  I was actually just pleased to wake up after the surgery and not be in pain, thanks to the care I was given by Dr. Capitan, Dr. Simon and the other members of the surgical team.  And the two Patient Care Coordinators, Ana and Lilia, also looked after me very well.

As will be seen from the photos on my previous post, I had very little bruising or swelling and after only seven days I didn’t look too bad at all, and was able to go for walks along the sea front in Marbella.  In fact, the bars and restaurants on that part of the promenade, near the Princesa Playa Apartment Hotel, are used to seeing Facial Team patients swathed in bandages – so I did go out even while I still had a nose plaster and pressure bandage on!  But I have always been quite upfront and honest with folk, so when we got chatting in the nearby Italian restaurant with the proprietors, I just told them about myself and why I was in Marbella.  I went back to show them the results a few days after the surgery, and they were so lovely in saying I looked fantastic now, although I still had the stitches in my nose!

There were two other Facial Team patients at the same hotel, Paula from Holland and Josephine from France, who were very pleasant people, and we wondered about all going out together in our bandages and sitting outside one of the bars – but we thought it might be a bit unfair on the owners – as what a frightening sight we would have made for other promenaders on the front!  (So we never did it – but it was nice to have other girls who were going through the same thing to talk to.)

So, my decision to stay as Kate and not to go back to being ‘him’ last July, after Sparkle, happened because I decided definitely to go ahead with facial feminization surgery, and it seemed stupid having made that major decision not to go full-time as a woman.  I was surprised myself, and I still am a little in shock that I finally made the decision so easily, but I guess it had been coming on for years, as I had been Kate more and more, and had been taking female hormones for over five years.  I think it was something that I always knew, at some deep, sub-conscious level, was bound to happen eventually.

And it is also strange that perhaps I knew that I would have FFS at some point – see my very first post on this blog, back in 2008: https://ambergoth.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/facial-feminizing-surgery-%E2%80%93-my-first-blog-entry/

At that time I didn’t know I would be able to have FFS in Spain, and thought I would have to go to California.  I am so glad that I had it done is Spain with Facial Team, as it it was such an easy low-cost flight to Malaga airport with EasyJet, and everyone at Facial Team looked after me so well.  I did get a quote from the clinic in San Fransisco, and also from the Boston clinic, but the U.S. clinics quote ridiculous prices, and there are so many extras they charge for – and of course it is much further to go back there if anything goes wrong.  The Facial Team quote was reasonable and included free accommodation at the Princesa Playa Apartment Hotel, an offer which they do at certain times of the year.  They arranged everything for me, and took the worry out of it, as much as it is possible to do, bearing in mind it is major surgery and it is fairly natural to feel a bit afraid. But in the end, by the second week, I just felt I was on holiday, as did Rosie, my partner, who had a great time and did some good Christmas shopping in Marbella.

So – how do I feel two months after my FFS and six months after transitioning?  Well, pretty fantastic, actually.  No regrets at all, and I have found myself wondering why I thought it was such a big deal and was so worried about transitioning and having FFS.  If you are considering either, go for it girl – you won’t be sorry!   Finally becoming the woman I always knew I was inside – is great!

It is five months since I transitioned from male to female and became Kate full-time.  It is just over a month since I had my Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS).

I have been moved by the number of people who have been supportive during and after my transition.  Strangers and acquaintances online who I have never met in the flesh have also wished me well.

To quote Blanche DuBois in A Street car Named Desire, the great play by Tennessee Williams:  ‘Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.’

Thanks to you all, for your kindness and friendship.

In fact, I am fine.  Just feeling a little bit tired and emotional, on the day that I uploaded to YouTube my most personal video to date:

http://youtu.be/0iegp8AYt0o

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the other places you can find me on the Internet as either Amber Goth or Kate Lesley:

Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/ambergoth  – Amber Goth on Twitter

http://twitter.com/#!/trannyfiction  – Kate Lesley on Twitter

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/ambergoth  – Kate Lesley (Amber Gothy) on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/pages/FFG-Transgender-Fiction/148632725157529?ref=ts  Transgender Fiction Facebook Site

http://www.facebook.com/mobile/?settings#!/home.php?sk=group_157755277597309  Transgender Fiction Facebook Group

Websites:

http://www.tgfiction.co.uk/   – FFG Transgender Fiction Download Website

http://www.tvfiction.com/  – FFG Transgender Fiction Printed Magazines Website

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ambergoth – Amber Goth on YouTube

WordPress Blog: https://ambergoth.wordpress.com/  – Amber Goth’s WordPress Blog
(where you are now).

I have started a new Facebook Group – anyone who likes transgender fiction can join: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_157755277597309

Yes, I have two Facebook accounts now.

I realise I haven’t blogged for ages.  I will try to find the time to write something here very soon.

Meanwhile, you might like to know I am now ‘tweeting’ – you can visit my two Twitter accounts below:

Amber Goth on Twitter

Tranny Fiction on Twitter

I have hardly any followers on Twitter! Please do follow me, as I will be able to Twitter more often than I can blog

Tales of Crossdressing Volume 10 has also just been published

That’s all for now, folks.

Pope Benedict XVI says saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

The pope used his traditional end-of-year speech to say a few words about what he considers the important issues of the day. In a world where the practices of greedy bankers and corrupt financiers have forced the global economy into recession, and the insane policies of evil African dictator Robert Mugabe have caused the outbreak of a cholera epidemic and driven his own people to the brink of starvation, the 81 year old pontiff felt an attack on homosexuality and transgenderism was the best way to make use of his end-of-year address to senior Vatican staff.

Pope Benedict looks askance at gays and transsexuals

Pope Benedict looks askance at gays and transsexuals

At a time when a record number of homes even in more affluent countries are being re-possessed and many people find themselves unemployed and facing an uncertain future, the pope emphasised his total rejection of ‘Gender Theory’. While people are facing starvation, disease and genocide in the failed states of Africa – Zimbabwe, the Sudan and Somalia, to name but three of the worst – the 81 year old ex-member of the Hitler Youth showed where his priorities lie by saying that homosexuality and ‘Gender Theory’ are as big a threat to humanity as environmental challenges such as the destruction of rainforests.

 

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe raises his fist against the decadent West

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe raises his fist against the decadent West

Pope Benedict XVI explained that defending God’s creation was not limited to saving the environment, but also protecting man from self-destruction.

The pope warned that ‘Gender Theory’ blurs the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the “self-destruction” of the human race.

Gender theory

Gender theory explores sexual orientation, the roles assigned by society to individuals according to their gender, and how people perceive their biological identity.

   

Gay and transsexual groups, particularly in the United States, promote it as a key to understanding and tolerance, but the pope disagrees.

It is not “outmoded metaphysics” to urge respect for the “nature of the human being as man and woman,” he told scores of prelates gathered in the Vatican’s sumptuous Clementine Hall.

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage. It teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

In 2005 (his first year in office), Pope Benedict XVI upheld a ban on men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” becoming priests, and also described homosexuality as a “tendency” towards an “intrinsic moral evil”.

The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition – from 1981 until his election. His defence of church doctrine led to him to be called “the Pope’s enforcer” and “God’s rottweiler”.

Joseph Ratzinger was elected to the papacy in April 2005. At the age of 78, he was the oldest cardinal to become Pope since Clement XII was elected in 1730. Joseph Ratzinger was born into a traditional Bavarian farming family in 1927, although his father was a policeman. At the age of 14, he joined the Hitler Youth and was briefly held as a prisoner of war by the Allies in 1945.

Could there be another reason why the pope has used his end-of-year address to speak out against homosexuality and transsexuality? Perhaps he hopes that the traditionalist, ant-gay wing of the Church of England will depart from the Anglican Communion and re-join the Catholic Church.

It cannot have escaped the elderly pontiff’s notice that in July 2008 the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan declared that Gene Robinson, the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire, “should resign for the sake of the church.”

In a press conference at the decennial Lambeth Conference, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul said that homosexual ordination “is not what is found in the Bible” and that it is “not the norm of the Anglican world.”

Archbishop Bul, who serves as Bishop of Juba as well as primate of the church in Sudan, represents some of the most persecuted Christian minorities in the world, and lives in the country where Mrs. Gillian Gibbons was last year accused of insulting Islam. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 15 days in a Khartoum jail.

What had she done? Sheffield-born Mrs. Gibbons, mother of two, primary school teacher – and clearly a danger to the Sudanese state and to the whole Islamic religion – had allowed the seven-year-olds in her class at the Unity High School, Khartoum, to name their teddy bear Mohammed!

Did the pope speak out when the Sudanese government of President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir persecuted a harmless, 54-year-old English primary school teacher? Did he denounce this ludicrous, outrageous act of bullying? No, he did not – even though he is no lover of Islam. In 2006, in a controversial papal speech, the Pope quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things. This provoked intense anger in the Muslim world. He recently generated more anger among some Muslims by personally baptising a prominent Muslim convert, Magdi Allam, who has been an outspoken critic of Islamist militancy and a strong supporter of Israel.

 

A boy dressed in a girl's bathing costume in the late 1950's

Amber dressed in a girl's bathing costume and girl's blouse

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