A complaint was issued against the “Dames on the Run” race, which is a charity race for Derian House Children’s Hospice. Among other things, they offer “Respite and palliative care to children [and] young people”.
According to a spokesperson for the charity, they “wanted to provide an opportunity for [fathers] to participate in a fun-packed event and encourage other men to show their support and raise vitally needed funds for the hospice.”
So, despite the fact that this is all for a fantastic cause, and will help bring smiles and fun to the faces of fathers in unimaginable pain and stress, the run has come under fire from Chrysalis Transsexual Support Group .
Steph Holmes, who is a memebr of Chrysalis, had this to say: “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.”
She went on to claim that the race for charity was “dehumanising” and even went so far as to say that it gave way to “those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.”
“Dehumanising us this way gives carte blanche to those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old. It’s a small step from ridicule to persecution. The current stats suggest that trans people have a 34 per cent chance of being 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 its a children’s hospice should make them sensitive to potential bad publicity and the effect that this has on young trans people.”
Naturally, Darian House were shocked at this outpouring of criticism and stated that the run was not intended to cause offense, but simply a way to encourage people to take part and raise funds.
They said, via an official statement: “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. Dames on the Run was conceived as a fun event, 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.
“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.”
There does seem to be a little confusion, though, as there are some reports that this was reported to the police as a hate crime, while others are claiming that it was not.
Steph Holmes herself said, while speaking with Gay Star News, that no such report was made: “I think the whole thing has been blown out of all proportion. It has also been very upsetting: reporting that Chrysalis would do something so vile like report [Derian House] to the police.”
And yet, several reports, including one on The Telegraph, are reporting that Lancashire Police are looking into it. The Lancashire were quoted as saying: “We are aware of and investigating an incident that was reported to us as a hate crime on Thursday.”
UPDATE: There is a post on the Chrysalis public group (which can be found here) from a member by the name of Victoria, who confirms that she did contact the police regarding this charity event. You can find a screenshot below.