We Have To Talk About Karen White Who Sexually Assaulted Four Women In Prison And Identifies As…

We Have To Talk About Karen White Who Sexually Assaulted Four Women In Prison And Identifies As Trans

If we don’t discuss this, those who wish to use the case of Karen White to demonize the entirety of the Transgender community, will.

It has long been preached that accepting transgender women into female places poses a risk to women and young girls. Preachers, politicians and conservative talk-radio hosts alike have all issued ominous warnings to their audiences. They leverage the ignorance of their fans against transgender people, shaping an ill-informed opinion based entirely on rhetoric and lies. We’ve dealt with this, as trans people, in every public space from bathrooms and locker rooms to sporting events and prom titles. In any event, we’ve had the benefit of facts on our side. Historically, there has never been an incident of a Transgender woman committing a violent sexual crime against another woman in a bathroom, a locker room or over not being allowed to be named Prom Queen.

The reality is, most of us are too preoccupied with our fear of retribution and violence, ourselves, to do much more than speak openly against the bigoted hyperbole… Has the bathroom issues on senate floors made it easier for you to walk into one in a restaurant without the niggling of anxiety behind the wall of your chest? Have you found yourself avoiding the use of public, gender specific spaces to avoid the potential of confrontation or humiliation? Sadly, we’ve been struggling with this long before it became a topical issue.

The case of Karen White coming out of the United Kingdom, which, unlike the USA, extends more rights and compassion to transgender people, is extremely disturbing but will be relevant to all of us who exist on the Trans spectrum. It will be used against us. It will be developed into a narrative of our collective characters and used to persecute us by proxy.

Karen White, 52, sexually attacked four women while incarcerated in an women’s detention facility. Prior to her detention, she informed the administrators that she identified as transgender, which resulted in her placement in the gender specific facility. She also claimed that she was not sexually attracted to women and did not possess the ability to achieve arousal. She lied.

Yet, this wasn’t Karen’s first attack. While going by the name Stephen Wood back in 2003, she was charged with another violent rape of which she plead guilty. Worse, just two years prior, she was jailed for sexually assaulting a minor. Her latest brutal attacks that landed her in prison happened in 2016, where again she plead guilty to two counts of rape involving another woman. Karen White was a known serial rapist.

It was only after the assaults became public record that people who knew Karen prior to her incarceration- including a female ex-lover- informed authorities that Karen only started identifying as a woman in 2014 despite never having received an official assessment or diagnosis by a qualified physician to confirm gender dysphoria. She had worked previously as a Drag performer, but her friends stated that she did not indicate, at any point, that she was transgender.

Karen White is most likely not Transgender at all, but a cross dressing cis-gender male who abused the system to gain access to a women’s prison where she could continue the long established pattern of predatory behavior. White deceived the court system, playing on their legal loopholes to achieve this and the system took everything she said at face value… despite her violent history toward women.

This is gross negligence by the justice system who never asked for supporting documentation, clinical records nor considered her past as a threat to women and children. This is a hard statement for me to make, because in America, we have thousands of transgender women guilty of non-violent crimes sitting in male prisons and being subjected to rape, discrimination, harassment and violence every single day by cis male inmates. Trans women in male prisons live in a state of perpetual fear for their lives. Some have even killed themselves to escape the torture. Indeed, in American, the Bureau of Prisons rolled back Obama era policies that protected transgender women in custody. Now, transgender people are assigned to prisons based solely on the identified state of their genitals. This is in spite of some transgender women, like me, being medically incapable of surgically transitioning due to the threat to my health. The attempt to surgically or even chemically transition would almost certainly end in death due to a genetic defect that predisposes me to heart attacks and strokes as a result of clotting- a risk that would only be elevated by hormone replacement therapies.

The case of Karen White is a devastating blow to all transgender women who might one day stand before a Judge because her actions have handed religious zealots, radical feminists and political conservatives a stick to beat us with. We already suffer incarceration in disproportionate numbers.

As a consequence of this case, the onus of responsibility isn’t being laid at the feet of those who executed poor decision making, but instead upon the entire transgender community. Recently, journalist Janice Turner of The Times referred to transgender women in female prisons as “Foxes in Hen Houses.” She did not condemn Karen White as an individual, but used Karen White to launch an attack on transgender people in the legal system. We’re being painted with the same brush as Karen White as she is being paraded about as an example of what we- me and people like me, are capable of- and asserting to others that we all have the same intent; To harm women and young girls. Turner lashed out against the legal system for making women vulnerable to us, labeling us predators.

Turner generated a lot of support, feeling her anti-trans stance is now legitimized- even Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling supported the article on twitter, much to the dismay of her transgender fans- who are not rapists. Actually, the abuse of transgender women stand only to escalate as a result of Karen White’s brutal crimes against women.

Karen White should pay the consequences for her crimes, all of which have left innocent women and children permanently scarred for the rest of their lives. We should not minimize White’s offenses, but we must ask that blame be placed where it belongs- With Karen White and the system that allowed a documented threat into an environment where she could harm more women. The blame should not be directed toward the transgender community.

Still, Women’s rights advocates and anti-trans Parliament members are suggesting an overhaul of the system which could see, just as we do in America, trans women placed in male prisons once again, despite their crimes or the severity of them. Parliament may now put the lives of thousands of transgender inmates at risk because of the actions of one- who wasn’t likely transgender at all.

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The Toxicity Of Blue Tick Culture

When Twitter introduced its verification program, it was simply to provide confidence in communication and authenticate the identities of notable, oft impersonated public figures. By 2018, the ever elusive verification checkmark became an elitist club who were guaranteed priority placement in news feeds, “Who to follow” suggestions and hashtag searches.

And now, Twitter have gifted those baring the blue badge of honor an even greater privilege- advertising to the casual user by inserting their posts into the newsfeeds of users who don’t follow them to encourage expanse of influence to those who already have it.

I started seeing random people showing up in my timeline a few weeks ago; Names I didn’t recognize who had posted benign statuses that were entirely irrelevant to me or my interests. These posts contained a small header informing me that someone I follow also follows this individual implying that I should too. I imagine it was about this time that people branded with the verified check mark saw a significant spike in followers as well, purely for having had the benefit of this free advertising.

Celebrities of any measure, some not really being celebrities at all, but perhaps some guy who wrote an article published in the Huffington Post in 2010, are dominating Twitter, influencing trending topics and controlling the overall algorithm as Twitter favors these accounts for no other reason than they have, when it was possible, verified their identity or had it done, by twitter on their behalf when deemed a person of public interest.

Even in a search for the simple common name “Frank” the first suggestion in the results are all those who have been knighted by twitter as relevant, essentially presuming you, the searcher, must mean one of these Franks.

Hashtags now work the same way. In searching for a simple, innocuous hashtag such as the word “Holiday,” the user will find random people placed strategically in the “Who to Follow” suggestion box. I don’t know why such a search is encouraging me to follow someone named Tamika Harris, T.I or, That Boy Jrue as I have no idea who any of them are. I might understand if they were travel agents looking to book me a cruise at a competitive discount, alas, this is not the case.

Awkwardly, Twitter’s verified function provides only verified accounts as first returns to this query. In this case, a porn star who has a bit of a hashtag fetish and uses them quite liberally. At least the Travel Channel made a little more sense in context. Credit where credit is due.

Twitter’s discovery features, which is intended to expose the user to interesting or engaging accounts on topics of interest is certainly failing in every aspect. Again, I’m frequently asked to follow strangers upon logging in, but only those who have the blue tick next to their name and they’re never anyone I’m remotely interested in. Twitter doesn’t care. “Look at this person!”

The recent move to curate content that serves only one community- those of the Blue Tick Cult- has made it more of a distraction than an asset to the platform. As users became aware of the favoritism expressed toward those with verified accounts, naturally, every day plebians started clamoring for it themselves, inundating the gatekeeper, an account called @ Verified, with hundreds of thousands of requests from around the globe pleading for the virtual gift.

The blue tick is no longer a symbol of authenticity, but one of status and privilege instead. Now, they’re influencers who are put on the front page of “Moments” and are suggested immediately to new users signing up who need a few friends to follow. Twitter places these knighted users in proverbial bold print at the center of attention while the rest of the struggle to sift through them to find their friend, Frank.

It’s important to note that not every individual of interest is brandishing a checkmark while some, with a few hundred followers and an IMDB page boasting their role as an extra in Gossip Girl are. The process of verification seemed selective, at best, and the chances of being verified depended more on whether the overseer woke up on the right side of the bed and had a hearty breakfast than if the user making the request was actually qualified.

In 2017, Twitter decided to give the blue tick treatment to notorious white supremacist and alt-right leader, Richard Spencer. Suddenly, the new age Nazi was finding his posts in the spotlight, taking up prime real estate in searches and placed in the coveted position of “Who to Follow” along the sidebar. They gave the same treatment to White Nationalist Jason Kessler who bragged about it to his bigoted fans.

The backlash was swift, justifiably. The users of Twitter, along with the media, took twitter to task for their flawed judgement- a consequence of their good day/bad day decisions on who to let sit at their table of elites. Their golden reputation had been forever marred, and commoners were even more incensed by the gesture than ever before.

In response, a year ago now, Twitter began unverifying these accounts, which often promoted violence and hate speech toward minorities and then they shut down their verification program all together with this statement:

Of course it is an indicator of importance, as Twitter’s very own design and function indelibly made it so. They alone are responsible for what they allowed the blue check mark to imply, and how accounts wielding it are thrust into our feeds and sidebars like apostles of the Lord Christ himself. That they insinuate otherwise is practically offensive in its own right. The throngs of people desperately begging for it like Jr. High Students in gym class hoping to be picked for the champion dodge ball team prove it. They have fashioned their verification marker as a symbol of elevated status in Twitter hierarchy whether they’ll admit it or not. They continue to curate our content and ceaselessly promote verified accounts- not by interest, but implied significance above all others. Who wouldn’t want those benefits or expedited acquisition of followers? Who wouldn’t want their daily 280 character musings situated where the rest of us see them first whether we ant to or not? That’s why pursuit of a verification icon became a universal pursuit. Not only did it legitimize the user, but ushered them into Twitter’s own VIP area of the web.

And when they started verifying the wrong people? They closed it down indefinitely. It is remains inactive, according to a Twitter spokesperson. However, Twitter administrators are still verifying people discreetly if they’ve seen them on American Idol or in a Viral video on YouTube, but they have completely closed the door on the general public. If they don’t know your name, you’re not getting verified, irregardless of your notability or achievements in the greater world. Twitter has, in effect, become its own world.

It’s a world where blue badgers tweet at us but rarely interact. They accrue thousands of followers a day on the basis of their status alone, not because they’re interested, but their presumed legitimacy instead. “They have a blue badge, they must be relevant.” mentality has hijacked the ability to have open, productive dialogues. Younger users post in their profiles how many verified accounts follow them as if they’re collecting Pokemon. Most blue badgers tweet, but rarely engage. They’re figureheads. Royalty. There in theory, not in practice. They talk at their followers, not to them. We’ve come to accept this as a form of in-crowd behavior in which those with refuse to acknowledge those without the varsity letter.

In March, CEO Jack Dorsey claimed to be revamping their verification system stating they were intending to verify everyone upon it’s return. Maybe they intend to level the playing field and develop a more equal form of micro communication wherein non-verified users aren’t relegated to the shadows of the site, struggling to gain a few followers. That never happened.

In fact, now they they’re injecting verified accounts into our timelines whether we follow them or not demonstrates the exact opposite.

One must consider Twitter’s system broken, beyond repair and in need of a dramatic overhaul if we’re ever to see the platform return to an organic format in which users are awarded based on the quality of content and not their perceived level of celebrity to the employee sitting at the switch.

Otherwise, it’s just another site where a few selected people are granted an expanded audience while the rest of us tweet to ourselves.

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