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Sunday, August 22, 2004

The ghost of Enoch

Guardian Unlimited

Nick Cohen
Sunday August 22, 2004
The Observer

Just before the Leicester South by-election on 15 July a flier was slipped under the windscreen wipers of cars in the constituency. It showed a picture of Parmjit Singh Gill, the Liberal Democrat candidate, shaking the hand of one Stephanie Dearden. She looked odd, like a man: indeed, the flier told us, she once was a man.
It announced in bold capitals that Singh Gill had joined the Liberal Democrats for GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL and TRANSGENDER Action. Underneath it quoted Ms Dearden as saying: 'I was born in 1956, and as a child growing up, I knew I was different than everyone else. As I got older I realised I was a woman trapped inside the wrong body ... I underwent a full sex change operation in 2002.'

No one knows who put the leaflet out. It may have been a rival party. It may have been a freelance queer-basher who got his angry thrills by monitoring obscure trans-gender websites. But the message to working-class voters was that the Liberal Democrats were a bunch of weirdoes who hung out with lady-boys and shemales - an appeal to prejudice which echoes much of modern political propaganda.


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