Did *you* know about Dinky Gordon?

***Long read***

Subtle radicalism escapes me — here though, is a salute to them as can do it, and an analysis of the huge myth-busting task feminists still face…

I can be a clod-hopper in all these big and passionately fought-over issues. How on earth do you go about being polite, subtle, and yet effective on issues like the imminent destruction of our NHS or our environment; in the face of cold, terrified, half-starved people in dinghies washing up on your beaches and getting arrested; in the face of wars, and regimes that routinely maim and kill women and children, whilst here in the UK, ‘nice’ men respond to women worrying about their safety and legal rights by shouting abuse and gleefully spreading ignorant slander.

… some women however, manage it and do much good as a result. Others just get called fascists. Here’s why:

Helen Joyce and her book 'Trans: when ideolodgy meets reality'

In Trans, by Helen Joyce, a vital element in the unpicking of the strategies of the gender-ideology industry is the accurate telling of some of the key ‘sex change’ stories that led to the common belief that you can be ‘born in the wrong body’ and that doctors can put this right for you via a one-off ‘sex change’ operation. The truth is nowhere near as simple as is generally believed, and the danger is that many people, mostly young women, embark on a career of medicalised struggle, with no idea what a hard and endless task they have given themselves, or how unlikely it is that ‘sex change’ will be the answer to their woes.


On my social media pages, activists in my town are still trotting out the same stupid arguments for sex ‘self-ID’ and ‘trans kids’ that they were five years ago. They are none the wiser as to what feminist arguments against those ideas actually are. This is because they’ve told each other that books like Helen Joyce’s are mad, bad, transphobic tomes, and should not be touched. Because Joyce is not a socialist, they tell each other she’s a fascist. The irony of it is that they would never believe that most of the women a generation or two older than them were always sympathetic to males who tried to ‘live as women’, let alone that we were sympathetic and protective of trans friends precisely because they knew the dream was impossible.

Even now, after years in which women have been abused, slandered and in some cases, arrested, the vast majority of women campaigning for their rights are still supportive of trans people, and those same deliberately uninformed ‘trans rights activists’ haven’t grasped that it’s an ideology – a relatively new belief about trans people, that those women object to.

What those misguided activists need is bite-sized pieces of truth appearing in books on other topics, and one such is Frostquake by Juliet Nicolson. Let me be clear, Frostquake is NOT a book about gender ideology, nor is it a blatantly feminist tome. It’s a very interesting book about what happens when society gets stalled, and people have to change their ways of going on (it compares the ten-week snow-in of 1962-63 with the effects of our recent COVID lockdowns). Of course, it’s worth reading for that reason but I mention it here because it was where I personally happened across the story of ‘Dinky Gordon’ for the first time.

In 1936, in the village of Sissinghurst, a child was born, and named Gordon. The child had unconventionally proportioned genitals, and the midwife was unsure of its sex but the child was registered as a boy. In her memoir, which Nicolson quotes, Gordon is clear that she had always known she was a woman but the adults in her family, having introduced the child to the world as a boy called Gordon, warned her not to make embarrassing revelations. An aunt told her to treat her periods ‘like an insane relative you never hear about.’

The fact that she acquired the nick-name ‘Dinky’ in the village suggests that the subterfuge was not entirely successful but, after emigrating to the United States, Gordon fell in love with a man and, wishing to marry, went into hospital for ‘pioneering gender reassignment surgery’ and emerged as a woman called ‘Dawn Pepita’. The procedure she underwent allowed her to live more comfortably as what she was – a female – but it was termed, in popular conversation, as a ‘sex change operation’. As the text tells us, the children in Sissinghurst knew a magical story of a boy who changed into a girl and ‘only the grown-ups knew the real version’.

These days, there are precious few grown-ups left (and they are known as ‘terfs’). The internet is full of ‘sex-change’ stories. If not for fearless researchers like Helen Joyce, hardly any grown-ups would know the real versions of those stories. Perhaps though, it is books like Nicolson’s Frostquake, that are not ostensibly feminist, that will save us. Those who fear ‘evil terfery’ will not fear to read them, and might accidentally learn something.

The truth will out

We will eventually persuade the world that ‘sex-change’ is neither easy nor practical for humans. We will eventually find and dismantle all the agencies by which the lie that sex-change cures sex-related traumas has been fed to our children. We are at least beginning to persuade the world that it matters – but that work takes time, because the ideas that feed the ‘sex change’ myth have been embedded for decades – ‘Dinky Gordon’, born in 1936, was seen as a ‘pioneer’ – and stories of magical sex-changes are not just the tales of maverick individuals. There was a careful, well-funded plan. There was even an official report for gender-ideology lobbyists, with legal and procedural advice on how to go about it.

The origin of ‘no debate’

It is no accident that popular culture is now awash with stories of magical sex changes going back decades and yet somehow, in every story, there’s a bit of a fudge — often over what sex the subject was in the first place…

Click here to read James Kirkup on the now-notorious Denton Report

The plan those lobbyists had and in many cases still have, is introduced in The Denton Report. Most interestingly, it states that selling the idea of ‘the trans child’ depends on preventing public debate, which would show up the gaping holes in their theory.

Feminists have won in as much as there is now a public debate, but the gender ideology salesmen had a long start on most of us and we have a lot of myth-busting still to do before we see a truly well-informed public debate (it’s painful at the moment, seeing our politicians attempting to talk sense on this issue that they clearly don’t understand). Meanwhile, women across the country are constantly busy, checking local authority and company documents and policies, calling out the unfair and the deceptive wherever they find them.

Regular case-by-case wins are coming up now:

Click here to read about Scottish Rugby’s announcement in Sports Nation

And yet there are many, many hydra-heads still to be addressed. I had thought, for a while, that the smartest of our youngsters were escaping the sexist gender-ideology trap by declaring themselves ‘non-binary’, a nebulous ‘identity’ that apparently did not require hormones or surgery but then in 2022, I noted that East Sussex GPs received a potential funding package that included scope for ‘gender affirmation treatment for young non-binary people.’ So the battle is not won yet – the salesmen are still at it, persuading youngsters they need to ‘do’ something to ‘become’ what they supposedly authentically ‘are’ – and someone somewhere is earning money from it.


Most of the stories that have entered our public mythology are, like ‘Dinky Gordon’s, stories of people with DSDs – disorders, or differences, of sexual development. The conditions they have used to be called ‘intersex’ but that’s not an accurate word, because the vast majority of those people are unequivocally male or female. Furthermore, I think enough people with DSDs have now said they don’t like the term ‘intersex’ that we really should not be using it. It hurts them, to see their condition used by lobbyists to claim that they are ‘neither one thing nor the other’, as an evidence that ‘sex is a spectrum’. It isn’t, and they are not. As medical science developed, doctors have learned ways of telling which sex people with DSDs are, so we no longer have confused midwives guessing people’s sex.

The remaining sex-change stories are those of mature males who said they felt like women, or of mature females trying to avoid the aggression and intolerance lesbian couples have often faced, by pretending to be a ‘straight’ couple, one male, one female. The vast majority of them — and the vast majority of those now calling themselves ‘trans’ do not attempt a ‘sex-change op’, they just change their names and their appearance. Those are the solid facts we need to get across to the world, to undermine the myths that are used when our children are taught the lie that changing sex is common, or simple, or has been the answer to any young people’s problems. They are the myths that unevidenced, unproven idea of innate ‘gender identity’ are based on.

Selective memory

We all have selective memory – well, most of us do. If you attempted to remember everything, getting from one minute to the next would be unbearably complicated. You remember things when you realize they matter. That’s why, having learned that we need to persuade the world that the ‘sex change’ myth is dangerous to our children, I suddenly remembered an incident from around ten years ago. I was doing whatever I was doing in the kitchen, when partner looked up from the paper and said, “says here that 1 in 100 babies are born intersex.” He went on to tell me about how some doctors were now suggesting we should delay registering the sex of a child so as to avoid mis-assigning these ‘intersex’ babies. “Sounds reasonable,” I said. It was only much later – when I read Helen Joyce’s book, in fact, that I discovered where that term ‘sex assigned at birth’ came from. It was originally used only when talking about that minority of ‘intersex’ children whose sex at birth was unclear and nowadays, that is rare – and it was never 1 in 100 — but the term ‘sex assigned at birth’ is everywhere. Everywhere the magical sex-change myth has reached.

Only now, after a desperate crash-course in feminism, taken in order to join the battle against the destruction of women’s legal rights, do I see the alterior motive in all those articles that conflate people with DSDs, or tribes with ‘third genders’, with people who don’t wish to be seen as male or female, which has led to a whole legion of absolutely ordinary people to attach themselves to what was once the LGB movement for reasons no deeper than the obsessive following of fashions. If only it didn’t matter.

Women who go too far

Yes, there are mature adults who choose to ‘live as’ the opposite sex. We used to call them ‘transsexuals’. There weren’t many of them, and those we came across knew what sex they were biologically, had found their own way of living, and generally were not making demands on the rest of the world, such as the recent requirement that everyone believe they are the opposite sex, or the demand that women give up their legal rights to accommodate them.

It is those demands, ramped up with the aid of all those pernicious myths, that have led a few women to such a degree of exasperation and insecurity that they now want trans people to just ‘stop it’. You know, they can’t – those who’ve had the op, and rebuilt their lives – and why should they? It’s just too much for one person to demand of another. You don’t have to agree with someone’s ideas and preferences in order to tolerate their way of life.

It’s the legal threat to us, to our politics, our sports and our female spaces, that made some women feel that way, that and the vile tides of misogyny and bullying that we have discovered in the hearts of so many men, men who can’t abide seeing women standing up for themselves. That, by the way, was nothing to do with most trans people and so (this should be obvious) not their fault.

Humans can’t change sex. Sex is about your body, not your character or style of expression. To claim anything different is to fall into the trap of sexist thinking. That’s why it’s obviously wrong for schools to teach ‘gender identity’ theory to children. They should be telling the kids they can do and be anything they want, and that that has absolutely nothing to do with either pronouns or dress-style. Who you are is up to you, it’s not something doctors can ‘do to you’.

Will they ever define ‘transgender’?

Dawn Langley Simmons (Dinky Gordon) passed away a few years ago, and if you look up the obits, they tell of ‘a transgender woman’ – but a female can’t be a transwoman, and over in the States, where she died, it would seem few know how that confusion hurts people with DSDs, how it hurts women – including transwomen – how it hurts anyone who values truth and understanding.

In the meantime, all praise to feminist writers who have the skill to be subtle radicals. I like Frostquake, and I think you should consider reading it. It re-tells much that is familiar about the early sixties, but in a subtly different way. The stories of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies for example, get more lucid, and therefore more sympathetic, attention than they generally do, and the treatment of the pop-mania young people threw themselves into is thoroughly enjoyable, fizzing with joy and excitement, and yet laced with UXB lines such as “If [John] didn’t fancy a girl, he was nice to her.”

Help end the war

Once the truth about ‘sex change’ is generally known, our children will be safe. Once we have successfully pushed back against the proposed law and practice-changes that, among other things, allow sex offenders to talk their way into women’s prisons, women will feel safer, and rediscover the ability to live and let live. We need to get back to a place where feminists and trans people are not automatically set against each other as enemies. Then, we can look at the very real holes in the logic of the original GRA, and of current ‘equalities’ practice. Then, we can discuss what needs reforming, or shoring up, to ensure that everyone’s safe, and can get on with their own lives in peace.

I applaud the determination and persistence of the legions of women who have been at work, chasing down and questioning those Denton-inspired deceits wherever they arise. The vast majority of women have got on with this work with remarkable equanimity, despite the ever-increasing flood of misogynistic abuse that’s washed over them. Please support those women, please go talk to them and see how you can join in. I guarantee you won’t be far from a group of such women. We are everywhere. We are not, as Stonewall slanderously insist, a ‘noisy minority’ and nor do we seek to harm anyone. Far from it.

Thank you to all the women working on this, including you clever, clever women who keep really calm, and subtly drip-drip the things people need to know into the world. Please keep subversively spreading the truth – that always was the most satisfying, and perhaps the most effective way. After all, it almost worked for the people who commissioned that Dentons Report.


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3 responses to “Did *you* know about Dinky Gordon?”

  1. Great summary of the situation. But. You say “…the vile tides of misogyny and bullying that we have discovered in the hearts of so many men, men who can’t abide seeing women standing up for themselves. That, by the way, was nothing to do with most trans people …” I think this has everything to do with trans people. There is a backlash against gains made in protections for women and children from male violence. Trans identified females are trying to escape the increasing sexual objectification and subjugation. Trans identified males are either trying to escape the violent behaviors expected of them, or the opposite—break down barriers women put up to prevent male violence. It is all about misogyny.


    • I think you’re right, but coming from a different angle. I was talking about the blokey blokes who seem so keen to shut down women talking about their rights, and then they lose the plot and demonstrate what they really think of women – vide certain scenes in the House of Commons lately.

      Liked by 1 person

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