The Toronto Star Quadruples Down

Kathy English, “Public Editor” at the Toronto Star claims that the letter received by Ken Gallinger was real – as is the 70-year-old woman who wrote it.

I cannot tell you with absolute certainty that a letter published recently in the Star’s “Ethically Speaking” column from a “senior” woman recounting the inappropriate sexual behaviour of a transgender woman in a Y change room is not a hoax concocted for political purposes.

I can tell you I have telephoned and talked to the North York woman whose name is on the email sent to Star ethics columnist Ken Gallinger in October. I have also confirmed that the YMCA of Greater Toronto received a similar letter from a former member in late fall. Last week, an executive of the organization contacted the same North York woman I talked with.

If this woman’s letter was a hoax perpetuated by organized forces opposed to transgender rights, as many in the transgender community through North America and beyond have declared with all certainty, then it is indeed a grand and elaborate one played on both the Star and the YMCA.

Lets look closer, shall we?

The woman would not agree to come forward publicly for this column.  She spoke confidentially to me, in line with her expectation of confidentiality in the ethics column.

So the Toronto Star doesn’t want to practice Caleb Hannan-esque journalism on the poor woman?

She spoke confidentially to me, in line with her expectation of confidentiality in the ethics column.

I think we’ve already seen where the Toronto Star’s readers’ expectations that letters presented to them by Ken Gallinger are legitimate rank in the Star’s pantheon of ethical concerns, so I’ll just move on with examining what Editor Kathy has to say.

She told me she is 70. She said the incident she described in her letter to Gallinger in which a naked “man” claiming to be a transgender woman behaved inappropriately happened “a couple of years ago” in the late afternoon in the women’s locker room of the Toronto Y on Sheppard Ave.

The plot thickens…

you know…

like blood that has congealed after oozing from the corpse of a murdered trans woman.

This woman is aware of accusations her letter is a hoax. To that she said: “I have no agenda, just an incident. Why would anyone lie?”

Please note that as I write this – around noon CST on Jan. 19, 2014 – Janice Raymond is 70 years old.



And I mention that not to suggest that she’s lurking along Highway 401 in the Toronto suburbs in her retirement and firing off transphobic e-mails from her i-Phone to the Toronto Star.

I do, however, mention it to state as fact that exterminationist radphlegms of Janice Raymond’s generation are 70-ish now.

I also mention it to state as fact that not all 70-ish women are the kindly, innocent, heterosexual grandmother type that Editor Kathy seemingly expects everyone to presume the woman in question to be.

I also mention to suggest that Editor Kathy might want to inquire as to whether some exterminationist second-wave transphobe not named Janice Raymond might have cocooned in North York, Ontario in the years since this appeared in Sister:


…and in the years since the now-70 Janice Raymond parlayed her hatred of trans women into the sort of tenured position in academia that she and her cohorts were long able to use to prevent trans women from ever obtaining any positions in academia.

Now, here is where Editor Kathy’s piece looks like it might recover:

This is where things get political. Stoking fear about transgender persons in bathrooms is a key nasty ploy of conservative groups opposed to human rights for trans people. As well, conservative media organizations in the U.S. have been called out for reporting fake stories about transgender persons harassing people in washrooms.

Throw in some fear of the documented practice of what’s called “astroturfing” in which organized lobby groups use letters to the editor, online comments and social media to make it appear that grassroots “real people” are aligned with their cause and it’s not all that surprising that some trans advocates questioned the veracity of the letter published in the Star’s ethics column.

That actually sounds like a real journalist…

But read back over it – as well as her entire piece.

Editor Kathy is willing – to her credit – to accept the reality that a major corporate-behemoth ‘news’ organization in America (read: Fox ‘News’) pushes fake stories about this very topic…

…yet she is not willing to believe that one – perhaps two – individuals from the Toronto suburbs might have that same anti-trans agenda and express it by writing e-mails to one of Canada’s largest news entities pushing the exact same sort of story that Fox ‘News’ has pushed…

and then lying about whether or not they have an agenda.

That, apparently, would have to be “a grand and elaborate” hoax.

Having talked several times to the woman, it’s a stretch for me to think the letter was some sort of hoax.

Having far more familiarity with transphobic radphlegms than you apparently do Editor Kathy, its a stretch for me to believe that you haven’t been had.


  1. “A couple of years ago”? She didn’t try and tie that down a bit? Surely the letter writer has some idea what year it was. 2012? 2013 2010? 1971? It does make any corroboration impossible of what is to the public an anonymous, unsubstantiated report.

    And isn’t likely that the woman she reported was propositioned by a naked man in the women’s changing room would have made a report at the time? Along with other witnesses?

    But – it’s nice they made a half assed effort eventually. Like a petulant child turning on the faucet in the bathroom and just letting it run when their parents raise their voice & tell them to wash their hands.

  2. Sockpuppeting is one of the go-to arrows in the TERF quiver. Along with forced Outing and Doxxing.

  3. […] The Toronto Star Quadruples Down […]

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