The recent tour of Australia by British anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull— who also goes by the name of Posie Parker — added cannibalism to the culture wars already raging over transsexual rights.
Keen-Minshull organised a “Let Women Speak” tour of Australia and New Zealand, holding rallies in several cities to claim the push for transgender rights is “silencing”, endangering and discriminating against women.
There has been a lot said about Keen-Minshull, mostly debating her claim to be a warrior for women’s rights and accusing her of being an extremist, expressing views that are designed to be harmful to the transgender community. The rhetoric she uses is far more extreme than usually expressed in Australian politics, although it has become common in other countries, particularly the USA. She suggests, among other claims, that trans women are sexual predators who pose a safety threat to girls in female bathrooms. She describes gender affirmation healthcare as mutilation, and being transgender as a “fetish” — positions totally at odds with the views of experts who work with people who are transitioning.
Keen-Minshull’s rally in Melbourne was attended by far-right extremists who performed Nazi salutes. Although organisers claimed the masked thugs had “gate-crashed” the event, a trans rights activist and TikTok star known online as LilahRPG said “everyone was just furious, seeing Nazis doing salutes uninterrupted and interacting with the TERFs.” TERF is an acronym for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist“.
This is one of the clearest indications that far-right social media is using the “gender-critical” movement to promote membership of their groups.
Keen-Minshull has made a series of videos (see Twitter message above) about “Grooming Gangs” – repeating unproven claims that a young girl in England was killed and eaten as kebab meat. These claims are then used as racist conspiracy theories, saying that the botched police investigation was in fact a cover-up of paedophile elites who, they say, control everything. Keen-Minshull says:
“What we know is that there’s grooming gangs in Telford. A young woman that never actually really made it to mainstream news, wasn’t a big story, was cut up and I think she was put into meat that was sold for human consumption. We know that there are vast numbers of men involved in these grooming gangs, and we know that there’s weird cover-up stuff going on, that only makes sense if the other people in power are also raping children.”
The case she is referring to seems to be the disappearance of 14-year-old Charlene Downes, who disappeared in Blackpool in north-west England in November 2003. Accusations were made of a child-grooming ring, which induced young girls into having sex in return for cigarettes, food and alcohol. At least one newspaper was quick to claim that investigations had been “hampered by political correctness”, because the girls were white and the perpetrators non-white.
Two men, Ilyad Albattikh and Mohammed Reveshi, were tried in May 2007—the first for Downes’ murder, the other for helping dispose of the body—but the jury failed to reach a verdict. A re-trial was scheduled, but in April 2008 the accused were released because of concerns about serious errors in the evidence compiled by Lancashire Constabulary, who were chastised for their inept handling of the case.
The prosecution had claimed Charlene’s body had been cut up and minced into kebabs in a Blackpool takeaway called “Funny Boys”.
At the time of the trial, the court was told the fast food shop owner had “joked” that Charlene Downes had been chopped up and put into kebabs that were sold to the public.
There is a lot of racism involved in this story. White children being raped by men of colour is stated or implied in many of the reports, although there is little evidence to show that white offenders were not also involved. Many actual cases of the cannibalism of children indicate the opposite – that white men like Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish prey on children of colour, because such missing children are less likely to be investigated by white detectives. Meanwhile, the Indian current affairs website OpIndia did not mince its words about the alleged mincing of the victim:
Groomed by Muslim gangs, minced into pieces, fed as kebabs
Of course, Ms Keen-Minshull did not invent the idea of using cannibalism as a weapon of dehumanisation (Christopher Columbus did that very successfully) or even as a part of the culture wars – recall the hate and scorn aimed at the New York Times when it suggested the “cannibalism has a time and a place… and others suggest that that time is now”.
Classical mythologies told of savage gods who ate their own children, and paranormal entities such as witches, who used body parts for their rituals. Such usages were not exclusively supernatural, with “blood libel” accusations that Jews were killing Christian children to use their blood for religious rituals and cannibalism dating back to the twelfth century, and being revived with nauseating regularity up to the present day.
QAnon has been very successful recruiting members in the US, partly based on accusing everyone from Hillary Clinton to a pizza shop owner of killing and eating children. The accusations are meant to dehumanise the alleged perpetrators, but usually end up doing the same to the victim. Poor little Charlene is now almost unknown, except as the “kebab meat girl”.
Lots more details of her case are available on YouTube investigations such as the one below, some of them are quite lurid.