Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Look Back At 2015

2015 has been a big year for me, there have been more personal ups and downs this year than most other years, but it's also been a great year for both my writing and the site.  Not only has my work become featured in new places, including Gay News Network, Australia's biggest LGBT+ website, but my website itself has gone from strength to strength, leading to a rebrand and rename, to Trans-Scribe.

To cap off the year I'm going to be looking back at some of my top articles of the year, plus one extra that resulted in something extremely weird.

Cosplay Is Not Consent - An Interview With Kerry Holland

Being a geek has never been more popular than it is today, and cosplay is quickly becoming a popular past time amongst convention attendees.  Unfortunately with the rise of coplay there has also been a rise in sexual abuse women have been suffering at these events.  In this article I speak to cosplayer Kerry Holland about her experiences and some of the issues faced by the cosplay community.

Daily Mail Brands Trans Students & Allies 
As Fascists On TDOR

When well known anti-trans feminist Germaine Greer was told that a number of students at Cardiff University were protesting her appearance there she quickly turned the event into a media storm of hate and transphobic sentiment.  A storm that The Daily Mail felt the need to jump into, deciding that the Transgender Day of Remembrance was a good day to insult the transgender community.

Oklahoma City Cop Guilty of Multiple 
Rape Charges

Some of you may have heard of the story of Daniel Holtzclaw, a Oklahoma City police officer who used his position of power to target vulnerable women of colour in order to sexually assault them.  The court case was given little to no attention in the press, but thankfully justice was served as Holtzclaw was told that he'd spend the rest of his life in prison, on his 29th birthday.

I Self Harm, And It's Helped Me To Survive 
Being Transgender

 A personal article where I talk about some of the struggles I have faced, and how discovering self harm when close to taking my own life saved me.  Self harm is something that can help some people, and should not be a taboo subject.

Miley Cyrus Comes Out As 
Pansexual - People's Shit Reactions

Earlier this year singer Miley Cyrus made headlines as she came out as pansexual.  What came next was a torrent of Internet abuse, not just because she is a sexually confident young woman in the public eye, but because some people hate the idea of pansexuality, even people within the LGBT+ community.

Yes, My Breasts Are Real, No, I Will Not Prove 
It - Being Hounded By The Wrong Questions

It doesn't matter if you're a celebrity or just a regular person, as soon as someone finds out that you're transgender all they ever seem to want to know about is the state of your genitals.

Why Are Trans Women Treated Like Outcasts 
In The Feminist Community?

It's a sad fact that certain members of the feminist community hate trans women, with a passion.  These women will often go out of their way in order to try and push trans women out of the feminist community, and in some extreme cases even push them towards suicide.  This article did not go down well with these trans exclusionary radical feminists, and even got me my first death threat.

Patch Reynolds - Remembering An Amazing Person

This was the second most read articles of mine this year, and I'm glad that so many people read it.  It's a memorial piece to a friend of mine, Patch Reynolds, who died aged only 21.  A beautiful, passionate and amazing young woman who I miss dearly.  A loss to the whole world.

Stonewall Movie Erases Black Trans Women And 
Drag Queens From History

My most read article of the year, the highest read and shared article on Planet Transgender, and the piece that got me published on Gay News Network and featured on Buzzfeed.  I'm immensely proud at how well accepted this article was, and want to thank everyone who helped make it a success.

Men's Rights Activist Peter Nolan Publicly Calls For The 
Murder Of Women As 'The Only Path Of Justice For Men'

Now, this is an interesting one, I'm including this article based purely on the response it received.  Not the torrent of Twitter messages, or the threats, but the response article that Peter Nolan himself wrote.

Click below to read my article, and beneath that to see Nolan's insane response.

Thank you to everyone who has made 2015 a great year for both me and Trans-Scribe, you're all amazing.  Let's hope that 2016 will be even bigger and better!


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Nicky Morgan Says Schools Should Teach Britain Is A Christian Country

The Secretary of State For Education and Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan has come under fire once again, this time for saying that schools should teach children that Britain is a Christian country.

Nicky Morgan, who has sidestepped a high court ruling which found that she has unlawfully excluded atheism from the school curriculum, has also said that whilst schools should teach that Britain is a Christian country they do not have to teach non-religious world views.

The government has released new guidance that reads, 'There is no obligation for any school or ASC to give equal airtime to the teachings of religious and non-religious views.  There is no obligation on any school to cover the teaching of non-religious world views (or any other particular aspect of the RE curriculum) in Key Stage 4 specifically.  Rather it is for the schools to determine how they meet their wider obligations across the key stages.'

The new document also states that religious education should 'reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in main, Christian'.  What the document fails to note or reference though is that after a two year commission it was decided that Britain is no longer a majority Christian country.

These findings have been backed up by a separate inquiry, chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss, involving leaders of all faiths and beliefs that concluded that Britain is not, in fact, a Christian country any more.

According to the Daily Telegraph a spokesperson for Nicky Morgan stated that she feels the new measures are to prevent a 'creeping ratchet effect' wherein atheists are trying to force schools to teach a humanist view of the world.

Interestingly Nicky Morgan seems to have something of a history of a prejudice against atheist and humanist views as in November she was found by the High Court to have made an 'error in the law' by leaving humanism from her changes to religious studies content.

Once again it would seem that Nicky Morgan is allowing her own personal beliefs to dictate government policy and her professional choices.  In the past Nicky Morgan has let her own personal religious views dictate how she does her job, claiming that these personal views were in part responsible for her voting against marriage equality.

Nicky Morgan believes that her faith trumps actual equality for marginalised groups.  She feels that her faith trumps other people's religious beliefs, or lack of.  She feels that because she is a Christian woman in a position of power that she can dictate that schools need to educate others in her beliefs, despite repeated evidence that Britain is no longer a Christian country.

That kind of closed minded and defiant attitude is not something that should have a place in a minister in charge of both equality and education.


Twitter Hires LGBT+ Advocate To Oversee Diversity

The social media networking giant Twitter has faced a great deal of criticism over the last few months over their workplace diversity as their own figures painted a less than desirable picture.  According to it's own reports it was revealed that within their US workforce only 3% of staff were African American, and only 30% were female.

In August this year Janet Van Huysse, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, announced several targets that the company has set for itself going forward into 2016.  These include increasing the number of women working for Twitter to 35%, and increasing 'underrepresented minorities' to 11%.

Jeffrey Siminoff, the former director of worldwide inclusion and diversity at Apple, has now replaced Van Huysse as Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, and aims to meet these 2016 targets.

Siminoff helped to launch the inaugural 'Out on the Street' event in 2022, which looks at the ways of advancing LGBT+ equality in the business and financial sectors.  CEO of Out Leadership Todd Sears, was amongst the first to congratulate Siminoff on his appointment, tweeting 'Amazing news!  Congrats @TwitterOpen on landing amazing #OutLeader @jmsSanFran to drive #lgbtprogress & #diversity'.

Despite his track record of promoting diversity and inclusion in the past some people have taken to twitter to question the decision of hiring a white man to head diversity and inclusion.


Anti-Gay Bakery Agrees To Pay $135,000 Fine

Sweet Cakes Bakery, which has become known as the Anti-Gay Bakery around the world by the media, has finally agreed to pay the $135,000 fine placed on them after saying that they would not pay for months.

The bakery gained attention last year, 2014, when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.  Melissa and Aaron Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes Bakery, stated that they refused the produce the wedding cake as it would violate their religious beliefs to provide a cake for a gay wedding as they felt that same sex marriage was 'wrong' and they 'didn't want to be a part of it'.

The couple were found guilty of discrimination in 2014 under Oregon state laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.  They were ordered to pay $135,000 compensation and damages to the women they discriminated against.

Since being found guilty and having been ordered to pay the fine the Kleins have refused on several occasions, stating that they were unable to afford the fine, claiming 'financial hardships'.  This was despite the anti-gay American Family Association rallying support and raising $400,000 to help the Kleins.

The attorney for the Kleins said that the decision was being appealed, saying that the Kleins 'continue to stand on their well-established constitutional rights to live and work based on their values and beliefs.'

This week, however, the Kleins sent out a cheque to cover the costs of their fine, a small amount for them now that their supporters have given them close to half a million dollars.  The Bureau of Labour and Industries have confirmed that the Kleins have fully paid their fine.


Monday, 28 December 2015

Mermaids Charity Reports Some Schools Reluctant To Help Trans Children

It is being reported by the transgender children's charity Mermaids that up to 80 primary school aged children are now actively seeking help to transition to their true genders.  Some cases have children as young as four years old having already started the transition process, according to Susie Green, Chair of Mermaids.

Her comments have emerged following the reports of a primary school in the north west of England who are in the midst of a 'stand-off' over the issue of refusing to allow an eight year old transgender student the right to transition to his true identity.

'We are working with them, we are trying to resolve that but the school are very reluctant,' Mrs Green said.  She went on to say that these kinds of stand-offs are becoming more and more common and even went on to say that a legal challenge to these issues could not be ruled out in the near future.

Mrs Green says that eight is no longer considered to be particularly young to begin the process of transitioning, as awareness of transgender issues is increasing and becoming more accepted than it once was.

'We've got four year olds, five year olds, six year olds who are transitioning as parents know more about it and are more aware if they have a child who is suffering.  You wouldn't necessarily do anything unless it's causing distress, but these children are so much happier now that they have been supported to live in the gender they identify with, it's a no brainer.'

'We've had parents reporting back saying 'my kid is so much happier now, they are attending school now, they are making friends now'.'

She went on to suggest that the charity is now dealing with around 80 cases involving primary school children each year.

'In terms of families joining our parents group, this year alone we've had over 200 families.  The majority of those - around 60 per cent - are teens, but the rest are families with young children.  It's a lot more than people realise.'

'But one thing is that there is more information getting out there now and we are finding now that about half the schools are dealing with actually accommodating and want to learn because there is more in the media and more out there.'

Despite this statement indicating that there are still a great deal many schools who are not dealing with transgender students in a positive or accepting way, there is evidence that those schools who are embracing their trans students and allowing them to transition at school are having a positive impact, even allowing other students the chance to deal with their gender identity issues by seeing their peers come out.

'I have seen that with a school I did some training with before Christmas, they had one trans boy come out and then had two other young people come forward asking for help.  If they see other young people dealing with it, it could be a light-bulb moment, or it could be that they feel confident that they will be helped.'

Obviously some detractors will turn around and say that by allowing children to transition at such an early stage in life and in school it is trying to encourage a certain agenda or promote a trans 'lifestyle', but the fact is that any student who comes forward with gender identity issues following the coming out of another student will be given help.  They will have guidance and support to figure out if they themselves are trans, or if any gender issues they might have are coming from another place.

This system is designed to help all children who are facing gender identity struggles, trans or not.  Hopefully more schools will realise that accommodating their trans students is the right thing to do,


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Seven Sisters Festival Reverses Decision, Welcomes Trans Women

As reported in a previous article of mine, Australian women's Seven Sisters Festival last week released a statement that said that only transgender women who had been 'undertaken all operative measures to become women' would be allowed to attend, despite all women being welcome in previous years.

This exclusion of any trans women deemed not to have been through enough surgical procedures was met with criticism from the transgender community and its allies.  The Seven Sisters Festival blocked all conversation of the decision from their Facebook page and said that they would consult with those that had already booked their ticket to the event to get a sense of how their attendees felt about the new policy before making a final decision.

Earlier this week the festival have announced that following these discussions they have chosen to allow all women to attend, including transgender women and intersex women.  The decision to reverse the exclusionary policy has been well received.

In an interview with ABC, Kaylee, who has chosen not to give her surname, revealed how she was told by the organisers that her partner Belle, who is in the early stages of transitioning, would not be welcome to attend the festival.

'We've been trying to become more involved in women's circles so that she can feel more comfortable, but at the moment she's retreated a bit from life, so I thought a really beautiful camping festival with all women would be a really safe space for her to feel accepted,' Kaylee told ABC.

'Their basic response was 'we only welcome trans women who are post-op, who have undergone all the procedures to become female because having people onsite who are physically male  would break the trust of attendees'.'

'I got quite ragey over it, and I read it out to my partner and she just kind of sighed and went 'yep, that sounds about right'.'

Kaylee's partner Belle said that whilst she was not surprised by the response, it was disappointing to her.

'The email was talking about surgery, so only rich well to do trans women who can afford full gender re-assignment surgery which is upwards of $20,000.'  She said when describing the festivals stance on only allowing post-op trans women.

Luckily for Kaylee, Belle and countless other women the festival has reversed it's decision and has returned to the principals of inclusion and celebration of diversity that it has prided itself on in the past.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Trans Prisoner Attempted Self Surgery

Following an increase in focus on British transgender women being held in male facilities Labour MP and Shadow Minister For Women Cat Smith has made changing the treatment of transgender prisoners a mission.

She spoke in parliament this week, saying that since taking up the issue of the Ministry of Justice treatment of transgender prisoners she has personally received several letters from transgender prisoners, and the content in them has been deeply troubling.

Ms Smith said that she was 'alarmed' to read about one prisoner, who has been denied access to her hormone replacement therapy treatment, as well as gender realignment surgeries.  The prisoner, who has not been named, also claimed to have been raped twice and sexually assaulted whilst serving her sentence in an all male prison facility.

The prisoner in question began transitioning in 2008, and has been undergoing treatment since then.  Despite this, and having made the statutory declaration to live the rest of her life as female in 2012, she has been denied access to medical treatment by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).  This is despite her being in the final stages of transition before she was sentenced.

Ms Smith read from the prisoners letter, telling parliament 'The governor has blocked all my letters to my surgeons, the prison have no right to strip me of my care or hormone treatment.  There is no knowledge of how suicidal I am because they don't care what impact their choices have on me physically and psychologically.'

'I'm totally destroyed, not the woman I was.  I feel I will kill myself soon.  I cannot do this now.  Will you please help me?  I cannot take no more - I'm a woman in a male prison.  This is not right.'

Ms Smith went on to outline some of the actions the prisoner had already taken in order to her herself and put her life at risk, due to the treatment that she has been receiving.  The prisoner has 'injected bleach into her testicles' and even 'attempting self surgery to remove her scrotum'.

The National Offender Management Service told Ms Smith that have agreed that once the prisoner is released from custody that her supervision in the community will take place in female services, however, they do not plan to support her during her sentence.

Ms Smith criticised this response, as it offers no consistency.  To treat a prisoner as male whilst they are serving their sentence, but then as female after is incredibly contradictory, but unfortunately seems to be common amongst the testimonies she has received in the letters sent to her.


Facebook To Change 'Real Name' Policy

Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, with an estimated 1.01 billion daily active users.  Amongst these billion users, however, are some people who have had their accounts suspended, or in some cases even deleted completely, simply for the name they have used when setting up their account.

Facebook has historically held a 'Real Name' policy, where they require users to 'provide the name they use in real life'.  To many that might seem easy to do, they simply use their real name and build an account.  From their they connect with friends, make new connections, share their life with people on line.  But in some cases this experience comes to a sudden halt, as Facebook chooses to suspend their account for not meeting this 'Real Name' policy.

I even experienced this myself, my current account being my second one, as my first was deleted by Facebook for apparently breaking these rules.  I, like many others, was told that the name I had been using on my account had been reported as not being my true name, and that I would be required to provide photographic identification as proof that I was actually me and get my account back.

To try and understand why certain accounts might have been deleted I took a look at the Facebook website, and found these guidelines;

'Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities.  We require people to provide the name they use in real life; that way you always know who you're connecting with.  This helps keep our community safe.'

'The name you use should be your authentic identity; as your friends call you in real life and as our acceptable identification forms would show.'

'Nicknames can be used as a first or middle name if they're a variation of your authentic name (like Bob instead of Robert).'

'You can also list an additional name on your account (ex: maiden name, nickname, professional name).'

'Pretending to be anything or anyone isn't allowed.'

So, from what Facebook state in their rules is that you have to use the name you go by in everyday life, but not necessarily your legal name.  After all, if everyone knows you by a name that isn't your legal name, then that's surely what's most important to them according to their rules right?

Well, it is, but it isn't.  You see, if someone wants to report your account as using a false name, then the burden of proving that the name you use is suddenly yours to prove, rather than the accuser having to prove that it isn't your name.  The sudden flaw in Facebooks statement that the name you use in real life is fine to use starts to fall apart when they ask for legal identification.  

I know people in both real life whose names aren't their legal names.  I know a Luigi who goes by Gino, a James who goes by Seamus.  These aren't their legal names, but everyone calls them by these other names, even their partners and parents.  They sign up to things using these names, they live by these names, it's who they are.  And it's the same for some people on Facebook who have suddenly been caught out by this policy.

The whole system of the name you live by needing to be confirmed by some legal documentation is a flawed one, and that flaw has led to many people having their Facebook experience ruined.  

When my account was deleted I was told that to reactivate it I would need to provide photographic identification to get it back.  This was almost fifteen months ago, I was further behind in my transition then.  I wasn't living every moment of my life as me yet.  Unfortunately, I had to go to work presenting as male, using my birth name, but despite this everyone else in my life knew the real me.  I presented as me, I was called Amy by damn near everyone I knew, even some of the people I worked with, where I presented male, called me Amy.  That's who I was, but because I didn't have any ID stating that at that time my account was denied to me.

I emailed Facebook, explained the situation to them, told them that I was still undergoing transition and as such couldn't provide them with the ID.  I hoped that they would understand my situation, that they might allow me to have my account back.  Instead I was told that without ID my account would be deleted, and told that I must use my 'real' name on Facebook, that 'impersonating' other people was against their community standards and would not be tolerated.

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident, thousands of other people were experiencing the exact same situation.  These people ranged from transgender, like myself, to members of the Native American population, to people trying to escape domestic abuse and beyond.

The Facebook 'Real Name' policy effected so many people, from so many different backgrounds.  It made people have to give up their on line lives.  It hurt people's professional careers.  It put some people's lives in physical danger.  Something that might seem so trivial to some had a profound affect on so many people.  And people weren't happy about it.

Protests were held, talks were had and people spread the message about Facebook's double standards, where people can use nicknames or past names okay, but people using their real names, the names they live their lives under was suddenly unacceptable.  

Facebook argued that this policy was a good thing, I guessing feeling that if in every group of people blocked from the site wrongly if they caught one troll then it would all be worth it.  They said, 'The stories of mass impersonation, trolling, domestic abuse, and higher rates of bullying are oftentimes the result of people hiding behind fake names, and it's both terrifying and sad.  Our ability to successfully protect against them with this policy has borne out of the reality that this policy, on balance, when applied carefully, is a very powerful force for good.'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg added fuel onto the fire in the early days of the debate by commenting that 'You have one identity...Having two identities for yourself is an example of lack of integrity.'

Further comment was given following this, where Zuckerberg attempted to defend the policy, claiming that people did not fully understand the exact details of the site's requirements, and that the policy is in place to protect vulnerable users.  Despite this assurance, he did agree that the policy wasn't perfect, and said 'We are working on better and more ways for people to show us what their real name is so we can both keep this policy which protects so many people in our community whilst also serving the transgender community.'

Thankfully, this comment was not just empty platitudes and Facebook have this week announced that it plans to change the policy.  On Tuesday Facebook said that it will test new tools that will allow users to share any special circumstance they feel means they cannot use their real name on the site.

'We require people to use the name their friends and family know them by,' the company said.  'When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say.  We are firmly committed to this policy and it is not changing.'

'However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognise that it's also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalised and face discrimination.'

Facebook has also said that it will be adding a new tool for reporting accounts that might have fake names, needing the person who is reporting the account to provide more context in their complaint than was previously required.  

'In the past, people were simply able to report a 'fake name' but now they will be required to go through several new steps that provide us with more specifics about the report,' Facebook said.  'This additional context will help our review teams better understand why someone is reporting the name, giving them more information about a specific situation.'

Time will tell just how effective these new tools will be, and whether some people will continue to find themselves blocked and deleted for doing nothing more than simply being themselves, but hopefully this marks the beginnings of a practical solution.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Maveth' Review

The first half of Shield's third season comes to a dramatic close in a mid season finale that both concludes a number of stories, and sets up for some exciting new things.

The action is split between a castle in Scotland, where acting director Mack is leading the agents of Shield and the newly formed Secret Warriors in an assault against Hydra, and a distant alien world where Coulson is out for revenge against Ward, who is searching for the mysterious InHuman that desperately want to bring back to earth.

The earth bound elements are definitely the most fun of the episode, with the usual mix of action and humour.  Hunter was as fun as ever, waving his arm around on the thermal scan to make sure that they knew where they were in the castle, but for me it was May who stole the show for her deadpan delivery.  The Secret Warriors are mostly untested, never been in combat before, and they share a moment where they all realise that they are frightened and scared of what's to come, except May of course, because at this point I'm pretty sure nothing scares Melinda May.

Not even the release of Andrew/Lash seemed to phase May, as she went straight off to confront the killer her husband has become.  Sadly for her, but as a bonus to the audience, Andrew/Lash seems to have escaped, which will probably result in some more Lash encounters for the team further down the line.

The Secret Warriors are given a chance to shine this episode too, or more precisely, Joey is.  After having seen the obvious ways in which both Daisy and Lincoln can use their powers and how they would be effective in the field this is the first real time that Joey can really show of the versatility of melting metal.  He uses his powers to melt metal over a barricaded door, which goes on to give our heroes enough time to survive, and jumps in front of gunfire to save Daisy, not knowing that his powers would melt the bullets before they hit him.  Suddenly Joey goes from something of a questionmark to a very useful person to have around.  Hopefully we'll get to see more from his character when the show returns.

Elsewhere, on another planet, Ward uses Fitzz to try and track down the InHuman Hydra was founded around, whilst Coulson is following close behind.  Where the events on earth were fun and action packed, those on the alien planet are slow building and tense.  A great contrast to the rest of the episode.

Despite volunteering to apparently save Simmons from having to be tortured it would appear that Fitzz had his own plan the whole time, to find Will, escape from Ward and return home.  It all seems to be going well, he finds Will, convinces Ward not to kill him and even begins to bond with him.  The scenes with Will and Fitzz are great, we get to see how these two men, who both love Simmons, would actually react when they met, and they're both such good honourable people that you can actually see them becoming good friends.

Unfortunately, all of that changes when they reach the point where the portal back to Earth will open, where they can see the ruined ancient civilisation that once existed on the alien world.  Will gives Fitzz a little too much information, and reveals that Will is in fact dead, that he died way back at the start of the season when Simmons escaped, and that his body is now playing host to the creature that Hydra wants.

The realisation that Will is gone is a sad one.  I personally wanted him to come back to Earth, to get to see Simmons one last time before she and Fittz go on to be the couple we all know they are going to be.  It would have been touching, instead we're given this shocking moment, and no time to process it.  We're immediately thrown into a situation where Fitzz is trying to stop the possessed Will from getting to Earth, whilst Coulson and Ward are fighting to death in the background.

It's all very quick and action heavy that we're not given the time to process the loss of Will.  Yes, he was a very small character in the grand scheme of the Marvel universe, but I think a lot of people became very attached to him and his relationship with Simmons, and wanted a happier resolution than the one we are given.

Speaking of resolutions though, Ward finally gets his, as Coulson gets the revenge for Rosalind by crushing Wards chest with his robotic hand.  I guess a broken heart for a broken heart.  After such a long time with the character feeling at something of a loss it's good that his story has come to an end, and his death was really the only end he could have at this point really.

Unfortunately for the agents of Shield, Ward might be dead, but he's far from gone.  After destroying Wills boy to a point where the creature couldn't inhabit it anymore it would appear that Ward is it's new host, as he appears back on earth, very dead looking, with Coulson's robot hand and something moving around under his face.

Ward as we knew him is gone, but he's suddenly become the big bad of the season, a creature thousands of years old that has already destroyed all life on one planet.  Now that I'm thinking about it, the guys over at Shield might have to call on the Avengers to help with this one.  This isn't a terrorist organisation, or even a small group of super powered beings, this is a creature that can literally destroy all life on Earth, the stakes have definitely been upped for the second half of the season.

I'm looking at this change in Ward as his Illyria moment, the character he was is gone, and in his place is something new and more bad arse, but something of who he was might remain.  Will was clearly still like the person we knew before the creature took him over, he had some of Will's memories and personality.  With that in mind, does that mean we're going to have a world ending entity with Wards hatred and obsession for Shield?  If so, things are going to get very dangerous for out heroes when they come back next year.


Caitlyn Jenner Apologises To Trans Community

Following statements made in an interview with Time Magazine, where she urged transgender women not to look like a 'man in a dress' as it makes people uncomfortable, Caitlyn Jenner has written an article for The Huffington Post in which she apologises for any offense she may have caused.

'I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I'm truly sorry.'

'What I was trying to say is that the world really is still a binary one, and that people who look 'visibly transgender' sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others.  And while this may be true, it's also something that needs to change.'

'Some people look gender non-conforming because they want to look that way - they don't want to conform to society's expectations.  Those people have every right to look and present how they choose.  And then there are people who don't have the resources to access the medical procedures that would help them look the way they would like to look.  Procedures, incidentally, that most health insurance plans refuse to cover.  All of these people are my brothers and sisters, and I am fighting alongside them too.'

'My comments probably made it seem like all I care about is fashion, or makeup or appearance.  I can tell you I really enjoy all of that - it's who I am.  It's the world I come from, and as a person in the media I have certain expectations for myself.  But I am only one person.  There are lots of way of being trans.  And I want to help create a world in which people are able to express their gender in any way that is true and authentic to them.  And most importantly - a world in which how a trans person is treated isn't dependant on how they look.'

'I am guessing that this is probably not the last time I will say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way.  I promise to keep learning, and to try to be more articulate in the future.  We have a lot of hard work to do.  I am looking forward to doing it together.'

Caitlyn has acknowledged what she said was wrong, and has given a public statement of apology.  She has tried to explain what she says she meant in that one statement.

 One thing that confuses me though, is if when she said 'If you are out there and, to be honest with you, you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable' was supposed to mean that whole long statement about the world being binary, and wanting to get rid of a world like that, I fail to see how those two are the same.

Yes, she has apologised, but I personally feel that the follow up statement is perhaps more an attempt to explain away saying something stupid, rather than clearing up some kind of misunderstanding about what she 'was trying to say'.

Whether you believe what she is saying or not, whether you like her or respect her or not, please, please don't engage in transphobic messages when talking about her.  One of the things I've seen in abundance over the last day is a lot of people, including trans people, saying that she looks like a man, that she sounds like a man.

It might feel good to strike back at her like that, to respond to her comments with an attack, and you have every right to express yourself that way, but please do it without making those kind of comments.  By turning around and countering her 'man in a dress' statement by saying that's what she is, is only doing you a disservice.  Engage in criticising her by all means, but do it as the bigger person.  Do it without using transphobic language.


Monday, 14 December 2015

Seven Sisters Festival To Exclude Trans Women

As with other feminist gatherings in the past the Seven Sisters Festival in Australia has this year chosen that transgender women will not be welcome at their three day event, and have even gone on to ban any mention of it from their Facebook page, deleting any comment that mentions it.

The festival is a feminist retreat that they say is to 'empower women who are real, women who are powerful, women who want to be the best version of themselves'.

A prospective attendee, Caitlin Therese Sullivan posted a message to the festivals Facebook page, asking 'Is your festival trans inclusive?  I'd very much like to know as this will mean either my attendance or non attendance.  I know other people feel the same.'

After four days the festival organisers responded by saying, 'As we have advertised the festival as a sacred women's only space - having individuals on site who are physically men would be breaking the trust of many women.  We are however open to transgender women who have undertaken all operative measures to become a woman to come and take part in the festival.'

The comments ignited a debate on the festivals Facebook wall, with some people who were expressing interest in attending the event saying that they were 'extremely dissapointed' with the decision to exclude trans women who had not undergone a certain level of surgical procedures.

The festival branded the comments being made as 'a provocative transgender campaign', and have since banned all discussion on their stance of exclusion on its Facebook page.

In an official statement the festival released on Monday they said, 'Since its beginning, Seven Sisters Festival has had a policy of inclusion.  We recognise that the identity of 'woman' is a unique lived experience to each individual.  On Sunday 13th December a provocative transgender campaign was elicited on our Facebook page.  We are currently investigating this.'

'Whilst we value the opinion of ALL people and are sympathetic to this cause, we do not condone abusive and inflammatory words, nor do we tolerate the use of forceful language to push unsubstantiated views onto others.  As such we are deleting all content relating to this issue from our festival pages as it is not the appropriate forum and we wish to prevent further perpetuation of bullying and violent language.'

'We apologise for any undue stress this situation has caused to everyone involved.'

'As an organisation, we strive to engage in respectful dialogue, which involves everyone.  To be clear, Seven Sisters have at no time expressed any official statement regarding our position on trans inclusivity, but we are now seeking legal advice on this matter, hearing the voices of our patrons as well as engaging in dialogue with the transgender community.'

'Therefor, as part of maintaining the integrity of our community, in the next month, we will be sending a confidential survey to our fellow sisters who have and will be attending next years festival so they can share their opinions without fear of bullying.'

'We believe this issue needs to be heard and we need to listen to every woman who has made Seven Sisters their sanctuary and home over the past four years.'

 'Our policy and festival content will be reviewed based on the responses to this survey and publicly posted to our website.  Suggestions on how to improve Seven Sisters festival are welcome through this medium.'

'As always we strive to co-create the best Seven Sisters possible.  We look forward to hearing your voice from a place of compassion, balance and honour.'

As at this time there is no indication of how the results this survey influence the decision by the event organisers, and due to the organisers censoring of comments on their Facebook page it has become very hard to see the entire picture.

What is still available on the pages, here and here, though are comments made on the above statement.  For the most part their is a healthy, and more importantly respectful, discussion going on between the opposing sides.  However, their is the use of harsh and insulting language, from supporters of the exclusion towards members of the transgender community.  I would encourage people to go to their pages and see for themselves how people are commenting on this and the views being expressed.

Seven Sisters have yet to release any of the 'bullying' messages that they claim to have deleted made by members of the transgender community, so as of the time of the posting of this article the 'abusive and inflammatory' words seem to only be coming from those who wish to exclude transgender women from the festival.

Hopefully after speaking with their attendees the festival will realise that they cannot maintain a culture of acceptance and inclusion when discriminating against a certain group of women, and they will reverse their decision and allow ALL women to attend, as they have done in the past.

Or maybe we should just have it renamed the Seven Cis-ters Festival instead?


Caitlyn Jenner: Don't Look Like 'A Man In A Dress'

In an interview with Time Magazine it would appear that Caitlyn Jenner has once again gone and upset certain parts of the transgender community by making some pretty ill thought out and insulting comments about the physical appearances of trans women.

In the interview Caitlyn talks about projecting a 'good image for this community', referring to the transgender community.  The interviewer asks her 'And what is a good image?', giving Caitlyn the opening to make her comment that has upset many people.

'One thing that has always been important for me, and it may seem very self-absorbed or whatever, is first of all your presentation of who you are.  I think that it is much easier for trans women or trans men who authentically kind of looks and plays the role.  So what I call presentation.  I try to take that seriously.  I think it puts people at ease.  If you're out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.  So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well.  I want to dress well.  I want to look good.  When I go out, Kim says, got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there.  The second thing I want to do in living my life authentically is be intelligent on the subject.  Hopefully as time goes on I'll learn more and more and more and get better at that.'

Now, some of you may have noticed one or two things in that one response that highlight a number of concerns, I know many other people have.

First and most obvious, Caitlyn makes the comment about some trans women looking like a 'man in a dress', and the fact that it 'makes people uncomfortable'.  This one tiny statement is so insulting and damaging it's shocking that it's coming from another trans woman.  Then again, I'm sure some people in the trans community are actually very familiar with this kind of thing.

Something that not many cis people will realise is that there is actually a lot of transphobia within the trans community itself.  It's not a pleasant thing, and it's not something that the trans community likes to highlight, as it will give our haters something else to latch onto, but it is very real.  Trans-on-trans transphobia is quite simply when one trans person judges or makes comment on another trans person's identity or physical appearance in order to make that person appear less valid, to put them down, to insult them and exclude them.  All this is usually done in an attempt to make the person doing it feel better about themselves.

Whilst some of you might be reading that and thinking that it's ridiculous and that it couldn't possibly happen, well, just ask people in the transgender community about it.  Chances are if they haven't experienced it themselves they've seen it happen to someone they know.  I have, more times that I'd like.  I've even been on the receiving end of it.  I've seen people who are worried about their physical appearance find trans women to abuse for 'not looking feminine enough', purely so that it will boost their confidence as to how feminine they themselves look.  A 'well, I don't look that bad so I must be okay' approach to dealing with their own fears and insecurities.

Caitlyn is essentially doing this.  Yes, it might not be targeted at any one person in particular, but that just makes it worse.  She's making broad sweeping statements that can effect many members of the transgender, and gender non-conforming, community that can cause damage.

Cailyn is saying that if you don't fit into the very rigid 'rules' of  the cis-normative standards of beauty then you 'make people uncomfortable'.  She's saying if you don't 'authentically' look male or female then people will make an issue of it.  She's reinforcing every fear that someone who doesn't stick to these cis standards that they will be treated badly, that they will get mocked and harassed, that their lives could be put in danger, because they don't look 'real' enough.

What's worse, is that she's telling cis people that it's okay to think this way too.  Earlier in the same interview she spoke out against the notion that she's a 'spokesperson' for the trans community, saying 'I am not a spokesperson for the trans community, I am not.  The media kind of projects me as being the spokesperson, but from my standpoint, I am not.  I am a spokesperson for my story and that's all I can tell.'  She's making it clear that she doesn't want to be the trans spokesperson, but she also acknowledges that a lot of people view her that way.  With the amount of media attention she receives, and her prominence in the international community she has to realise that even if she does not want that title, a lot of people will always see her as having it.  Because of that, she should really consider her words a lot more carefully.

She may not want to be seen as the figurehead for the trans community, and pretty much every other trans person is against that idea too, but she should have that in the back of her mind when speaking about the trans community.  The things she says will be seen as speaking for every trans person by certain people, and if she's putting across the view that the only 'authentic' trans people are the ones who don't look like a 'man in a dress', then that's giving cis people the all clear to discriminate against those trans people they don't feel meet their cis standards of beauty.

Not everyone in the trans community wants to meet these standards Caitlyn.  Not every trans woman wants long flowing hair and an hourglass figure.  Not every trans man wants a big beard and a six pack.  Some people just want to live how they feel comfortable, whether it fits into the world view as being 'authentic' or not.  Some people don't want to live as either male or female, and their validity as a person should not rest on whether you feel they look 'authentic' or not.

You're a rich person Caitlyn, a very rich person.  You probably use more money in a day then I do in a year.  Many, many members of the trans community are far from your level of wealth.  A lot of members of the trans community would technically be 'poor'.  We cannot afford the best clothes, the best makeup, feminisation surgery or stylists.  We don't have the money to be able to dress exactly how we would like all the time.  Many of us have to make do.

The level of poverty in the trans community is high, one of the highest in any minority group, we can't go out and throw money at our appearance just to not make people feel uncomfortable.  Some of us are happy with the way we look and present, some of us aren't, but can't do anything about it because we don't have money like you do.  Should these trans people never go out into the world because they might make cis people feel uncomfortable?

The message being sent in this interview is a bad one.  Caitlyn is basking in her achievements and throwing the rest of the trans community under the bus, and not for the first time.  She says that she doesn't want to be a spokesperson for the transgender community, but in the same interview says that 'In doing what I do it will be more of a leadership role'.  She's full on contradictions and mixed messages.  She wants to be seen as a great leader of the trans community, to be praised for how 'authentic' she is as a woman, but will gladly throw other members of the transgender community into the firing line to do so.

To me this just looks like another case of trans-on-trans transphobia, where someone in the community is looking down on others to make themselves feel better about their own fears and insecurities.  Unfortunately, it coming from such a prominent and public figure means that her words and actions will cause a lot of damage.


Friday, 11 December 2015

Oklahoma City Cop Guilty of Multiple Rape Charges

At first I was surprised to discover that I had not heard anything about the case of Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw being on trial for the rape and sexual assault of more than a dozen women.  How could something like that not be major news?  Then I started looking into the trial and I discovered that the women Holtzclaw has been found guilty of abusing were women of colour, women with troubled histories, women whose characters could be called into question, and suddenly it made sense as to why there had been very little media attention given to the case.

Sexual assault is one of those crimes we all know is massively under reported, where victims are often blamed, or made to feel guilty because of what happened to them.  The system is built against the victims of rape, whatever their gender.  Unfortunately, when the victims of rape are women of colour who are targeted precisely because their credibility can be so easily attacked it becomes so much harder for them.

Daniel Holtzclaw used his position as a police officer to perform background checks on the women that he assaulted.  Police investigators discovered that Holtzclaw targeted black women with criminal records, with a history of drug use or sex work.  He targeted these women specifically because he believed that their accusations would be ignored, that their 'character' would instantly dismiss their accusations.  Sadly, because of who he targeted a lot of media outlets carried little coverage of the case.

That very lack of support was even evident in court proceedings as when the trial began in November many local Oklahoma activists were shocked to find the courtroom almost empty, with many women's groups who have supported the accusers of rape in other trials absent.  A local news reporter for FOX25, Tom George went on to express his surprise when he went to cover the case.  'The first week, it was almost empty.  I think there was an assumption that it would be packed.'

These sentiments of surprise were also echoed by Grace Franklin, co-founder of the community organisation OKC Artists For Justice, who said that since the news of the case broke about a year ago have reached out to many larger national groups (who they have chosen not to name) about joining their protest movement around the case,  Unfortunately they received very little response to their requests.

'It kind of fuels the feeling of separation between black so-called feminists and white feminists.' Franklin said.  'Why aren't there more women out here of all shades, of all backgrounds for these women?  Why are we doing this alone?'

This apparent lack of support for these victims, or lack of people wishing to be seen visibly standing with them, was something that Holtzclaw was banking on when he selected his victims.  He was hoping that no one would believe them, that they would be given little to no attention and that they would be seen as the kinds of women not to be trusted.

Those views were evident as the defence attorney, Scott Addams, questioned the accusers in what has been described as an 'aggressive' manner.  The women who came forward to report their sexual assault were questioned about their marijuana use, their drinking habits, their criminal histories and in some cases suspended drivers licenses in an attempt to undermine their credibility.

Dianne Wetendorf, who runs a counselling group in Chicago for women who have been the victims of police abuse spoke out about the way the victims of Holtzclaw's crimes were painted as untrustworthy in court.  'Officers count on no one believing the victim if she reports it.  And they know that the word of a woman of colour is likely to be worth even less than the word of a white woman to those who matter in the criminal justice system.'

Despite the attempts to discredit the women accusing Holtzclaw of sexual assault, all thirteen women gave powerful witness statements that formed a consistent story about how Holtzclaw isolated them, assaulted them and terrorised them into remaining silent.

Holtzclaws crimes took place over the course of seven months in 2013 and 2014, during which time he assaulted women ranging in age from seventeen to fifty seven whilst working the 4pm to 2am patrol shift.

During the court proceedings one of his victims accused Holtzclaw of driving her to a field in the back of his squad car, raped her in the backseats and then proceeded to leave her there.  'There was nothing that I could do,' she testified, 'he was a police officer and I was a woman.'

Another victim, a young girl of only 17, testified that Holtzclaw raped her on her mothers front porch.  She told the court that he threatened her with an outstanding warrant for trespassing.  'What am I going to do?'  She asked.  'Call the cops?  He was a cop.'  The jury convicted Holtzclaw of ever charge relating to her assault.

Another victim, who the defence attorney tried to discredit by claiming that she did not admit to having PCP on her when an initial arrested resulted in her being in hospital, told the court that Holtzclaw coerced her into performing acts of oral sex on him while she was shackled to a hospital bed.  The woman testified that Holtzclaw claimed that if she cooperated with him he would have the charges against her dropped.

It was only after a report was made to the Oklahoma City sex crimes division was made by a woman who testified that Holtzclaw pulled her over and molested her during a traffic stop, forcing her to perform oral sex on him that his crimes began to come to light.

Holtzclaw was arrested on 18th June 2014 and, following more victims coming forward to testify and evidence from his patrol car GPS that place him at the alleged crimes, fired in January 2015.

During the trial Holtzclaw did not attempt to dispute the evidence collected from his vehicle GPS, that placed him at the crime scenes at the times his accusers stated, but maintained his innocence throughout the case, denying any sexual misconduct or violence.

Holtzclaw was the recipient of an outpouring of online support from people who believed his innocence, who shared their belief that he was falsely accused, even going so far as to produce t-shirts and used the hashtag #FreeTheClaw.

The defence called just one witness during the trial, an ex-girlfriend of his who testified that Holtzclaw read her Bible scriptures and that she never noticed any unusual or sexually aggressive behaviour.

Fortunately a defence that rested on attacking the characters of the victims and used an ex-girlfriend as the sole witness to try and show he was a 'nice guy' failed, and after 45 hours deliberation the jury found Holtzclaw guilty of a number of the charges made against him, including five counts of rape and thirteen other counts of sexual assault.

The court has recommended that Holtzclaw be sentenced to a total of 263 years in prison.  District Attorney David Prater spoke about the sentencing, saying 'We're going to ask the judge to make sure that this defendant never sees the light of day, and we're going to ask him to run consecutive, every count.'

Daniel Holtzclaw openly wept in court as the verdict was read out.  As an added bonus, or act of justice, the final day of the court proceedings, where he cried in court as he found out he would spend the rest of his life in prison was his 29th birthday.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

Cincinnati Passes Conversion Therapy Ban

Despite vocal opposition in the Cincinnati Council Chambers from more than two dozen members of the church and the public,the Cincinnati council voted 7-2 to ban the use of conversion therapies on LGBT+ children.

The council passed the new law which prohibits the use of any kind of therapy designed to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors.  The new law would make the practice illegal, and could also result in a $200 a day fine for anyone found violating the law.

Cincinnati follows the four states of California, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon, along with the District of Columbia in banning the practice, and becomes the first city outside of Washington D.C. to do so.

Chris Seelbach, who was instrumental in the efforts to passing the law spoke passionately about it, shutting down opposition views, 'This is about saving the lives of LGBT people.'  He mentioned Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager who took her own life last December following her parents attempts to 'cure' her with conversion therapy.

Seelbach mentioned Leelah directly, saying 'she challenged us to make her death matter, and we're going just that.'

The comment was made in reference to Leelah's suicide note, a note that not only asked people to try and make her death have meaning, but directly linked her taking her own life to her parents forcing her into Christian conversion therapy.

'My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression.  I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.'

Despite the fact that protecting vulnerable children from damaging abuse that has proven links to depression, self harm and suicide twenty one people spoke out against the ban during the Council's comment period.  Those that spoke out against the new law, mostly religious leaders, called the ban on conversion therapies as an assault on free speech and the freedom of religion.

Dr. Dan Ferrell, a pastor, said 'I believe the city should stay out of this.  It says something about you.  Maybe other cities have better sense.'

'This Council will create another type of bondage for something people themselves have a right to seek liberty from,' said Bishop Victor Cousins.  Edward Hyde added, 'I want government to stay out of the bedroom.'

A rather ironic statement as Mr Hyde feels that the government has no place in the bedroom, but the church clearly does.  I guess democratically elected officials that represent diverse views and opinions can't be trusted to decide what's safe over members of a religion that has hardly changed in two thousand years.

A local civil rights lawyer and gay rights activist, Scott Greenwood, said 'The people who refer to this as free speech or freedom of religion are misguided because it's therapy, then it's medical therapy.  By definition, that is not speech and not free exercise of religion.  So there is no problem regulating this.  There is no First Amendment angle to this.  It is misguided to favour this totally debunked junk science and claim that it is somehow protected as religious expression.'

Most mental-health professional organisations such as the American Psychological Organisation have publicly spoken out against religious conversion therapies, describing them as being completely useless in their ability to change sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as extremely harmful to those undergoing the treatment.

The two council members who voted against the ban, who wish to continue to allow LGBT+ youth to suffer and die are Amy Murray and Charlie Winburn.  If you wish to contact these two council members and express displeasure at their voting against the ban you can do so by clicking bellow.

Amy Murray Email

Charlie Winburn Email


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Doctor Who 'Hell Bent' Review

After the wonderful episode that was 'Heaven Sent', 'Hell Bent' feels like something of a let down.  If you take the last three episodes of the season as one story, the second part was definitely the strongest.  That doesn't mean, however, that there weren't a few moments of greatness in the series finale.

The Doctor's back on Gallifrey.  After believing it lost in the Time War, then saving it but not knowing where it is The Doctor is finally home.  And what does he do once he's home?  Well, he takes over the planet without having to even do anything.

In a sequence that's a moment of pure genius The Doctor returns to the barn seen in 'The Day of The Doctor' and 'Listen', that has a connection to where he grew up, and immediately attracts a crowd of Time Lords who seem to hang on his every action.  Rassilon, last seen in 'The End of Time' played by Timothy Dalton, now regenerated to Donald Sumpter, sends out a gunship to bring The Doctor to the capital.

The Doctor simply ignores the ship, so Rassilon sends The General and a squad of soldiers, who he ignores.  Next it's the High Council, who he again ignores.  Finally Rassilon himself must face The Doctor, and it's clear that the two Time Lords hate each other.  Rassilon orders the soldiers with him to gun The Doctor down, yet none of them do it, instead switching sides and joining The Doctor.

The Doctor has effectively deposed Rassilon and taken over as the ruler of Gallifrey, and he didn't even have to lift a finger to do it.  It's because not only is Rassilon a major douchebag with questionable morals, but because even on Gallifrey The Doctor has become something from legend.  The soldiers sent to face him are in awe of him, they know what he's done in his life, and in the Time War, and they know he's without a doubt the wrong person to ever cross.

Watching The Doctor become the ruler of his people, again, without having to do anything is brilliant.  It shows just how amazing the character is.  Everything he's done, everything that makes him who he is makes him a figure to be feared, respected and almost even worshipped even by the most powerful race in the universe.

From here the episode takes an interesting and unexpected turn, as the whole issue of the Hybrid is thrown aside as it's revealed that the only thing The Doctor actually intended to do by becoming the Lord President of Gallifrey was using Time Lord technology to try and save Clara, something he knew they'd never allow him to do.

The Doctor finally has his home back, he's respected and revered by his people and he can do whatever he wants, and he's willing to throw all of that away just to save his friend.

The scene in which The Doctor saves Clara from the moment just before her death is one that is sure to be well remembered for two reasons.  The first is that The Doctor shot and killed someone.  Yes, that person is a Time Lord and has the ability to regenerate, but regeneration is something a Time Lord has to consciously do, there was no guarantee that The General was going to be able to regenerate in time before he died.  Also, when a Time Lord regenerates they do in a way die and become a new person, The Doctor has even said that himself.  This is a scene that does away with the modern 'no guns, no killing' Doctor and starts to bring back an aspect of the classic series, that if the stakes are high enough The Doctor will commit murder.

The second thing that this scene will be remembered for is the reinforcement of the rules of regeneration.  We've known that Time Lords can change gender when they regenerate, the concept was brought up in 'The Doctor's Wife' and made very clear when The Master became Missy.  We know that Time Lords can change ethnicity, we saw that in 'Let's Kill Hitler' when Mels regenerated into River Song.  But this episode erases any doubt or argument when The General regenerates from a middle aged white man into a young black woman.  As when Missy was first introduced, this is surely a way of guaging public reaction to Time Lords changing in such a way, possibly in anticipation of something similar one day happening to The Doctor.

From here the episode became all about The Doctor trying to save Clara, and actually failing to do so.  Despite how the episode ends, with The Doctor having mostly forgotten Clara, Clara still technically not being alive as she's frozen in time, with Clara and Ashildr/Me flying off into space and time in their own Tardis Clara is still eventually going to have to return to the trap street and face the raven.

It's made very clear that Clara isn't off the hook, she will eventually have to go back to Gallifrey and be sent back to the moment of her death, but she;s been given an extremely long stay of execution, essentially able to spend an eternity with another undying woman having adventures in space and time.  After how the death of Clara was handled in 'Face The Raven', and the fall out of that event in 'Heaven Sent' this feels like a cheap way out.  Moffat has killed the character, but still gets to give her an ending that will keep Clara fans happy.  It just feels like a bit of a cheat to those that liked the way she died.

One thing that absolutely has to be spoken about though is the inclusion of the original Tardis interior.  In a moment of pure fan service, that makes a hell of a lot of sense in the context of the show's universe, The Doctor steals another Tardis, one that has the same control room as the original William Hartnell Tardis.

Yes, this is quite obviously a little treat for fans of the show, it's nostalgia and fan service, but it also adds something to the show.  It's saying that the original Tardis interior wasn't something that The Doctor chose, like he has done in later incarnations, but is the standard default control room that all Tardis' have.

The episode ends with Clara and Ashildr/Me off to have adventures in their own American Diner shaped Tardis (why that of all things?) and The Doctor ready to continue on, to find a new companion and keep on being The Doctor.  He dons his velvet jacket, grabs his new Sonic Screwdriver (which is a thing of beauty), snaps his fingers to close the Tardis door and head off to even more edventures.