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Why does Sadiq Khan support this trans mastectomy poster?

Credit: LGB Alliance

June 21, 2024 - 4:00pm

For most of my life, the idea of having to have a breast removed because of cancer has been among a woman’s deepest fears. Now a poster showing a young woman with scars from a voluntary double mastectomy has gone up in London — and we are being told it’s something to celebrate. Even those of us who believe we are inured to the misogyny of gender ideology are reeling having seen this image.

The poster is part of a series advertising the annual Pride march in London later this month. It has the logos of four “partners” including Tesco, which makes me wonder why the supermarket has diversified from selling own-brand hummus to promoting mutilation of the female body. But it gets worse.

At the bottom, the poster bears the legend “supported by: Mayor of London”. Sadiq Khan has often told us he is a “proud feminist”, yet no one involved in the production of this poster seems to have hesitated about publicly connecting his office with it. How are women in London, especially breast cancer survivors, supposed to feel about seeing the capital’s leading elected official apparently endorsing the amputation of healthy female body parts?

Kate Barker, CEO of the LGB Alliance, has written to Khan, describing the campaign as an attack on lesbians. “Your campaign tells vulnerable young women, most of whom are simply coming to terms with their own orientation as lesbians, that it’s ‘cool’ to surgically remove their healthy breasts,” she says.

Barker is absolutely right, and it tells us about an extraordinary shift in thinking at City Hall during Khan’s term of office. When Boris Johnson asked me to become co-chair of the Mayor’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board in 2013, one of our primary concerns was the damage done to women’s bodies in the name of “culture”.

Johnson commissioned the first piece of research on the extent of female genital mutilation (FGM) in London. I was involved in many discussions with senior officers from the Metropolitan Police, trying to understand the barriers to obtaining convictions. We were also becoming aware of other harmful practices such as “breast ironing”, where heated weights are placed on a girl’s chest to inhibit the growth of her breasts.

FGM and breast ironing are motivated by pernicious ideas about the female body, which is seen as out of control and a threat to men. I heard blood-chilling accounts from survivors including the magnificent Hibo Wardare, who was subjected to FGM in Somalia at the age of six. That, by the way, was at a one-day conference organised by City Hall before the present incumbent took office.

Identity politics has embraced the woman-hating ideologies of the past, with their origins in religion and culture, and dressed them up as something contemporary and cool. In less than a decade, we have gone from listening to campaigners against the mutilation of women’s bodies to putting a mutilated female body on a poster. From trying to prevent FGM and breast ironing to promoting the voluntary amputation of healthy body parts.

“They/them” are the words above the image of the woman with mastectomy scars. No female pronouns, no breasts — it’s total female erasure. How can a “proud feminist” support this attack on half the population?


Joan Smith is a novelist and columnist. She was previously Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board. Her book Unfortunately, She Was A Nymphomaniac: A New History of Rome’s Imperial Women will be published in November 2024.

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago

You have to question Khan’s motives in all this.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

A lot of the transgender crap is coming from Muslim politicians. One wonders if it’s part of a grander strategy to sap and demoralize the West.

Karen Arnold
Karen Arnold
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Or those who disapprove of gay men and lesbians can accept them as “real” women and men if they have body parts removed to simulate the opposite sex. It seems like gay conversions to me.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Karen Arnold
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Iran has a very high level of transgender surgeries, and Pakistan has a traditional group of transwomen called Hijras. This is accepted in conservative muslim societies, because homosexuality definitely is not. “Trans the gay away”, indeed.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader
Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
1 month ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

The Medium piece you cite, Talia, is written by a “closeted, pre-everything transgirl”. Hm. And, ” Talia” — such a wonderful Hebrew name. “Dew of God”. You certainly sprinkle your anti-gayness far and wide!

Kevin McBarron
Kevin McBarron
29 days ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

On Medium? So it is real? Ah OK

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes, saves parents the indignity of having to throw their gay son off the nearest block of flats.

David Hirst
David Hirst
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

That would require Muslims to be on their special unhackable Muslimphones to each other after the kids have gone to bed, plotting and cackling, and noting down their instructions from Muslim Secret Headquarters. Those conspiratorial things that Jews don’t do, Muslims don’t do either.

I strongly dislike a lot of the teachings of Islam, and some of the customs of many Islamic societies. I’ve also known and liked some admirable Muslims. We should criticise people and beliefs for reasons that are well-founded, but not for ones that aren’t.

Claire D
Claire D
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This is Culture Marxism in action.

Khan by supporting this knows he is further undermining western traditions.

The Marxist & Islamist revolutionary want the same thing.

They seem content to postpone their differences until they’re stood around the rubble.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant
Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 month ago

kahn would be thrown out the mosque if he were any other man

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
1 month ago

I saw a video of two women discussing and then having this surgery. It seemed obvious to me that they were simply lesbians (they were in a relationship ffs).

But they didn’t even seem to be totally into the gender woo-woo; it was rather presented as a form of body modification that was simply a type of cosmetic surgery, or like an extension of piercings etc (of which they had a lot).

So, I agree with Joan’s critique of this but it’s about far more than the ‘erasure of women’ and a ‘reversal of Feminism’ – those women (sorry to disappoint you Joan) thought it empowered them to do this and after all, it’s their body isn’t it ?

That’s a lot more to do with me culture, narcissistic self-regarding mirror-mirror navel gazing and the idea of a life without limits where your body is little more than a plastic vehicle for your fantasies and so-called ‘self expression ‘.

Ian_S
Ian_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

It’s a point I’ve often made myself — you have to see this in the context of the history of female body modification, and not just get caught up in the ephemera of “transgenderism” as the current particular expression. But when it comes to being fetishized in giant public posters endorsed by corporates and the state, you know there’s more going on than that. The subtext is anti-fertility, and feeds into the Western elite’s aesthetic of empty, isolated, nihilistic rage.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

This op should not be done on tbe NHS. If women want it for cosmetic reasons, then private surgery all the way. How many will back out if it is not “free”?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

I was in Utrecht last year when gay pride happened to be taking place and a float of topless women proudly flaunting their surgically-flat chests sailed past on one of the canals. The onlookers above were cheering and waving flags. I remember being overcome by a feeling of nausea and horror and had to look away.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I wonder if any of this is connected to the fifty percent decline in testosterone that people talk about. Maybe we’re going the same way as those hermaphrodite frogs?

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Yes, you are a melting snowflake. You should get a soft helmet.

Ian_S
Ian_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Oh the useless pervert troll again.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian_S

S/he turns up every time!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

I just felt terribly sorry for these young women who had, for no good reason, permanently mutilated themselves. Once the euphoria finally wears off, like you, they will most likely spend the rest of their lives trying to convince themselves and others that they made the right choices while deep inside continuing to feel that endless emptiness that gnaws away at their soul.

Vivienne Davis
Vivienne Davis
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

‘a feeling of nausea and horror ….. had to look away’, my feelings exactly on seeing this poster. I’m a 76 year old woman who has seen friends and family members die of breast cancer. I feel the amputation of healthy breasts is very wrong and nothing Talia Perkins may say will change that.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The annual bun-fight is on today where I live, with half the city centre closed off to traffic. Be surprised if many gays or lesbians even bother as it’s now a load of transgender tosh. Noticed that my gay neighbours are sitting in their garden having a drink and nowhere near it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Really puts into perspective how far we’ve come in such a short time.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Spare a thought for the impressionable girls who will see this poster.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

None of who will be troubled in any way. Turns out at most 1 in 45,000 are “impressionable” and the 99+ is 45,000 aren’t worth less.

Except to you.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
1 month ago

Like all performatively progressive politicians, Khan’s main concern is being seen to be on the side of the latest fashionably “marginalised” group.

If the next cab off the rank is people who stab their own eyeballs out with a fork because seeing “white cis hetero privilege” is so triggering, then he’ll support them.

Women and their rights are just collateral damage.

Claire D
Claire D
1 month ago

Apart from Khan has an agenda.
My enemies enemy is my friend.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago

What does he support? Your failing to abuse transgender children unto death
https://medium.com/@LizBeth1400/the-nhs-suppressed-reports-of-trans-youth-suicides-8e108836362f

Gaz Farnell
Gaz Farnell
1 month ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Don’t cherry pick. So-called “trans euphoria” is a product of testosterone, which makes you feel pretty good, but doesn’t last forever. Plenty of studies, not to mention the anecdotal evidence from detransitioners, suggest that the idea of asking confused parents “do you want a trans child or a dead child” is an appalling instance of emotional blackmail by mind-rotted idealogues, based on less than paltry evidence. You are championing the herding of gay youth into mutilation, sterilization and early death. You should be ashamed.

Bird
Bird
1 month ago

And you thought it just couldn’t get any worse ………….think again. Unfortunately, like everything Pride in this day and age – it has become the new religion. The rest of us must swallow it.
Beware – our first glimpses of accepting Bestiality has emerged. Heaven help us all. There I almost nothing left – except for………..
From The Free Press
→ Bestiality is cool, guys: It has finally come to this. The sex therapists are defending bestiality, declaring that we should stop “yucking people’s yums.” The presenter at a recent College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists gathering explained: “Animals don’t consent to anything—to live with us, to be eaten, to be worn, to be put in cages, to be hunted.” Photos used to illustrate the sympathy for bestiality presentation included Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (she does have a point there) and Twilight’s Bella with her werewolf love interest (also hot, but she ends up with the vampire!). If the bestiality people just mean Disney movies, I guess I’m neutral here, but then why are they looking at my shelter dog a little weird? 
James Esses on X: “The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (@cosrtnews) are teaching therapists “don’t yuk someone’s yum” when it comes to “bestiality/animal play”. Those arguing animals can’t consent to sex are told: “animals don’t consent to anything…so that isn’t argument enough”. https://t.co/JsOjfCVJ0t” / X

A J
A J
1 month ago
Reply to  Bird

Bestiality has recently been decriminalised in Spain, on the same bill as the introduction of gender self ID.

Men are now free to **** their cows and horses, as long as no visible injuries occur.

Yes, it is all a continuum of dangerous permissiveness.

Janet G
Janet G
1 month ago
Reply to  A J

Adults raping children is also on the agenda.

Bird
Bird
1 month ago
Reply to  Janet G

This unfortunately is next!
It was on the agenda and advocated for famously by many so called ‘intellectuals’ in the 1970s. In Paris, there was a serious public intellectual debate about it. The US produced the film Lolita, regardless of what you think of ‘literary’ creds, many men lamented and empathized with the main character. You must wonder at this alone. Many so called ‘top’ psychotherapists in the day declared that ‘no harm is done’, some even declared that it was in fact good for them – Children.
Where are we relationally – to perceive and accept such things?
Do not think for a minute that elements – and I say elements – (no, I’m not saying everyone) of our society still believe this. Some trans activists, the likes of Andrea Chu for example, declare that children should be free to identify themselves and express themselves from a very early age. Given total freedom of will. This includes sexually. This is an absurdity. First you must attack the very ‘identity’ of gender to begin with. We are well on this path.
Where are the protectors at the gate.
If we as a society do not put children front and centre, if we get rid of the ‘nucleus’ which binds a family together – then you get where we are.
We all need to wake up.
This was the grass roots of the 1960s feminist movement. Boy have they travelled far from that now.
Without women there are no men. There is no men or women – there is no world as we know it. Only transhumanism. I absolutely despair at this right now. There are active agents trying to cancel women out and many seem happy to allow it.
What are we prepared to allow????

Janet G
Janet G
1 month ago
Reply to  Bird

I don’t know about this claim that animals don’t consent to anything. Yesterday I was visited by a kookaburra, sitting on my verandah, clearly waiting for something. Kookaburras eat meat and I don’t so all I had to offer was a piece of tofu. I placed it on the railing beside the kookaburra. The bird flicked it away, I assumed in an act of rejection. The bird certainly failed to consent to accepting my offering.
Just one example, I have many others from my years of interaction with local birds.

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
1 month ago

Transgenderism and specifically the erasure of women, as evidenced in women’s sports and nearly all sectors of society, seems to be a convergence of old fashioned Freudian p***s envy, misogyny, self loathing, dysfunctional families, Madison Avenue, fear of women, cultural subjugation of women through mutilation and threats of violence, pedophilia and believing that perversity in education and grooming children is enlightenment, the worship of the F-word in movies and tv, hating one’s mother and despising one’s father, tattoos, debased art and vulgar entertainment, fads, a poor diet, moral turpitude, the willingness to believe in anything, big pharma’s avarice, the medical establishment’s avarice, apathy and never ending absurdity culminating in pride month parades and of course, giving ordinary gays and lesbians comfortable with their bodies a bad name.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 month ago

Like J.K Rowling, Joan Smith bears more than a passing resemblance to the middle-aged, middle-class women who are conspicuous at trans events, at which hordes of young women are accompanied by a goodly number of their academic instructors and administrators of the same sex, as such instructors and administrators now tend to be. Whether she likes it or not, Judith Butler is a woman. By some distance, she is the most cited female academic in the world. And who is citing her? Humanities academia is ever more heavily female.

The last Parliamentary Labour Party contained more women than men, and probably every one of those women would have called herself a feminist. All of two were gender critical. There was precisely one gender critic among 14 SNP women MPs, again no doubt feminists all. 10 of the 15 Liberal Democrat MPs, two thirds, were women. Did any of them ever give anyone cause to call her a TERF? Nor did Plaid Cymru’s only woman MP. The only Green MP was a woman, and the most likely Green MP this time is a woman. This whole situation has arisen under the post-Cameron Conservatives. Gender critical feminists need to have a word with their peers.

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
1 month ago

Because he is banally evil ?

A J
A J
1 month ago

Elective double mastectomies are a new iteration of a sado-ritual syndrome. This term was coined by the late feminist and theologian, Mary Daly, to describe cultural practices that require the mutilation of women’s bodies. Other examples include Chinese footbinding (which lasted 900 years!), the Indian practice of throwing live widows on their husband’s funeral pyres (Suttee), FGM and breast ironing, unnecessary gynae and obstetric procedures, cosmetic surgery to meet unrealistic beauty standards, and now so-called “gender-affirming care”.. These practices are usually initiated into a culture by men’s requirements, but then perpetuated and carried out by women.

The underlying common intent is always to control women’s sexuality. Women today who choose mastectomies are doing so in order to free themselves from being viewed as sex objects by men, to feel safer in the world.

By contrast, societies that mutilate young males do so as a rite of passage, usually with scarification, or physically dangerous trials of some form. For men, it is about affirming masculinity, not denying sexuality.

Source: Gyn/Ecology by Mary Daly, 1980.

George K
George K
1 month ago
Reply to  A J

“ Women today who choose mastectomies are doing so in order to free themselves from being viewed as sex objects by men, to feel safer in the world.” good point, very insightful, the world becomes more fragile, less and less predictable , the dominant western culture is rapidly disintegrating, so it’s a little wonder why women in particular feel threatened. Men too, so they’re either going after hyper masculinity Tate type, or seeking refuge in the traditional and stereotypical trans femininity

Janet G
Janet G
1 month ago
Reply to  George K

The disintegration is not just ‘happening’, it has been planned and is extremely well-funded. See anything written or said by Jennifer Bilek.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 month ago

I am all for improving tolerance and understanding towards minority groups which do not quite fit the norms of society. However posters like this do the reverse. They are a deliberate attack on the norms of society, are creepy and menacing and will only serve to increase fear and resentment amongst the majority. By seemingly being backed by authority they further increase the distrust of that authority.
For now we can at least voice these concerns, however it maybe in a few months, when a massive Labour majority has driven through its promised hate crime legislation, that all we can do is comment on what a lovely person is being depicted in all these lovely posters.

Ian_S
Ian_S
1 month ago

The quality of argument coming out of UK feminism against trans ideology is astounding. They’ve cut the pegs out from under transgenderism completely — yes, it staggers on, but only because those who haven’t caught up still think it’s fashionable.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 month ago

“Madness, madness”

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
1 month ago

Welcome to the “tolerant” paradise most of us have voted for, if not at the polls at least with our dollars and pounds.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
1 month ago

Khan is a hypocrite and not to be trusted.

Chipoko
Chipoko
1 month ago

This is a symbol of the utter depths of depravity to which the western world has descended – ditto gay pride marches. We are ruled by ruthless madmen and madwomen.