The popular social network Reddit has experienced an extensive purge. In a discussion forum focused on British politics, a massive number of posts have been deleted, with members being banned and moderators stripped of rights. In fact, the action resulted in the deactivation of the entire forum.
The reason? It was all designed to protect the identity of a single person, transgender politician Aimee Challenor.
She was born Ashton Challenor but started calling herself a woman when she was 16. She was reaping the benefits of gender transformation to what could have been considered a very glorious political career if it had not taken place in the British Green Party, which is more or less a marginal party in British politifcs. Challenor unsuccessfully ran for parliament for the Greens and sought to become the party’s deputy leader. Outside the party, she became involved with the Stonewall LGBT charity, led the Pride March in Coventry, and earned a profile in the Guardian left-wing daily.
But then came the fall.
The cause was her father David. Aimee Challenor hired him as her election agent. The problem was that David Challenor is a violent pedophile sentenced to 22 years in prison, among other things, for torturing and raping a 10-year-old girl. Challenor claims she did not know about the extent of her father’s crimes. The investigation of David Challenor began in 2015, and in 2016, he was charged for his crimes. He served as his daughter’s election agent in the 2017 parliamentary elections and in the May 2018 municipal elections and was convicted in August 2018. It is, therefore, very unlikely that Aimee Challenor was unaware of his past or what he was being accused of.
Following David Challenor’s conviction, the party launched an internal investigation into how a known pedophile might have become an election agent. In September, Aimee Challenor resigned over what she claimed was alleged transphobia in the party.
That brings us back to Reddit. The social network employed Aimee Challenor as an administrator following her resignation. This week, someone on Reddit shared The Spectator weekly article, which very briefly mentioned Aimee Challenor and her father’s case. This user was banned, as was anyone else who even mentioned Aimee. That led to the chaos described above and eventually a short-term shutdown of the forum until the situation calmed down.
Reddit later stated that the network believed the discussion surrounding Aimee Challenor as an attack on its employee and therefore launched an automatic response. However, it was set too broadly, which led to that massive purge. In the meantime, Reddit allegedly relaxed the parameters and unblocked the banned accounts.
The question is whether the whole situation would have reached such heights if Challenor had not been transgender. The Greens are among the most pro-transgender political parties in Britain. The article that unleashed the Reddit purge concerned the Greens’ decision not to include women on their list of oppressed groups, with the party claiming that the notion of women being oppressed solely because of their gender is transphobic. Greens co-leader Sian Berry then added she wants to make London “the most trans-inclusive city.”
The Challenor’s accusation of transphobia is thus greatly exaggerated.
In any case, Challenor, 23, began her political career at the right time. It only took a few years, and the atmosphere in society regarding transgender people has completely changed. The LGBT minority subgroup has become the main object of interest for civil rights activists. And all indications suggest that pressure from LGBT activists will continue no matter what their goals. It is clear that it has become a machine that needs to look for newer and newer cases and sources of outrage to keep going, and the social media networks will be right there along the way to push the movement to new heights.