Trans activist labels drag fun run for hospice a ‘hate crime’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A fun run that asked men to dress in female clothing is being investigated after a trans activist claimed it constitutes a hate crime.

Police officers recently received a request to investigate the ‘Dames on the Run’ race – where men run dressed as women to raise funds for a children’s hospice.

Men dressing as pantomime dames is a popular theme for charity events – such as the Dame Dash that was organised to raise money for Hackney Empire and St Joseph’s hospice in 2013.

However, trans activist Steph Holmes says the run – organised by Derian House Children’s Hospice – and those with a similar theme are “dehumanising”.

Ms Holmes said: “We get enough confusion with the word transgender – which mixes us up with transvestites.

“Transvestites certainly don’t dress for comic purposes and I don’t get up in the morning and think ‘what can I put on today to give people a laugh?”

“This race pokes fun at cross-dressing and, by association, us, reducing us to objects to be laughed at,” report The Telegraph.

She went on to describe the run as “dehumanising” and said that it gave way to “those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.”

“Dehumanising us this way gives carte blanche to those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.

“It’s a small step from ridicule to persecution.

“The current stats suggest that trans people have a 34 per cent chance of being beaten up, raped or killed for being trans. We do not need to give the bigots any more ammunition.”

Derian House have said that the run was not meant to “cause offence” and was conceived simply as a way to raise funds.

“As a children’s hospice, we deal with highly sensitive and emotive issues all the time and would never have considered organising a fundraising event that might cause upset or offence,” a spokesperson said.

They said that the purpose of the run was to get fathers of ill children more involved in fundraising, and that they are sorry for any upset they may have caused.

“It [Dames on The Run] was intended appeal to the fathers of desperately sick children, who do so much to hold their family together in the face of their child’s devastating illness and who ask for very little support in return.

“We were shocked to receive a complaint, and our chief executive wrote immediately to apologise for any offence caused and assure her that none was intended.”

Ms Holmes has since told PinkNews that she did not report Derian House to authorities, however Lancashire Police said: “We are aware of and investigating an incident that was reported to us as a hate crime on Thursday.”

Last week, actress Laverne Cox declared ‘state of emergency’ – due to the rise in trans murders in the US.

Seventeen trans women are known to have been murdered in the United States this year alone – fifteen of whom were trans women of colour – leading activists to describe the the situation as “an epidemic of anti-trans violence”.