Twitter backlash as Toby Young “I was a Lesbian” article resurfaces

In the article from 2004, Young describes disguising himself as a woman in order to “approach gorgeous young lesbians”




Twitter users, including shadow Women and Equalities Officer Dawn Butler, have taken to the site to express their anger after Journalist and Conservative supporter Toby Young was appointed to the Office for Students - the government’s new university watchdog.


Many have drawn attention to an article written by Young titled “I was a Lesbian for a night”.


Posted on 17 October 2004, the piece describes how Young employed the help of a special effects team to disguise himself as a woman so that he could “approach gorgeous young lesbians” and “make out with them on the dance floor”. 


Young writes: “With the help of a crack special effects team I disguised myself as a woman and embarked on a whistlestop tour of New York's hottest lesbian clubs.


“The plan was to approach gorgeous young lesbians, draw them into my confidence, then make out with them on the dance floor.”


In response to the article, Dawn Butler MP wrote in a tweet: ​



Butler told DIVA Magazine: “By any measure, this is a shocking appointment by the Prime Minister.


"Toby Young is completely unqualified and unsuitable for this role. The message Theresa May is sending to students is that under the Tories, misogyny and homophobia will not just be tolerated, but rewarded.”


In the online piece, Young describes how he and two female friends “embarked on a whistle stop tour of New York’s hottest lesbian clubs”. Referring to “first stop” lesbian club Ruby Fruit, Young wrote:​


“They're hard-core dykes. I'd been warned by several veterans of the New York gay scene that if the denizens of Ruby Fruit discovered I was a man there was a good chance they'd beat the crap out of me. 


“I joked that I wasn't scared of a bunch of lesbians but, in reality, I was terrified. Several of them looked like German shot-putters.”


He then adds that one of his female companions was “so traumatized” by the experience, that she decided not to join him and his other female companion at the other venues.


In response to the controversy over the Spectator columnist's appointment, co-chair of Pride In London, Alison Camps told DIVA:


"In her New Year’s message, the Prime Minister spoke powerfully about her determination to ‘eliminate’ prejudice and harassment. Particularly apt, given we've just put rest to a year in which the abuse of women in the workplace - particularly in the political sphere - finally became a serious topic of conversation. 


"With the cobwebs of 2017 barely dusted off, we must surely question the appointment of a man who once penned an article describing how he dressed up ‘as a lesbian’ so as to ‘approach gorgeous young lesbians, draw them into my confidence, then make out with them’.


"Given this and what else we know about Toby Young’s thoughts about women and those in the LGBT+ community, this appointment is a disappointment."


 As well as Butler, many others have taken to Twitter to express their anger:







The full article, which is still available online at Young’s personal website, can be read here.



Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves. //


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