Aimee Challenor

Aimee Knight
Aimee Challenor campaigning for Liberal Democrats.jpg
Knight campaigning for the Liberal Democrats in 2019
Born (1997-10-01) 1 October 1997 (age 23)
Coventry, West Midlands, England
EducationOpen University
Organisation Green Party (2016–2020)[1]
Stonewall (2015–2019)
Reddit
Political partyLiberal Democrats (2018–2020)
Green Party (2014–2018)
MovementTransgender rights
Spouse(s)
Nathaniel Knight
(m. 2019)
Parents
  • David Challenor (father)
  • Tina Challenor (mother)
Websitehttps://www.aimeeknight.uk

Aimee Knight (née Challenor, born 1 October 1997) is a British transgender activist, former spokesperson and electoral candidate for the Green Party,[2] and former Reddit administrator.[3] In 2017, she stood for election in Coventry South, receiving 1.3% of the votes.

In 2018, Knight's father, who had been serving as her election agent, was convicted and jailed for raping and torturing a 10-year-old girl.[4] Knight's recruitment of her father, despite her knowledge of the charges for 22 sexual offences, led to an investigation and Knight's suspension from the Green Party. She later resigned and joined the Liberal Democrats, but was suspended in 2019 over paedophilic tweets apparently posted by her partner.[5][6][7][8] Knight resigned from Stonewall UK at around the same time, leaving the United Kingdom for the United States.

In March 2021, Knight became a topic of contention on Reddit, causing several sub-communities to protest her employment by the company. This resulted, in a matter of hours, in an official statement by the website's administrators being released - in which Reddit confirmed that it had not properly vetted Knight before hiring her and that she was no longer employed by the company.[9]

Personal life

Although assigned male at birth, Knight says she realised she was a girl around the age of 10, but her parents were unaware of the existence of trans people.[10] Knight and her two younger siblings were taken into care in 2013, following a police investigation of a online threat made by Knight in a YouTube video, which resulted in neglect charges against her parents.[11][12] Knight came out as trans in 2014; her older sibling is also a transgender woman.[13]

As a child, Knight was diagnosed with autism[14][15] and oppositional defiant disorder.[16] She was educated at Lewis Charlton Learning Centre, an independent special school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.[17][18] Knight then attended Henley College Coventry, where she was the college's National Union of Students (NUS) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) officer.[19][20] Knight lived with her mother in Coventry in 2018, while studying for a B.A. in philosophy, politics and economics at the Open University.[17]

During 2019, Knight went through the process of changing her legal gender through the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the British government issued a new birth certificate recognising her as female.[21]

She married Nathaniel Knight, an American, in December 2019.[22]

Career

Knight joined the Green Party of England and Wales in November 2014. She was the chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens (LGBT, plus intersex, queer, asexual, and other) between 2015 and 2017.[23] Knight became the party's equality spokesperson in 2016.[17] According to the Green Party, Knight was the only trans spokesperson for a UK political party.[24]

In April 2017, Knight helped co-found the Global Greens LGBT+ Network alongside colleagues from Die Grünen, Groen, Taiwan Tree Party, and Taiwan Green Party.[25][26]

In July 2017, Knight was the Green candidate for Coventry South. She received 1.3% of the vote share, with 604 votes.[27] Knight stood for Coventry City Council elections as a member of the Green Party in February 2016[28] and May 2016.[29] She stood in a May 2018 local election and was not elected.

Knight stood in the 2018 party election to be deputy leader, which closed at the end of August.

In August 2018, Knight's father David Challenor was sentenced to 22 years in prison for raping and torturing a 10-year-old girl in the attic of the home shared by him, his wife Tina Challenor, and Knight. Knight's father had been reported to the police in 2015 and charged in November 2016. Following this, Knight chose her father as her election agent for the 2017 general election and also the 2018 council elections. Knight had given her father's name as "Baloo Challenor" on campaign materials, later commenting that he was known locally by this nickname.[11] After her father's sentencing, Knight – who insisted she did not know the allegations against her father in full – stood down from the Green Party's deputy leadership election.[4][11][12][30]

David Challenor became a member of the Green Party in December 2015 when Knight gifted him a membership. In November 2016, Knight informed party coordinators by Facebook messenger that he had been charged with the sexual offences. She did not disclose these charges in writing, as is required, when she signed up as a party candidate in 2017 and 2018.[31] When her father was convicted and sentenced in August 2018, he was expelled from the party with immediate effect. Correspondingly, Knight and her mother Tina, were both suspended from the party pending an inquiry, with Knight resigning before the associated disciplinary process got underway.[31]

Knight was consequently suspended from the party on a no-fault basis, and the party launched an inquest into possible safeguarding failures as her father was allowed to act as her election agent after having been charged.[32][33] In September 2018, Knight resigned from the Green Party citing transphobia;[34] however, Knight continued to cooperate with the inquest. The inquest by Verita found in January 2019 that she had committed a "serious error of judgement" in appointing her father as her campaign manager.[35][36] The report also said that the Green Party, who were told by Knight that her father had been arrested but not that he was a party member, could have done more to investigate the matter.[37]

In October 2018, she joined the Liberal Democrats, becoming the Diversity Officer of her local party.[38][39][40] She was suspended from the Liberal Democrats in July 2019, after tweets appeared on her partner's account admitting to having sexual fantasies involving sex with children. One of the tweets by Nathaniel Knight's account read: "I fantasise about children having sex, sometimes with adults, sometimes with other children, sometimes kidnapped and forced into bad situations."[5][6][7][8] Knight later claimed that her partner's account had been hacked.[7]

After working as an unpaid moderator, then as a contractor for the Reddit Public Access Network, Knight was hired as an administrator by Reddit.[41] In March 2021, Reddit banned a subreddit moderator for sharing a Spectator article which mentioned Knight, and some users alleged that Reddit were removing all mention of Knight and banning users who mentioned her. A large number of subreddits, including r/Music which had 27 million subscribers, and 19 other subreddits with over one million subscribers, went private in protest of the bans and the hiring of Knight despite her connections to David Challenor and Nathaniel Knight.[42][43][41][44] On 24 March, Reddit's CEO Steve Huffman said that Knight had been inadequately vetted before being hired and that Knight was no longer employed at the company. Huffman also stated that Reddit would review its relevant internal processes and attributed user suspensions to over-indexing on anti-harassment measures.[41][9]

LGBT activism

In 2015, Knight was the LGBTQ Officer for Henley College Coventry; she protested the college's censoring of websites such as Birmingham Pride, which were considered "Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual Interest" by the college web blocker.[19][20] Knight was an organiser of Coventry Pride in 2016 and 2017.[45][46][47]

After a Transport for London (TfL) helpline employee told Knight that she "didn't sound like a Miss", she successfully campaigned to get TfL to investigate the incident and to use gender-neutral language in announcements, avoiding phrases such as "ladies and gentlemen".[48][49]

In May 2018, BBC News published an article that quoted writer Miranda Yardley describing Knight as a "man". Knight said that the BBC did not contact her about the article before its publication, though following readers' complaints she was asked to comment, and her response was added to the article.[50][51]

Knight was a member of the Trans Advisory Group for Stonewall, Britain's largest LGBT charity. She resigned in the summer of 2019 stating there was a "hostile environment towards trans people in the UK" and that she was concerned for her mental health and safety.[52][53]

References

  1. ^ Knight, Aimee (26 April 2020). "Aimee Knight verified account on Twitter; "I've stepped away from @greenslgbt by the way. I don't support the Green Party any more. Not in the UK (where I'm no longer politically active) and not in the US. In the US they focus on POTUS without the local and state structures being in place."". Twitter. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Aimee Challenor – Candidate for St Michael's in Coventry local election". Democracy Club Candidates. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. ^ Kelleher, Patrick (25 March 2021). "Reddit cuts ties with controversial trans activist after fierce backlash and protests". PinkNews. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Man held 10-year-old girl captive in 'torture den' attic as he played out sadomasochistic fantasies". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b Reid, Les (6 November 2019). "Transgender activist Aimee Challenor no longer in Liberal Democrats post amid probe into sick tweets". Coventry Observer. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  6. ^ a b "A thread written by @kharonalpua: "Aww, seems MN is looking into my past and making me the bad guy now. As long as I'm going to be a target [...]"". "https://threader.app". Nathaniel Knight. 15 July 2019. Archived from the original on 11 November 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "Lib Dems suspend trans campaigner over tweets". The Times. 10 November 2019. Archived from the original on 16 November 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b Knight, Nathaniel [@kharonalpua] (15 July 2019). "5b. and I don't think that means I can or that it would be safe to do so. I fantasize about children having sex, sometimes with adults, sometimes with other children, sometimes kidnapped and forced into bad situations, sometimes coerced through fantasy mind control" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 15 July 2019 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ a b Eccleston, Ben (25 March 2021). "Coventry activist Aimee Challenor removed from Reddit role following backlash". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  10. ^ Andalo, Debbie (11 May 2017). "Growing up transgender: 'I wish I could have come out younger'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Gilligan, Andrew (26 August 2018). "Aimee Challenor: rising Green Party star quits deputy race over rapist father". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b Walker, Peter (27 August 2018). "Greens rising star quits deputy leader race after father jailed for rape". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  13. ^ Woods, Lisa (19 July 2017). "Behind the rainbows: speaking to Aimee Challenor about mental health within the LGBTIQA+ community". Break Forth. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  14. ^ Robdale, Emma (12 November 2018). "You're Not Trans... You're Autistic!". Disability Arts Online. Archived from the original on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
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  17. ^ a b c Packham, Alfie (6 June 2018). "Aimee Challenor: 'Yes, I'm trans, but I'm a Green politician and proud of it'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Lewis Charlton Learning Centre, Ashby-de-la-Zouch". The Good Schools Guide. Archived from the original on 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  19. ^ a b Cooney, Rebecca (19 January 2015). "Internet block on LGBT websites 'sends out wrong message'". FE Week. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  20. ^ a b Payton, Naith (13 January 2015). "College blocks students from accessing LGBT sites". PinkNews. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  21. ^ Challenor, Aimee (1 August 2019). "Aimee Challenor verified account on Twitter; " It is slightly strange how a single sheet of paper can make a person so happy, yet I am ecstatic right now, for me this is completion in the eyes of the law. 5 years of transition, and the Government finally recognises me as Female. I'm over the moon. 💜"". Twitter. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  22. ^ Knight, Aimee. "A short timeline". Archived from the original on 13 August 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  23. ^ "LGBTIQA+ Greens | Aimee Challenor". Green Party of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
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  25. ^ Global Greens Congress (2 April 2017). "Advancing LGBT+ Rights after workshop FINAL BEFORE PLENARY APRIL 02" (PDF). Global Greens. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2021.
  26. ^ Mulcahy, Sean (25 January 2017). "Global LGBT+ Network to launch". The Australian Greens. Archived from the original on 1 April 2021.
  27. ^ "Coventry South parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Lower Stoke by-election 11 February 2016". Coventry City Council. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Coventry City Council (local) election results - 5 May 2016". Coventry City Council. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
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  31. ^ a b Epiq Europe Ltd (14 March 2019). "IICSA Inquiry-Westminster" (PDF). The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. UK. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2020.
  32. ^ Walker, Peter (31 August 2018). "Green party launches inquiry as it suspends Aimee Challenor". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 31 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Green Party suspends member over father's child rape conviction". BBC News. 31 August 2018. Archived from the original on 23 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  34. ^ "Activist quits Greens over 'transphobia'". BBC News. 4 September 2018. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Aimee Challenor: Green star failed to properly alert party of father's child rape charges". 13 January 2019. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  36. ^ "Green high-flier made 'serious error' by appointing father who faced sex charges as her agent". 13 January 2019. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Green party failed to properly investigate child abuser – report". 12 January 2019. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  38. ^ Mortimer, Josiah (3 October 2018). "Investigation into ex-Green Party spokesperson Aimee Challenor's application to join Lib Dems". Left Foot Forward. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  39. ^ "[archive of] - Aimee Challenor (Coventry Liberal Democrats Executive Committee)". Coventry Lib Dems. 2019. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019.
  40. ^ Tominey, Camilla; Walsh, Joani (5 February 2019). "Feminists not welcome in Lib Dems unless they support gender neutral toilets, says peer". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 5 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  41. ^ a b c Robertson, Adi (25 March 2021). "Major subreddits are going dark to protest Reddit allegedly hiring a controversial UK politician". The Verge. Vox Media, LLC. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  42. ^ Goforth, Claire (24 March 2021). "Massive subs all go private to protest Reddit's hiring of a pedophile 'enabler'". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021.
  43. ^ Tamburro, Paul (24 March 2021). "Reddit's most popular subreddits go private in protest against 'censorship'". GameRevolution. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  44. ^ Knowles, Tom (25 March 2021). "Social platform in Reddit censorship row over Spectator article". The Times. London, UK: Times Newspapers Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  45. ^ Hartley, Laura (18 June 2016). "Hundreds gather for Coventry Pride". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
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  48. ^ Pasha-Robinson, Lucy (8 December 2016). "Sadiq Khan looks to scrap gender specific announcements on London trains and buses". The Independent. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  49. ^ Gillett, Francesca (12 July 2017). "TfL scraps 'ladies and gentlemen' announcements in bid to be more gender-neutral". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  50. ^ "Twitter 'bans women against trans ideology', say feminists". BBC News. 30 May 2018. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  51. ^ Challenor, Aimee (30 May 2018). "It's hard tackling transphobia when the BBC propagate it". i. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  52. ^ "[archive of] - Trans Advisory Group". Stonewall. 2016–2018. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  53. ^ "With mixed emotions I left my role..." Aimee Challenor. Archived from the original on 31 March 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2019.

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