Conservative MP Miriam Cates has written to Sheffield City Council to object to the appearance of a transgender cartoonist at Sheffield Central Library, claiming there are “serious safeguarding red flags”.
Sophie Labelle is a Canadian Cartoonist and writer mostly known for her webcomic Assigned Male in which she draws from her own experiences as a transgender woman.
Labelle is set to speak at the library on February 27th but there has been opposition to her talk.
Ms Cates believes the event should be cancelled or for an age limit to be imposed. This is because of her ‘diaper fetish art’ in which she bases drawings of animals modelling in nappies and onesies (operating in a childlike manner)using real babies as a reference point.
Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge said: “I do think it’s odd that we’re having to have this discussion and that anybody is defending the idea of a grown adult with a publicly expressed sexual fetish being allowed to read to children but that said we clearly do need to have this discussion because some people, including the council, are defending it.”
The library denies there is any safeguarding concerns.
Sheffield citizens have taken to twitter to express their concerns about Labelle’s ‘diaper fetish’ of which she says is part of her identity and her work as an artist.
Labelle wrote on Twitter in 2021: “I have a kink I indulge responsibly, and I refuse to be shamed for it.”
Hilary Coulson, Interim Head of Sheffield Libraries has responded to the situation and said: “We are aware of claims and comments online but have no reason to believe these represent any safeguarding concern. We stand by our one-off author event to support Sophie to publicise her professional work and discuss her individual experience growing up trans.”
The Sheffield library event is advertised as being “suitable for adults, teens and families” and because of this many believe that this is not the space for Labelle to be showcasing her art.
Luna @wewoa on Twitter has said: “This is gross misconduct and complete disregard for child safeguarding. Grooming of public in plain sight and yet Miriam Cates is no doubt the one being called a transphobe by those enabling this predator. Child predators are being treated as though they are the victims wake up.”