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Comment: Prison Service must jail transgender criminals safely

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  1. Not sure where I stand on this, but my gut feeling is to say that if you are worried about being treated badly in prison due to your gender-assignment status, then DON’T DO THE BLOODY CRIME!

    It’s not rocket science!

  2. George:

    So rape, assault and murder is an acceptable punishment for any crime that would result in a jail sentence?

  3. Don’t see why they don’t just put her in a women’s prison. She’s a woman now anyway. =/

  4. The ridiculous Gender Recognition Act 2004 complicated matters, because it allowed someone who claims to be a male to female transsexual person to be given legal gender recognition, without actually ever having any treatment.
    This problem would have been easily solved if there was a surgical requirement of a physical change of sex, before allowing legal recognition.

    Because there was no surgery requirement, The Equality Act 2010 in attempting to find a solution, further complicated things, because it allowed specific discrimination against transsexual people precisely because of the absurd legislation that resulted from the GRA2004.
    Now transsexual people can officially have one gender or none, and have no human right to any gender.
    Thanx Stephen Whittle and Harriet Harmen

  5. lisa

    so people should need to have surgery?

    what about people who are too old to be able to handle invasive surgery?

    what about people who with religious beliefs opposed to blood transfusions (often needed during srs)?

    what about the majority of transmen who dont have srs because a, its extremly expensive and b, because its lower quality to what transwomen get.

    what about people who do not want srs? you really think people should be forced into having their genitals cut to ribbons and put into a form they dont want JUST so their gender can be legally protected as cis peoples are from the day their born?

    if so. you monster.

  6. Its unlawful for any public body to act in a way which is incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998.

    I would suggest to put a transgendered person who does not identify as male in a male prison is a breach of articles 3 of the human rights act.

    Article 3: freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    To also put a transgendered person into segregation because of their trans status must also be considered as a inhuman or degrading punishment.

    The state cant just punish a trans prisoner for being trans.

    It would seem the prison service have dragged their feet for too long on this issue. Maybe its going to take a legal challenge and a huge compensation payout of something to be done.

  7. Christine Burns 14 Jan 2011, 3:40pm

    Unfortunately, Helen, I think it will take a horrible death to shake this up. The Prison Service have been slow rolling the production of procedures for sensible handling of trans people since around 1997, and the last draft I saw was pretty workable. The only reason they sat on them was because putting those guidelines into force would have undermined a case they were fighting at the time.

    And George, it’s a sad fact that any of us can end up in Prison without setting out to offend. That includes you. It happens all the time. Furthermore, there is a definite tendency for trans people to be given custodial sentences in circumstances where other people wouldn’t have been

  8. Xaria

    If someone identifying as female has a penis and can use it, they shouldn’t be put in a female wing of a prison.

    But if her passport says she is female, despite having that penis, what do we do then? She will protest that her human rights are being abused because she cannot be in a jail that reflects her gender. But the women in the prison will protest that they risk sexual attack from the rogue penis in their wing. To me, the answer is simple: unless you have enough trans prisioners (of the same gender) to be able to open a new wing, you put the woman with the penis on the men’s wing. Or allow her to have solitary confinement. The safety of those in the women’s prison must come first. It doesn’t work the other way around as a female to male transexual cannot rape a man with her vagina.

    It’s clearly not ideal, but that’s the best solution for the moment.

    1. Gabby Newton 17 Aug 2011, 5:33pm

      rogue penises hmmmmmmmm would that include rogue vaginas toooo
      or hey how about rogue asexuals???
      rogue intersexed educate you
      maybe you should re-evaluate your views and educate yourself in transgender issues before you put your point of view across…………..Xaria

  9. So mmmmmmmm

    Would you put that woman who may have breasts in a male prison.

    Or isolate her in a segregation unit as punishment for being trans.

    Would you accept a prison segregation of gay male prisoners because of the risk of sexual attack from the rogue gay penis?

    Why are female prisoners not protected from rogue lesbian vaginas?

    Do you see how ridiculous it is to suggest because a female prisoner is trans they must be a sex offender.

  10. @mmmmmmmmmm

    Are you saying that women can’t rape men, and that sodomy is a-okay as long as the perpetrator doesn’t have a penis?

    The bigger problem isn’t “who will rape who.” It’s that our prisons are insecure enough that rape and violence happens.

  11. mmmmmmmm, how do you define ‘use it’?

    if they can pee from it or if they can have sex using it? because if they can have sex using it i suspect they might not be on the right hormones. or not on hormones at all.

    and your bias is given away by you using the word her to describe a transsexual man.

    your basically pushing the idea that transsexual women are really men and transsexual men are really women. a transphobic trope with a long, sad and painful history.

  12. Is mmmmm really a nick?

    Whatever. Your “rogue penis” post is just a bit simplistic. First, because it makes some pretty large assumptions about the inevitability of a penis going rogue on a woman’s wing. What? Like, this penis: does it have a life of its own?

    Does the person it is attached to have no say in the matter? Do you think someone self-identified enough as a woman to have obtained a grc and changed their passport gender is going to have rape high on their list of “things to do whilst in prison”?

    Second, there are more states to transition than “before” and “after”. I’m some way down the line now. I have quite obvious breasts: a number of other characteristics that start to mark me out as feminine – and, to my surprise, of interest to some men sexually. Out in public, I need to be careful.

    But oh dear: I still have a dick! Although after the serious bashing its taken from hormones and hormone blockers it is a poor shrunken thing. Not sure I could get or maintain an erection any more: have very little sexual drive (due to exceedingly low testosterone levels) and therefore very unlikely to fall into any sort of rogue category.

    Oh, and third: you appear to assume I wouldn’t be welcome in women’s space. In fact, what I have found to be seriously heartening is just how little opposition I have received from women, whether it be to me in changing rooms or loos, or whatever. I would not feel safe in male or male-only spaces any more. It is VERY obvious to all concerned that my identification as female is not a passing phase, but long term and genuine. So I wonder if a lot of your post isn’t actually a non-issue.

    jane
    xx

  13. Xaria
    Not everyone can drive a car for various reasons, too old, too young, blind, not enough money or maybe just cant be bothered to learn. So should we ban the driving for EVERYONE because of the minority of people who can’t take part?
    I’m sick to death having my rights as a woman born transsexual, many years post op, dictated by the few who didn’t make it. The tail is wagging the dog, here.

  14. I’m sick to death having my rights as a woman born transsexual, many years post op, dictated by the few who didn’t make it. The tail is wagging the dog, here. – Lisa W
    ————————————————————————————–
    That’s almost a Julie Bindel anti trans argument.

    I would suggest if you are many years post op you are simply just a woman don’t worry what we are doing.

    Some of us will be unfortunate enough to have our GRS funding decided under the new GP commissioning system. We do not stand a chance of being funded with 80% of GPs thinking GRS should not be funded.

    But I guess you are OK, so what does the rights of others matter right!

  15. Helen
    Take a guess why GP’s can now easily get way with saying GRS needn’t be funded?
    Because of the GRA2004 says you can be legally female WITHOUT surgery, so they can say it’s not necessary.
    Has the penny dropped yet? That’s why the government was so happy to accept that clause.
    I wish you luck, but you haven’t been well served by the unelected ‘trans campaigners’

  16. Xaria

    I mean use it for sex, i.e. it can sustain an erection that could be used for sexual purpose. I haven’t said anything about trans women really being men or vice versa, I am looking at it from the practical perspective that the woman has still got a bloody penis! I wish some of you would think about the practical side of things and not just the psychological side!!

    Jane Fae

    You open a whole new can of worms. Does this mean that the prisoner must first of all have had to undergo hormone treatment before she can declare that she is a female and not a man? What about if that person hasn’t started the transition process but identifies as a female? The penis would be more than able to work. The point at which the gender can be officially declared as changed needs to be clarified. A trans person with breasts and a penis is hard to slot into an institution like a prison. That’s just a practical consideration, not an ethical one.

    You might argue that the person attached to the penis should have some say, but what about the women in the prison? I wonder how many of them would feel comfortable knowing that there was a working penis among them. And we don’t know why that offender is there – what if it is to do with sexual offences? Do we then differentiate the trans sector further on that basis? If you stole a jammy dodger, yeah ok, but you raped someone so no?

    As regards changing rooms, that is only for a short space of time and you are not constantly around them. Most women could handle that. I doubt many women would be overly comfortable sharing a locked room with someone who still had a working penis every day for years on end. Especially when that person isn’t getting any sex. We all know what happens in male prisons with regards rape, it is not worth risking it in a women’s prison too. Plus, what if there were more than one trans person in that prison? Two transitioning females with the strength of two men and working penises? The risk is increased. Remember, most trans people are fully grown adults by the time the process starts and have all the physical strength of that gender. It is more significant than you are making out.

    As much as it seems unfair, it is not your right to dictate to women what they feel comfortable with in their personal space.

    Helen

    Who said anything about trans people automatically being sex offenders? You’re paranoid (but then I see that in a lot of your posts). Solitary wouldn’t be for punishment, it would be for protection – and it’s not even being advocated, it was a possible interim solution. Gay men have the same equipment as straight men and thus physically (in terms of genitalia) equal in prison. Vagina attack in female prisons? Oh please.

    Fwip

    Females can only sodomise a male with an object. And that risk is no greater or smaller than a fellow male prisoner doing it. Thus the gender of that prisoner is irrelevant in that instance.

    I do agree though that rape is something that is poorly dealt with in prisons. This is partly why we are having the whole debate on whether a trans female with a penis should be on a female wing in the first place.

    Lisa W

    I can see how frustrating it must be for you. Hopefully there will be a solution that means your life doesn’t get affected by those who are only part-way through the transition phase. Though they need security just as much as anyone else.

  17. It may be bad news for the rule of law, but it’s great news to me as it interferes with the idiotic war on drugs.

  18. Somebody needs to get a grip here.
    The percentage of transgender / transexual people generally is probably less than 1% of the population. At a finger in the wind, it is probably 0.001% of the UK prison population.

    UK prison’s are already massively overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded to the point where judges are told to avoid custodial sentences where possible and many criminals are being paroled early only to commit further crimes, and you people consider we should actually set up units to cater for them?

    It is ridiculously selfish and uneconomic to demand such a huge outlay for such a tiny number of people. Everyone knows the rules, you commit a serious crime, you go to prison. That rule should apply to *everyone*, including TS / TG people.

  19. If the state put you in segregation just for being gay how would you feel Spanner?

    The prison service do not segregate gay and lesbian inmates despite only being a tiny minority of the prison population.

    inhuman and degrading treatment is illegal, it does not matter if you are 0.01% or 99% of the population. The human rights needs to be apply to everyone equally.

  20. Helen

    Now that was pretty poor – you’ve just confused two completely different things: gender and sexual orientation. Are you sure you know about this stuff?

    If you’re gay, the gender is certain. If you are a transitioning person, the gender is not. And that is what the problem is.

    Gay or straight men – no problem, they’ve all got a penis and the physical chances of rape are just the same. Gay or straight women together on a wing – ditto.

    BUT: female with a penis on a women’s wing – hmmm, one of them has a penis, so one of them can physically rape by using a penis. It makes a HUGE difference to how comfortable women feel with you being in the wing.

    Ultimately, your argument is ‘I feel like a woman, so it is MY right to go on a female wing’. It isn’t, like it isn’t your right to go in a female toilet while you still have a penis. Only when you have transitioned is it your right because then you ARE a woman. It’s like a drag queen requesting to go on a female wing because he feels more comfortable around women and, inside, feels feminine. We wouldn’t allow that.

    Before you start hurling your usual abuse of ‘you are transphobic and you don’t understand or you’re making out trans people to ALL be sex offenders, hiss, hiss, hiss’, you can bite my ass because this isn’t about whether anyone LIKES or DISLIKES trans people, it’s about finding a practical solution to a complex issue – in a bloody overcrowded prison system!! In most cases in society, it is a doddle determining rules that give trans people the same freedom as everyone else. But, the complex of nature of being tran means that where rules have traditionally fallen along gender lines (with good reason because they protect females, it makes it hard to determine what is fair and right for ALL not just YOU!

  21. Here we go the implication that a male 2 female transsexual is a rapist.

    Is that not just a progression of the same argument fundi Christians use with the implying gay men are child molesters?

    A male 2 female transsexual in a female prison would have a single cell and be required to bath separately until they have have had lower half surgery, its a perfectly manageable situation with no risks. I can tell you anyone on hormones in not capable of having sex even if they wanted to. Physically after six months of hormone use a F2M is the same strength as a CIS gendered female.

    But you would send me with a body that’s 90% female to a male prison because I have a bit of dead meat between my legs!

    Maybe we should do chromosome checks on all prisoners to make sure non of those pesky intersexed people are in the wrong prison.

  22. Helen

    “Here we go the implication that a male 2 female transsexual is a rapist”

    See, you’ve done it again haven’t you? At no point has anyone implied this, it is your paranoid, twisted mindset that is doing all the accusing here. Well, if you want to just play the hysterical victim card, go right ahead, but you can stick the support I would have had for you right up your backside and sit on it!

    You would do well to remember that without the LGB part of LGBT, trans people would have had almost no support network at all. Despite the fact that being gay and being trans have almost nothing in common (I like men, I don’t want to be a woman, what do I have in common with you other than being a minority?), we have supported you as much as we possibly can. Pushing for legal changes, reporting cases of abuse through our media and including you in all our campaigns. If you start accusing us of transphobia even when we are so very obviously on your side, then you can sod off and fight your own battles.

    Actually, why don’t you just do that anyway. You are seriously paranoid!

  23. Helen: “If the state put you in segregation just for being gay how would you feel Spanner?”

    I would actually feel a lot happier about it. Segregation is there to *protect* vulnerable inmates, not isolate them.

    How long do you think paedophiles would last in an open prison?

  24. Spanner

    Careful, Helen will have you for equating paedophiles with gay men! I see your point entirely, while not ideal, solitary or segregation will protect the vulnerable. And, indirectly, Helen has approved of it herself by stating that trans people would bathe seperately and live separately. Isn’t that the same as you and I have just said?

  25. @ mmmmmmmm

    Are you seriously telling trans people that, if we want to stay in the queer rights movement, we don’t get to call you on any problematic comments you might make?

    This, for example:

    “it isn’t your right to go in a female toilet while you still have a penis”

    …is a problematic comment. The fact that you claim to be on the side of trans people doesn’t make it any less problematic.

    Your reasoning seems to be a clear example of the idea that cis people need ‘protecting’ from trans people. Have you considered turning your thinking around and considering the issues surrounding the protection of trans people from cis people? Trans people are statistically at far greater risk, after all.

    “As much as it seems unfair, it is not your right to dictate to women what they feel comfortable with in their personal space.”

    Trans women are women. We are women because we identify as women; our genital shape doesn’t come into it. We’re not dictating what other women feel comfotrable with in women’s space – we just have a *share* in women’s space. You can’t force people not to feel uncomfortable, and nobody is trying to do so – but it doesn’t follow that all discomfort should therefore lead to segregation. For example, the discomfort of a white woman at the thought of sharing facilities with a woman of colour should not precipitate racial segregation, however real that discomfort might be to her.

    And I’m concerned by your continued preoccupation with penises in relation to rape. Rapists don’t need a penis or great physical strength in order to violate others. Rape doesn’t have to mean penetration by a penis. If we can lay to rest such misconceptions about rape, we might stand a better chance of showing rape victims appropriate support.

  26. Sally

    “Are you seriously telling trans people that, if we want to stay in the queer rights movement, we don’t get to call you on any problematic comments you might make?”

    You can call anything into question, I would encourage you. But I would dissuade you from crapping on your own doorstep by hissing at any mere questioning of YOUR rights by the huge network that supports you – especially when there isn’t actually anything in it for us LGB people. Rights are only guaranteed where they don’t impact on anyone else’s lives or pose a threat in any way. The grey area of transitioning means that this isn’t going to be clear cut.

    “This, for example:

    “it isn’t your right to go in a female toilet while you still have a penis”

    …is a problematic comment. The fact that you claim to be on the side of trans people doesn’t make it any less problematic.”

    It’s obviously a good point. You think, as someone who identifies as female, that you should be able to enter female toilets whilst you have a functioning penis. BUT, like with the prison, there is an added risk of rape from you still having that penis. Not to mention, think of the men who could dress up as women and claim they are trans and then attack women in those toilets. A ‘man’ in women’s clothing would have been thrown out of female toilets 30 years ago in order to protect women. The dilemma now is that the same person would probably be allowed to enter the toilets because it woud be against trans rights. And you can’t conduct a stop and search of that person’s underwear just to check. On one level, I support the trans right to use those facilities. On the other, what about the women in the toilets? They have lost some kind of protection. After all, what woman is going to feel comfortable with a – dare I say it – 6ft4, manly looking woman with a deep voice? How would they know if it is actually man or a trans person? How can they be sure that person is in there for the right reasons? Unfair, clearly, but do you see the dilemma it raises. If the solution is to create trans toilets like they did in Thailand, fine. But no single group should be left feeling threatened by whatever decision is made.

    “Trans women are women. We are women because we identify as women; our genital shape doesn’t come into it.”

    That’s very simplistic. I could identify as a woman if I wanted to. Now, the problem is I have a functioning penis. It would not be right to stick me in a women’s prison for reasons that are obvious – rape and pregnancy. The problem lies in at what point must a trans person be considered ‘trans enough’ to be put in the prison wing of their new gender. How much hormone treatment should they have had? How small and dysfunctional should the penis have become? Do we stick that person on the men’s wing until the hormone treatment starts and then move them? These are legitimate questions that need to be answered, so stop being so offended by everything. It’s not going to get us to a solution that suits all.

    “For example, the discomfort of a white woman at the thought of sharing facilities with a woman of colour should not precipitate racial segregation, however real that discomfort might be to her.”

    You mixed up two VERY different things here and it not helpful. Black and white women are equal in biology. A trans female who still has a penis is NOT equal in biology to another female (yet). And women would feel worried by that. And yes, that includes post-op trans women too!

    “And I’m concerned by your continued preoccupation with penises in relation to rape. Rapists don’t need a penis or great physical strength in order to violate others. Rape doesn’t have to mean penetration by a penis. If we can lay to rest such misconceptions about rape, we might stand a better chance of showing rape victims appropriate support.”

    Stop trying to pretend you know more about rape than the rest of us, it’s pretty patronising and you are overlooking some serious points. Rape can be committed using anything that can be stuck in an orifice, we all know that. BUT if you are a woman with a penis, you have one more way of committing rape than the other women on the wing. Plus, if you have a penis, the rape will stimulate you sexually and you could end up ejaculating. Then making that woman pregnant. Did you think about that? Of course not.
    There may be many ways to rape, but let’s not add one more possibility through misguided political correctness. This is a PRACTICAL issue and clearly something that trans people haven’t considered.

    As much as you want to make it seem that trans women are completely and utterly equal at every stage of their transition to other women, you are very much mistaken. There are implications of still having male genitalia in an all-women environment.

    As for cis versus trans, I highly suspect that both have the same need for protection.

  27. Sally, I really don’t think you get the big picture, you see the world through your own, narrow, blinkered, and rather rose-tinted perspective.

    Can you imagine a woman’s communal shower with one woman, as you prefer to call her in their midst with a penis? Irrespective of mmm’s rape comments, wouldn’t you consider that a rather peculiar scenario?

    Equally, in a men’s shower, a bunch of men, all with penises, except one has a fully developed pair of breasts?

    Either way you look at it, it’s not an acceptable situation, and you may rant, complain and foam at the mouth about how you expect society to accept you, but it matters not one jot, because it is about how you are actually perceived.

    I am a gay man, so apparently, I am on your side, and I’m supposed to understand your plight, but even I am still baffled by the terminology and what I am supposed to say and do, yet still continue to be chastised because I confused a transexual with a transgender person that I thought was a transvestite, that later turned out to be a lesbian hermaphrodite trapped in a man’s body.

    Yes, I know I am being flippant, but for God’s sake, I wish some people would realise that the world does not revolve around them, and stop taking personal umbrage at every little slip of etiquette the less informed of us genuinely make.

  28. Ignore “Spanner”

    He is our Resident Racist. Towards the end of the thread below, he reveals how he can only think in racialised stereotypes. Expect the same on trans issues!
    .
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/01/07/bbc-newsnight-guest-calls-australian-cricket-team-poofters/

    Ignore and avoid him . . . pinknews is already censoring his insistence on using the N****r word, which he thinks he has a legitimate right to use when refering to people of colour.

  29. I only had to read the top line to know it was JohnK.

    I have some opinions you may disagree with John, but nonetheless, I think I make a lot of valid points.
    If you wish to make a counter argument to my posts, please feel to do so, but please stop with this crap racist argument, it’s getting rather boring.

    So far, all I have seen you do on these forums is slag me off, bitch and complain and ultimately contributed absolutely fvck all to the debates.

    Either put up or shut up.

  30. Christine Beckett 16 Jan 2011, 10:47am

    It’s no more “bad for the rule of law” than any other non-custodial sentence handed out by the courts for a myriad of reasons.

    The courts are bound by law to take into account the situation of the convicted person when passing sentence, and that is what happened in this case.

    The issue of whether or not a special unit should be set up for trans prisoners is worth debating, but please don’t base the Pro argument on the grounds that they should be jailed to avoid angering the Daily Mail.

    chrissie.

  31. I can’t believe the author of the article complains that a trans person has been let off.

    Growing up as trans, dealing with family as trans, dealing with work place as trans – all make it more difficult to integrate – and therefore more likely to end up in marginalized activities.

    We should rejoice that a trans person has been let off – rather than fear the reactions of a media that hates us, and stirs up this hate by making it sound like we are privileged (in the same way they do with asylum seekers and so on).

  32. I don’t think trans people should get away without punishment, but I do believe trans people should be treated with reverence. That means that trans people should have certain entitlements–a leniency in certain areas. Everyone seems to underestimate the willpower it takes to transition, even a little, let alone fully. Trans people are often shunted into criminal behaviours because of prejudice and discrimination leading to poverty. We all do what we have to in order to survive, so there comes a point where crime IS the answer. Society doesn’t seem to be doing a lot to support trans people in their transitions (the law is only one area, people), so it’s little wonder there’s so much trans crime. Am I blaming society for those who rise up against it? Yup.

    As for this issue of where to imprison transpeople who deserve punishment (murder, rape, assault, etc. — crimes with actual victims) why not just try house arrest?

  33. Ivy : “As for this issue of where to imprison transpeople who deserve punishment (murder, rape, assault, etc. — crimes with actual victims) why not just try house arrest?”

    Are you SERIOUS!!?
    House arrest and tagging is for low threat perpetrators. Would YIU want to live next door to a murderer or rapist with just a leg tag between you and them?

    Sentences specifically define crimes of such nature to be imprisonable offences. You seriously need to get into the real world. Criminals are criminals, whatever sex or gender they happen to be. I appreciate the additional circumstances, but these people are not stupid and are fully aware of the consequences of their actions should they be caught.

    I think there should be segregated wards for these people, but nonetheless, they should do their porridge like everyone else.

    Prison serves a threefold purpose, to deter, punish and contain.

  34. But she was not a murder spanner, just a pretty thick low level drug dealer! She had a big bag of class c drugs sent to her via Royal Mail. Reggie Kray or a master mind champion she was not!

  35. (trigger warning for further discussion of rape)

    @ mmmmmmmm

    There is so much fail in your comments that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The misogynist name-calling? The rape apologism? Your flagrant display of cissexual privilege? It’s like a glorious grab-bag of hate.

    “But I would dissuade you from crapping on your own doorstep by hissing at any mere questioning of YOUR rights by the huge network that supports you – especially when there isn’t actually anything in it for us LGB people.”

    (discussion protip: characterise your trans opponents as violent, incontinent animals)

    How dare you, trans person! Can’t you just be happy with the rights you have?

    One of the key purposes of standing together as an LGBT+ alliance is because we know from experience that a danger to the rights of one of us is a danger to the rights of all of us. It would suit those with power if all those with a minority sexual and/or gender identity stayed in separate groups, because it makes it easier to deny or erode the equal rights and equal treatment which are our basic human dignities.

    “It’s obviously a good point. You think, as someone who identifies as female, that you should be able to enter female toilets whilst you have a functioning penis. BUT, like with the prison, there is an added risk of rape from you still having that penis”

    Since when are cis women more at risk of rape from trans women than from other cis women? Simply having a penis does not make you more likely to rape. To believe the former is to buy into the myth that men “just can’t help themselves” because of the uncontrollable lust caused by their erect penises (I was so horny, I just had to rape to get some relief). This is rape apologism, because it takes the blame away from the perpetrator, and puts it onto the survivor.

    (If you want to do some reading around the topic, you might try looking over the posts in the following archive: http://hugoschwyzer.net/category/myth-of-male-weakness/)

    Furthermore, you seem to be making the assumption that trans women who have penises (penises that aren’t so oestrogenized that they can function) are going to be sexually attracted to the other women they see in toilets. Why? I’m pretty sure that most people on this site would agree that your genitals don’t determine who you’re sexually attracted to.

    “Not to mention, think of the men who could dress up as women and claim they are trans and then attack women in those toilets”.

    I imagine that a man who was determined to rape women wouldn’t much care about being able to pass themselves off as a trans woman in case they needed some fall-back excuse. Conversely, I don’t imagine that the added incentive of the ability to pass oneself off as a trans woman would suddenly trigger a man to become a rapist. Such a belief would be rape apologism (you gave me the ability to enter women’s toilets more easily, so I just had to rape somebody)!

    “what about the women in the toilets? They have lost some kind of protection. After all, what woman is going to feel comfortable with a – dare I say it – 6ft4, manly looking woman with a deep voice? How would they know if it is actually man or a trans person? How can they be sure that person is in there for the right reasons?”

    (discussion protip: be sure to characterise your female trans opponents as hulking behemoths with male voices.)

    It is unacceptable to conflate race and gender (see below) but looking at the history of the desegregation of toilets might prove instructive, which is why it’s a shame that you dismiss what Sally says with such fervour.

    For example, one of the arguments employed in favour of segregation was that black people had a higher incidence of criminality, so women in previously white toilets would lose “some kind of protection” from criminal behaviour.
    It might seem like a difficult call to make, but now, as then, the core rights of the minority group trump the “feelings” of the dominant group. Trans women are no more likely to rape cis women than cis women are. Therefore, any fears about the “trans woman rapist” are based entirely in irrational bigotry and are thus no sound basis upon which to base policy.

    “I could identify as a woman if I wanted to.”

    Really? You’d go through the extreme mental trauma of coming out as trans, telling your friends and your family and your co-workers, just on whim? Fielding the endless questions about the status of your genitals, the concern trolls who think that you’ve become mentally imbalanced, the form-filling and hoop jumping to get hormones, the hateful misogyny in the street, the transphobic comments about being a hulking, hissing animal, just on a whim? This is such a cis-privileged statement to make – and worse, it makes a mockery of the lived experiences of trans women who have gone through so much just to be recognised as human, let alone female. Grow up.

    “It would not be right to stick me in a women’s prison for reasons that are obvious – rape and pregnancy”.
    Having a penis does not mean that you rape people. It is not ‘obvious’. See above.

    “The problem lies in at what point must a trans person be considered ‘trans enough’ to be put in the prison wing of their new gender. How much hormone treatment should they have had? How small and dysfunctional should the penis have become? Do we stick that person on the men’s wing until the hormone treatment starts and then move them?”

    Gosh, maybe we could actually ask trans people? Nah. I mean, what would they know?

    “These are legitimate questions that need to be answered, so stop being so offended by everything.”

    How dare a trans woman get offended by your transphobic comments? I mean, as a cis man, I wasn’t the least bit offended by them. And if you’re going to keep being so petulant, we can’t give you the rights we think you deserve!

    “You mixed up two VERY different things here and it not helpful. Black and white women are equal in biology. A trans female who still has a penis is NOT equal in biology to another female (yet). And women would feel worried by that. And yes, that includes post-op trans women too!”

    Whilst it is of vital importance not to conflate classes of oppression, intersectionalist theory has demonstrated that it is important to try to consider the interactions of different types of oppression, in order to better understand and combat it. Which is why it was a shame that you dismissed the comparison between desegregation and the current situation.
    What exactly do you mean by “equal in biology”? Would it be acceptable for a man who had lost his penis in an accident to be banned from male toilets? Similarly, would it be acceptable for a woman who had undergone a hysterectomy be banned from female toilets? In both of the above examples, the man and woman would not be “equal in biology” to the majority of their peers.

    It seems to me that rather than being concerned about what’s “equal” you’re more interested in enforcing your idea of what male and female means, no matter who it misgenders.

    “Stop trying to pretend you know more about rape than the rest of us, it’s pretty patronising and you are overlooking some serious points”

    Ironic doesn’t quite cut it. Also, I mean, what would trans women know about rape? It’s not like they are the group of women most at risk from being raped, is it? Oh, wait. They are.

    “BUT if you are a woman with a penis, you have one more way of committing rape than the other women on the wing. Plus, if you have a penis, the rape will stimulate you sexually and you could end up ejaculating. Then making that woman pregnant. Did you think about that? Of course not.”

    Of course a woman wouldn’t have any more reason to contemplate the threat of being raped than a man would.

    Oh, and mmmmmmmm, do you know what you’re doing with that whole “you might rape because it will stimulate your penis sexually” argument? Yep, you guessed it! Rape apologism. Please just stop.

    “There may be many ways to rape, but let’s not add one more possibility through misguided political correctness. This is a PRACTICAL issue and clearly something that trans people haven’t considered.”

    (discussion protip: assume that the individual trans people you are talking to represent all trans people, ever. It’s simpler that way.)

    God, these bloody trans people, eh? It’s like political correctness gone…sigh.

    Also, PRACTICAL ISSUES ARE PRACTICAL, hence CAPS! Why can’t you trans women UNDERSTAND? It’s not like YOU ARE the MOST AT-RISK GROUP, and therefore are probably more likely to THINK about the dangers of rape a HELL OF A LOT MORE than a cis man!

    “As much as you want to make it seem that trans women are completely and utterly equal at every stage of their transition to other women, you are very much mistaken.”

    mmmmmmmm knows better, you see. What with neither being a woman, nor trans.

    “There are implications of still having male genitalia in an all-women environment.”

    The implication should not be that the owner of those genitalia will suddenly become a rapist.

    “As for cis versus trans, I highly suspect that both have the same need for protection.”

    Really? Not to play the “oppression Olympics”, but you should probably ask yourself the question: “which group is generally more at risk from violence, rape, abuse and oppression from the other group?”

    (Hint: it’s not cis people)

  36. a real trans supporter 17 Jan 2011, 1:19pm

    MMMMMMM said “You would do well to remember that without the LGB part of LGBT, trans people would have had almost no support network at all. Despite the fact that being gay and being trans have almost nothing in common (I like men, I don’t want to be a woman, what do I have in common with you other than being a minority?), we have supported you as much as we possibly can. Pushing for legal changes, reporting cases of abuse through our media and including you in all our campaigns. If you start accusing us of transphobia even when we are so very obviously on your side, then you can sod off and fight your own battles. Actually, why don’t you just do that anyway. You are seriously paranoid!”

    With supporters like mmmmmm, I suspect some trans people will begin to wonder why they need enemies.

    Actually there seems to be loads of trans organisations around, locally and nationally, including old hands Press for Change. And a quick look at their website shows that most trans people’s rights have actually been won by trans people taking cases to the Courts, usually backed by trans organisations. That was how they won rights against discrimination, and rights to reassignment on the NHS, marriage and new birth certificates.

    If trans rights were simply carried along with LGB, why is there ‘homophobic hate crime’ in S146, but no ‘transphobic hate crime’ for example.

    However, I think it’s absolutely right for sexual minorities to fight together against a prejudice that often doesn’t care whether you’re LGB or T , and also to support each others’ separate issues too.

    And ‘supporting’ means understanding, and mmmmmmm’s diktat that trans people have to be solely defined by their genitals in certain environments marks him out as someone who’s rather missed the point. While there are a lot of trans-supporting LGB people, I don’t feel mmmmmm really makes the grade.

    One other case won by a trans woman without mmmmm’s support was A v Ministry of Justice, where she was in a male prison and wanting to be transferred to a female prison so that she could properly undergo her gender reassignment, and the courts found in her favour. Check out the Telegraph as http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6138325/Transsexual-prisoner-wins-right-to-be-in-female-prison.html.

    No doubt mmmmmm will find himself agreeing with the Telegraph journalist about the waste of public money, not a situation I’d be comfortable with.

  37. Aww, beaten to the post! Parsley, the trigger warning’s a good idea – and applies to this comment too.

    @ mmmmmmmm

    “I would dissuade you from crapping on your own doorstep by hissing at any mere questioning of YOUR rights by the huge network that supports you”

    You, personally, are not a network. You certainly do not speak for the queer rights movement as a whole.

    My experience has been that the movement is more mutually supportive than you seem to suggest. I believe we’re at our strongest generally when trans people push for LGB rights, regardless of whether they themselves are LGB, and when LGB people don’t actively argue against trans equality, even “when there isn’t actually anything in it for us LGB people”.

    This is fortunate, because if trans people *were* asked to compromise our rights in order to be allowed membership of the queer rights movement, there wouldn’t be much good in our allying ourselves with it. A support network that doesn’t look after the rights of its members is not a support network. If it fails, it should be called on it. If it continues to fail, then it just isn’t working.

    And your choice to disparage my comment as “hissing” – I’m sorry but that’s what’s known as a “tone argument”, essentially an ad hominem attempt to discredit my point by painting me as a person in an unfavourable light. In actuality, it really doesn’t help your case. Your suggestion, later in your comment, that I am just “being offended by everything”, is another example of this device.

    “BUT, like with the prison, there is an added risk of rape from you still having that penis.”

    The risk to a trans woman being forced to use a male toilet is far, far greater. Can you not see that?

    “think of the men who could dress up as women and claim they are trans and then attack women in those toilets.”

    Ah yes, the old purely-hypothetical-cross-dressing-rapist argument. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen this pulled apart, so I’ll be brief: a man does not have to concoct some elaborate switched-costume plan to rape. If he decides to rape, he will just rape. And he’ll always find it easier to do so somewhere that doesn’t have separate cubicles, and where he is less likely to be interrupted.

    “After all, what woman is going to feel comfortable with a – dare I say it – 6ft4, manly looking woman with a deep voice?”

    So what do we do, ask for a minimum level of stereotypical femininity to be upheld by those using women’s toilets? Small trans women who ‘pass’ well are fine, while tall butch cis women get turned away? The stereotypes don’t work – drop them.

    “I could identify as a woman if I wanted to.

    No. You said yourself, you “don’t want to be a woman”. My gender identity isn’t a choice, and it seems that yours isn’t either.

    As far as the situation with prisons is concerned, I appreciate that there are various logistical questions to answer. It is unreasonable to assume that I, or trans people as a whole, “haven’t considered” them – my comment identified a few issues I have with your reasoning – I did *not* attempt to claim that this stuff is easy.

    My position is that a person should always be placed in the prison appropriate to their gender identity. Your idea that “you put the woman with the penis on the men’s wing” horrifies me. Leaving one self-identified woman in an all-male prison would be extremely dangerous for her.

    Let’s think about this. A woman with a penis placed in a facility with other women might possibly use that penis in rape, if she is inclined to rape, if her targets would be other women, if she is not so repulsed by her penis that she can contemplate using it, if that penis is able to become erect, and if she is insensible to the likely consequences she’ll face (which may especially harsh for somebody like herself). The same woman, a member of a high-risk minority group that is presented in an unrelentingly sexual light by the media, is herself in danger from sexual violence if she finds herself the only woman in a facility with a large number of men. Which of these situations do you think is more likely to result in somebody being raped?

    Please do not suggest that the placement of a trans woman in a male prison is *ever* an acceptable solution. The rights and safety of people from vulnerable minorities should not (and cannot, in law) be compromised just because they are inconvenient or logistically difficult.

    So, an offending trans woman should be accommodated within a women’s prison. Apart from ethical considerations, there’s the legal standpoint to consider – in this country, a trans woman may be legally considered a woman regardless of her operative status. However, some special arrangements need to be made – separate washing facilities or schedules are likely to be sensible from everyone’s point of view. And what do we do with prisoners while they are still able to sustain erections?

    “stick that person on the men’s wing until the hormone treatment starts and then move them?”

    Absolutely not, for reasons I’ve given above. I agree with Helen – keep the person safe (preferably in a facility with other trans people if this is possible – short-term solitary confinement is a very poor compromise of her rights) until hormone treatment starts, and then move her. As far as I’m concerned, the waiting period doesn’t have to be for very long – I tend to the opinion that hormones should be prescribed as soon as the patient feels ready (hormonal changes are, after all, reversible to begin with).

    “You mixed up two VERY different things here and it not helpful.”

    That’s not true. I made it perfectly clear that I was offering an example to illustrate the fact that “it doesn’t follow that all discomfort should therefore lead to segregation”. I was not attempting to conflate race and gender identity any more than Helen was confusing gender identity and sexual orientation in an earlier comment that you apparently chose to misinterpret.

    I stand by my earlier point. Discomfort is not, in itself, cause for discrimination. Discomfort may be unwarranted. I do not believe that a hormonally-adjusted trans woman is likely to be a significantly greater threat to other women in a women’s prison than any other woman is. This debate needs to be framed in terms of actual, not imagined, risk.

    “And women would feel worried by that. And yes, that includes post-op trans women too!”

    As I said earlier, personally I’m more worried about the welfare of a particularly vulnerable woman placed in facilities that will be dangerous for her. I’d like to open up a discussion of the balance of concerns with other women. I’m not interested in your assumptions about how women feel.

    “Stop trying to pretend you know more about rape than the rest of us”

    I am pretending nothing. I’m glad that you acknowledge that “rape can be committed using anything that can be stuck in an orifice, we all know that”, but you continually elide this fact in your discourse on the subject. The fact remains that feminists constantly have to remind people that a sexual attack isn’t necessarily any less serious just because the attacker didn’t use their penis in penetration (see “It’s not RAPE rape” on The F-Word, for example). Some of the ideas you’ve espoused lead on to the usual suggestions that “it’s not so bad for you – at least he didn’t ejaculate!”. Only the person who has been raped can know how bad it was for them.

    “if you are a woman with a penis, you have one more way of committing rape than the other women on the wing.”

    We’d better not allow prisoners access to cutlery, then. A spoon is just one more possible means of committing rape – and is likely to be easier to use than a non-functioning penis. No, sorry, I know of no direct correlation between the number of insertable objects a person possesses and their likelihood of committing rape.

    “misguided political correctness”

    You know, I think the term “political correctness” might be something equivalent to a Godwinism on these threads. It does have a habit of weakening the apparent validity of any point it’s used to illustrate. Here’s the usual link:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080429124539/http://www.kaichang.net/2006/11/the_sloppy_prop.html

    “As for cis versus trans, I highly suspect that both have the same need for protection.”

    Well, cis and trans people both need protection, yes. It may be worth restating that the figures for violence against trans people suggest that we are at far greater risk than cis people are. Try googling “A selection of published statistics of violence against trans people”. You may be quite surprised by what you discover.

    @ JohnK – thank you for the advice :)

  38. OrtharRrith 17 Jan 2011, 4:01pm

    “A trans female who still has a penis is NOT equal in biology to another female (yet). And women would feel worried by that. And yes, that includes post-op trans women too! ”

    Please don’t assume you can speak for “post-op” trans women! I have no such concerns about sharing toilets or changing space with those yet to have, or unable to have surgery. Infact, more then anything I would be far more concerned for THEIR safety from the bigots and transphobes they may encounter whilst using said facilities, then for MY safety from them.
    I have trans-friends who have yet to undergo surgery, friends with whom I share a hobby that requires me to change clothes. I do this with them without fear that I am going to be raped. It’s never occured to me and it’s never occured to them of that I am sure. So please, don’t spout such rubbish, and DO NOT try putting words in my mouth (something I think you’ll find many cis women unhappy about you doing to)

  39. friday jones 20 Jan 2011, 1:24am

    “I could identify as a woman if I wanted to.”

    Uh, no, no you could not. You could PROFESS to identify as a woman, but in the case of a trans woman, there is no choice in the matter, she just does. Good Lord, do you really think that a MAN would go through that kind of hell on Earth for a LARK? Jebus but you are dumb.

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