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Crime

The Mail’s coverage of a transgender rapist is predictably horrifying

Josh Jackman September 8, 2017
(Google Maps & Mail Online)

(Google Maps & Mail Online)

The Mail is under fire after coverage of a transgender rapist.

What happened was that a convicted rapist made unwanted sexual advances on fellow prisoners.

What the Mail Online did was mention her deadname, call her “a father,” and implied that her actions were down to the fact she has a penis.

Jessica Winfield, a convicted rapist, was segregated from other inmates at HMP Bronzefield, in Surrey, south-east England.

(Mail Online)
Deadnaming is discrimination, guys (Mail Online)

The Mail states: “Transgender rapist who was moved to women-only jail despite still having a penis is segregated”.

Trans activists raised issues with the piece, suggesting it was attempting to link the convicted prisoner’s crimes to their gender identity – leaning on the irrational belief that transgender people are actually lying to gain some sort of benefit.

Similar themes have been repeatedly used by politicians and activists in the US to stoke fears that gender-neutral bathrooms will lead to boys lying about being girls to gain access to their toilets.

The implication is then transgender people are more likely to be rapists – though the reverse is actually true.

Studies show that transgender students can be harassed, sexually assaulted or subjected to other physical violence when they are required to use a gendered bathroom instead of a gender-neutral one.

One survey, commissioned by the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA, found that 68 percent of participants were subjected to homophobic slurs while trying to use the bathroom.

Nine percent confronted physical violence.

The Mail proceeded to quote an anonymous source.

Prison

“A source told The Sun: ‘It beggars belief why a convicted double rapist like Jessica is allowed to mix with females despite still have her penis intact,” the publication reports.

Again, having a penis isn’t what makes people attempt sexual assault.

The source continues: “‘Prison bosses were worried she would try it on with inmates and their fears have come true.”

It is prison authorities’ job to prevent convicts from repeating their crimes inside the prison, so it’s good they are apparently taking steps to do so.

The Mail also called Winfield by her deadname, writing: that “Martin Ponting, 50, a father-of-three, became Jessica Winfield in jail”.

Mermaids UK, a transgender support charity, states that “discrimination still occurs in many forms, such as … refusing to stop using a person’s birth name (also known as deadnaming).”

There is no reason for the Mail to use Winfield’s deadname, but it does it anyway.

Apparently, “furious campaigners expressed their outrage at the decision” to move Winfield from a men’s prison in March.

There is nothing further in the article about any of these apparently apoplectic people – and once more for emphasis: Winfield is a convicted rapist.

Her being trans has nothing to do with that.

More: Crime, gender, Jessica Winfield, Mail Online, prison, prisoner, rape, Surrey, Trans, Transgender, UK

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