Female prisoners may be frankly terrified

Now on to James Kirkup in the Spectator:

For context, the court heard that a significant number of transwomen in jail are there for sexual offences. In March/April 2019, there were 163 transgender prisoners, of whom 81 had been convicted of one or more sexual offences. 129 of those prisoners were allocated to the male estate, 34 to the female estate.

Many of them are there for sexual offences but hey let’s put them in with the women anyway, and then watch and laugh.

The judge acknowledged the risk, as we’ve seen. He acknowledged lots of things, all of which should have point to Nope Nope Nope.

The judge also found that female prison[er]s, who are disproportionately likely to have been victims of sexual assault, may be frankly terrified of being confined with a male-bodied sex offender:

Many people may think it incongruous and inappropriate that a prisoner of masculine physique and with male genitalia should be accommodated in a female prison in any circumstances. More importantly for the Claimant’s case, I readily accept that a substantial proportion of women prisoners have been the victims of sexual assaults and/or domestic violence. 

I also readily accept the proposition … that some, and perhaps many, women prisoners may suffer fear and acute anxiety if required to share prison accommodation and facilities with a transgender women who has male genitalia, and that their fear and anxiety may be increased if that transgender woman has been convicted of sexual or violent offences against women.

It’s nice of him to accept all this so readily. Very nice. Heartwarming.

However, the court found that prison service policy remains lawful, because that policy must reflect not just the interests of female prisoners but also the interests of transwomen prisoners:

Well, one, this ruling stomps on the interests of female prisoners while cuddling and snuggling those of the male prisoners, and two, the female prisoners’ interests are in not being raped while the male prisoners’ interests are in preying on and terrorizing the women, and three, the policy does not reflect the interests of the female prisoners, and four, what do you mean not just the interests of the female prisoners when you’re ignoring those interests?

Excuse me while I pant rapidly like a dog for a few minutes.

the subjective concerns of women prisoners are not the only concerns which the Defendant [the Justice Secretary] had to consider in developing the policies: he also had to take into account the rights of transgender women in the prison system.

What do they mean the subjective concerns??? Is wanting not to be raped classed as a subjective concern? It seems pretty fucking objective to me! And why is women’s desire not to be raped a “concern” while men’s desire to pretend to be women “the rights”?

This is so fucked up.

The debate about sex and gender is complicated and often fraught, not least when it reaches the courts. But there are two, fairly simple, points that I think everyone should draw from that court ruling.

The first is that the High Court has confirmed that accommodating the interests of transwomen and women leads, in some circumstances, to ‘competing rights’. Sometimes, giving something to transwomen means taking something away from women. There is nothing transphobic or otherwise hateful about saying so. It is, as the court ruling shows, a simple statement of fact.

That leads to the second point. In this case, the state has given to some transwomen offenders the right to be imprisoned in the female prison estate. That decision, made to accommodate the interests of those transwomen, comes at the expense of women in the female estate. The court found that those women are exposed to an increased risk of sexual assault and to anxiety and fear of such sexual assault.

The court found that, and shrugged its judicious shoulders and said tough shit. Women are exposed to an increased risk of sexual assault and to anxiety and fear of such sexual assault, and we think that just doesn’t matter as much as men’s desire to pretend to be women. On the one hand, terror of rape, and rape, and on the other hand, let’s pretend. Which would you choose?

The court further found that, under the law as it stands, it is legal for ministers to implement a policy that exposes women prisoners to that increased risk and to ‘understandable’ fear, because – assuming proper mitigation is in place – that risk and that fear are an acceptable price to pay to accommodate the interests of transwomen prisoners.

I’m not going to bother saying what I think of this situation, because I suspect I don’t need to.

I on the other hand am going to shout and swear and kick things.

Instead, I will conclude by saying that the High Court ruling has confirmed beyond doubt something that a great many women have been trying to say for several years, often meeting with aggressive rejection and accusations of bigotry. The court confirmed that in some circumstances, accommodating the interests of male-born transwomen means imposing costs and burdens on women.

And that raises a question that society as a whole still needs to answer: why should women pay and suffer to serve the interests of people who were born male?

Just what I’ve been asking all day, with ungenteel language.

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