Hungarian Conservative

The Question of Trans Inmate Transfers in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon
After the Scottish Parliament accepted a new piece of legislation which simplifies the procedure of changing one's legal gender, the transfer of trans prisoners (from male to female facilities) was paused by the UK Justice Secretary.

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the devolved Scottish Parliament accepted a bill (passed by 86 votes to 39) that allows people to self-identify as transgender. If implemented, under the Gender Recognition Act, trans individuals could obtain a gender recognition certificate after a much simpler procedure than the one which is currently in place. Instead of having to demonstrate that they lived two years of their lives in the chosen gender, three months will be deemed sufficient to legally change one’s gender. The medical oversight is also to be removed from Scotland’s simplified procedure—even without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria one could legally change their sexual identity. On top of all that, the bill also proposes to bring down the age requirement for obtaining such a certificate from 18 to 16, thereby allowing even minors to legally change their gender.

Swiftly after the bill was accepted by the Scottish legislature, it was blocked by Westminster. The Parliament in London was worried that the Scottish act undermines the UK-wide Equality Act. Currently, the bill is being reviewed and debated by experts. 

From the very moment the legislation was accepted in the Scottish Parliament, it was contested in the public sphere, too. The main objection to the legislation was that it could allow considerably more leeway for bad-faith actors who would want to misuse the simplified procedure. The critics of the legislation mentioned public bathrooms, and domestic abuse and rape crisis centres as the institutions where the most damage can be done. The issue of trans prisoners also led to scandals in the UK. Prisons in Scotland now not only conduct a risk assessment but also take into account the self-identity of prisoners when deciding which prison to move trans inmates into.

Recently, a transwoman named Isla Bryson (formerly known as Adam Graham), who is a convicted double rapist, was briefly moved from a male to a female facility—he was transferred back to the male facility only when the scandal broke. Tiffany Scott’s (transwoman, formerly known as Andrew Burns with a history of violence) application to be moved from a male to a female estate was also approved by the Scottish prison authorities.  However, as a result of the scandal, the Justice Secretary ordered to pause the relocation of transgender prisoners (convicted of violence against women) to female prisons.  

Currently in Scotland there are 11 trans women (six in male, five in female institutions) and four trans men (one in male and three in female institutions) are serving prison sentences. Half of these inmates started their transition after they were convicted. Moving, for instance, a convicted rapist who was a man when he was convicted to a female facility after he self-identified as a woman evidently poses a great risk to the safety of female inmates.

Earlier, an amendment to the gender recognition bill that would have created obstacles for convicted sex offenders to legally change their gender was not accepted by the Scottish Parliament. Another proposition, which would have put barriers to changing genders for those who have been charged with sex offences, was also voted down. Those who have been convicted of a sex offence need only to obtain a risk assessment as part of the process of changing their gender. 

Despite the rightful concerns about the safety of female inmates in estates where trans women (with male genitals) convicted of violence against women are incarcerated, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish National Party—SNP) said that some opponents of the gender recognition bill are using women’s rights to cover up their transphobia. She went on to say ‘there are people who have opposed this bill that cloak themselves in women’s rights to make it acceptable, but just as they’re transphobic, you’ll also find that they’re deeply misogynist, often homophobic, possibly some of them racist as well’, as reported by Sky News.

Her comments deeply downplay the real concerns about women’s safety. They also demonstrate that pushing the gender agenda (even if it requires discrediting and brushing aside everyone who opposes the woke mainstream) is more important to her than maintaining and engaging in respectful democratic discourse about matters that are far from being settled.

After the Scottish Parliament accepted a new piece of legislation which simplifies the procedure of changing one's legal gender, the transfer of trans prisoners (from male to female facilities) was paused by the UK Justice Secretary.