Preferred Pronouns. A harmless courtesy?
During my trawl through legal cases involving Transgender Prisoners I came across this case:
The prisoner had committed sexual offences against young boys. Their offences started whilst young and continued to adulthood. The prisoner had also been a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Makes for a pretty grim catalogue of offences.
It is hard to read without reflecting on the damage done to young males, by early sexual contact, whether by direct force or grooming. I did wonder how this shapes their attitude to their own bodies, warps their boundaries and perpetuates a cycle of abuse. [Note that many CSA survivors do not go on to become abusers. Female survivors , in particular, quite rightly baulk at the inference and maybe more likely to internalise the consequences in self-harm. Once again we find sex matters.]
Another startling finding is the seemingly higher rates of CSA transitioners. Are they trying to escape the physical shell in which their abuse took place?
From the study 👆
For the purposes of this blog, however, my focus is on how the judicial system deals with the needs of these prisoners, primarily the impact on women. Especially when this places males in the female estate. All prisons have policies which require them to at least consider housing males according to their “gender identity”.
The case opens with the kind of statement I am becoming accustomed to:
The prisoner was “born a man” and “remains physically a man” yet the case will use female pronouns, out of respect. The legal system is using she for a male, child sex offender. Let that sink in! Furthermore, as the case makes clear, this is not someone with a Gender Recognition Certificate. (A GRC confers the “legal fiction” that a male is female). What is apparent is the legal system already extends this “recognition” prior to any assessment by a Gender Recognition Panel. Polite female pronouns for a male sex offender are a dis-courtesy to women across the land but, hey, we are only women. Gillian Flynn had it right when she reflected on the me too movement:
Well worth taking a break, at this point, to read this post about the ubiquitous use of female pronouns, to describe males, and the impact on our cognitive abilities. This was posted on mumsnet and earned the poster a 7 day ban! 👇
Includes this clip:
Now the law is using this linguistic rohypnol of “preferred pronouns”. Even for male sex offenders who have committed sexual offences against children, do not have a GRC and have not medically “transitioned”. The overwhelming perpetrators of crimes of a sexual and violent nature are males, so in whose interests is this linguistic shift? It is NOT in the interests of the female sex to obscure the sex of the perpetrators of sexual violence.
The offender , in this case, had already been tried and imprisoned for the sexual offences committed. However, what if the preferred pronouns were “she” at the time of the offence? Would the young boys he victimised have been admonished for using “he”? We have already seen that Maria McLachlan was legally compelled to use female pronouns for her attacker. In addition, despite the perpetrator being found guilty, her use of male pronouns was actually used to reduce any compensation that may have been due. In her own words : Maria McLachlan: Trial
Sexual Offender Therapeutic Treatment Programmes.
To return to the case in hand. These are offences that no woman or girl could have physically committed. The number of females imprisoned for sexual offences against children is statistically insignificant.
There are lots of interesting points, in this case, about parole hearings, indeterminate sentencing and whether the prison system is equipped to deal with transgender sex offenders. Those remain issues that require resolution. I remain steadfast on the principal that women are entitled to single sex spaces. However, even were I to set that aside, women’s prisons are not sufficiently experienced, or sufficiently resourced, to deal with male sex offenders. Indeed if you read the case the male prison seems similarly unable to identify the correct risk reduction programme for such a prisoner.
Another salient point is the absence of a Gender Recognition Certificate proves no barrier to anyone “self-identifying” as Transgender. This, in turn, allows them to invoke the legally protected characteristic of “Gender Re-assignment”. If , like me, you assumed that a GRC must be obtained, to be covered by this legal protection, the law is not operating in this way. These are some of the legal arguments which make it clear the case was heard on the basis that the prisoner was entitled to be legally protected by the characteristic of “Gender Reassignment”. No mention of even hormone treatment and definitely no surgery, at this point.
No wonder every political party is signing up to getting “Self-Id” specifically enshrined, in law, they know we have already let the Fox in with the hens!
A year ago I may have expressed less concern about Homosexual transgender offenders as a risk to women. However, if you read this earlier case on my blog Male Sex Offender in Female Prison , you will see that this is no guarantee of female safety; not even protection from sexual assault.
The prisoner, who is the subject of this blog, was housed in the male estate. A same sex attracted male would obviously have less incentive to petition to be moved to the female estate. There is only one reference to this preference. Here:👇
HMP Send is a female therapeutic community. The prisoner expressed fear at being in a male sex offender treatment programme (SOTP) and this fear was taken seriously. Nowhere is there any reference to the fears of females at HMP Send, to have a (fully-intact) male in their treatment programme. In the end , despite more than one overture, this request was turned down. In my view this should simply not have been considered. A fear of males is not exclusive to the Transgender community. Cannot quite believe I have to actually state this in 2019. Female prisoners have an over-representation of women who have been abused at the hands of men. The Prison policy should act on the legally protected characteristic of sex. It simply should rule out housing a male, sex offender or not, with women. Neither should there be any compulsion to admit one to a female therapeutic programme.
Note also, in the above clip, the prisoner reports they are three months away from being granted a Gender Recognition Certificate. I have no way of verifying this. However, thus far there are no details of any hormone treatment and certainly no surgery has taken place. So it would seem being imprisoned for child sexual abuse, and handed an indefinite sentence to protect the public, is not an automatic bar to applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Whilst activists are campaigning to relax the requirements for a GRC I ask why the requirements not made even more stringent? Or, indeed, why we have accepted them at all. If the GRC is supposed to reassure women then it is transparently not worth the paper it is written on.
There are safeguarding implications and this study raised a concern. 👇
Predators will always take the path of least resistance. Safeguarding principles tell us to look at where these weak links are because this is where you will find predators.
Its OK if they are homosexual.
A feature of this “debate” , we fought to have, is institutionalised sexism which fails to understand the nature, and extent, of sexual offences against women. In my earlier blog, linked above, I quote the motivation for the attempted rape of a woman. It was a male-attracted offender. His motivation for a sexual attack against a women was rage. Narcissistic rage because she was a woman this was the status the male wished for himself. Narcissistic tendencies are frequently referenced in respect of this prisoner:
References to this prisoner’s narcissism and fragile self-image recur in the psychiatric assessments quoted. What bigger threat to your self-image than to present yourself as “female” and not be accepted, as such, by actual females. So much of the rage directed at women, from trans activists, seems driven by a recognition of this simple fact. The mere existence of natural women triggers a malevolent response. It seems simply being is interpreted as a threat and an act of confrontation. How dare we just exist as women.
There are so many layers to this societal shift that it is difficult to maintain focus on one aspect. In this case we have a relatively young male with a history of sexual offending from their early teens. He has been convicted of grooming and manipulating young males, for his own sexual gratification. The case indicates that this young man had also been sexually abused, prior to becoming a child sex offender himself. They have a history of self-harm, and vengeful behaviour, when their self-image is threatened . A clinician has diagnosed Narcissist Personality disorder. During their time in prison they adopted a female identity which would seem to add another layer of vulnerability to a fragile personality. We have already seen that the prisoner acts out against staff and prisoners when threatened. The Sexual Offender Treatment plans are not deemed suitable for the prisoner and finding a suitable therapeutic approach has been problematic. Treatment has therefore been significantly delayed. This has further rebounded on the prisoner because, without a risk reduction programme, they remain indefinitely detained. There is also a pending police investigation because the prisoner alleges a rape in the male estate. (At the time of this case). All of these things can be true. They are not, however, issues that can, or should, be resolved by handing over the problem to female prisoners and staff.
Placing prisoners with this profile (below) in the female estate forces women to co-habit with a high risk , narcissistic male, with a fragile sense of self and a need to control and dominate the environment in which they are based. If they are doing this in the male estate how much more vulnerable are the women going to be? How is putting a self-identified “woman”, who will not be read as “female”, in with women, going to help their self-image? What form might the “vengeful schemas” take on the women who don’t demonstrate, sufficient, acceptance of that “identity”?
How does a male feel like a woman?
This is a recurrent question to which it is difficult, to impossible, to achieve a coherent answer. This subject is littered with people who speak of “living as a woman” or “adopting a female role” but what does that mean? There is no answer ,I have seen, that doesn’t resort to circular reasoning and sexist stereotypes. This prisoner is no different. Their version of woman hood, and no I am not kidding, is as defined by the Spice Girls. This is a male fantasy about what makes a woman. These males display a unique version of mysogyny
Don’t let a man tell you, you can’t do something because you are a girl!
Not for the first time I quote Miranda Yardley who coined the term “refugees from masculinity”. I agree. Refugees from masculinity exist. It is still not the job of the female sex to run the Refugee camps. Reject the mantle of maleness. De-programme your male socialisation. You have my full support in this. Telling women their biological reality can be colonised and you lost me.
Girl Power was an empty slogan revolving around the mythical empowerment of hyper-sexualised women. This 👇
I don’t accept a man can tell me, a woman, that he, a man, has any right to pontificate on what makes a woman Less #GirlsLikeUs and more #JustWomen.