Woman prisoner in human rights landmark ruling; cis woman lifestyle journalist attempts satirical comment

September 5, 2009

Via the Associated Press (link here):

A British court issued a landmark ruling Friday, allowing a transsexual prisoner serving life for manslaughter and attempted rape to be transferred to a women’s prison.

High Court Deputy Judge David Elvin said the refusal of Justice Secretary Jack Straw and the prison authorities to transfer the 27-year-old was a violation of her human rights.

The prisoner, who began gender reassignment treatment years ago […] was not named to protect her identity.

Keeping her in a male prison “effectively bars her ability to qualify for surgery, which interferes with her personal autonomy in a manner which goes beyond that which imprisonment is intended to do,” Elvin said.

[…] she began the process of gender reassignment while in prison. In 2006, she obtained a legal acknowledgment that she should be recognized as a woman.

The prisoner […] was originally sentenced to five years for manslaughter in 2001 after strangling his (sic) boyfriend to death.

Days after his (sic) release, he (sic) tried to rape a female shopkeeper and was sentenced to life.

The judge said the prisoner had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and had been aware of her condition from an early age.

[…] she has been prevented from wearing skirts and other items in the male prison.

A cis woman lifestyle journalist subsequently posted the following attempt at a satirical comment on her page at a social networking site:

[…] has long realised she is a duck trapped in a human body. She demands to be taken to the local duck pond to live amongst her fellow creatures despite the fact that she attacked and killed several of them once when not of sound mind. Never mind that – she demands her rights!!!!

Follow-up comments posted by the cis woman lifestyle journalist included:

  • Problem is I don’t actually LOOK LIKE a duck…I am having a featherectomy later today and duck egg implants. Oh, and I have to go to the speech clinic to learn to quack. I identify as an SM watersports affectionado bisexual duck.
  • […] I am having a featherplasty and a wingplasty, alongside my beard being removed
  • I am however having a full spinectomy
  • And a waddleplasty

And so on.

14 Responses to “Woman prisoner in human rights landmark ruling; cis woman lifestyle journalist attempts satirical comment”

  1. Anji Says:

    The thread about this on my own FB was all right until someone I previously considered a decent human being suddenly showed her transphobic colours. :/

  2. Helen G Says:

    Yeah, there’s a lot of it about, unfortunately :(

  3. Gaina Says:

    Goodness knows anyone can be in a position where they may take the life of an abusive partner because it’s a ‘me or them’ situation, but this person is also a sexual predator who attempted to rape – to violate – a woman. Does this make her a danger to the women in the prison she transfers to?

    I just don’t know where you go with that because the bigger part of me says you lose any rights you had the minute you violate other people’s in such a brutal manner. The manslaughter, I can comprehend as I said. But the rape? No.

    That type of ‘journalist’ (tabloid, I’d venture) is the reason I don’t read any newspapers whatsoever these days. They can’t be bothered to do their research and tackle a subject in a dignified and intelligent manner so they just go for the lowest common denominator, usually in line with their ignorant readership.

  4. Anji Says:

    Gaina – but there are cis woman sexual predators too. Women rape and sexually assault women, and go to prison for it. Should a cis woman who has raped or sexually assaulted a woman, be put in a men’s prison?

  5. Helen G Says:

    What Anji said.

    Also –

    I don’t consider anyone’s human rights to be privileges which may be withdrawn by a vengeful legal system when it suits. Human rights are human rights and should apply – not just to cis people – but to all. Unconditionally.

    ETA: I got into a muddle with my own comments. I originally posted a response to Gaina’s comment on the wrong post. When I noticed, I edited and reposted it here. In the meantime, Gaina wrote a response to my now-deleted comment, which I now post below. Apologies for my confusion.

  6. Gaina Says:

    Helen G Says:

    September 5, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Interesting. I wonder, does the fact that she’s a trans woman have any bearing on your comment?

    And do I understand you correctly – you seem to be saying that if she’d “only” killed someone, she should be allowed her human rights, but because she’s been convicted of rape, her human rights should be denied.

    I’m afraid I don’t consider anyone’s human rights to be privileges which may be withdrawn by a vengeful legal system. Human rights are human rights.

    Whatever happened to the feminist ideal of an egalitarian society? Human rights for cis people only?

    Phew! This answer took me a long time to write as it’s clear I’ve been completely misunderstood so I’ll try and make myself a bit clearer this time :).

    Her trans gender status has absolutely no bearing on my opinion. As a member of a minority group myself I have nothing but contempt for discrimination and anyone who practices it.

    If Person A does something wrong, they must accept the consequences – those are the rules of our society and they apply to everyone. I wouldn’t expect to get away with something that would land another person with a fine, or possibly jail time just because I’m disabled and neither should anyone else.

    Granted, good people do bad things sometimes when pushed into a corner, and that is the only crime they will ever commit so this should be reflected in their sentence.

    If someone commits a crime due to mental disturbance they should be handled in a completely different way again.

    Justice is not a ‘once size fits all’ process, but the fact remains that when the law is broken there have to be consequences for your actions or society would descend into anarchy.

    An effective, humane judicial system should NOT be about vengeance but a balance of correction, rehabilitation and protection of the law-abiding majority.

    As a disabled person myself, I’ve always had a problem with certain factions of the disability rights movement – on the one hand say they want equality but suddenly want to be treated as a special case when that same equality means they have to deal with the not so pleasant stuff that everyone else has to deal with.

    As for human rights, I do firmly believe that no one should live in fear of being injured, killed or denied a chance to fulfil their potential based on the colour of their skin, disability, gender or religion, and I think it is our duty to give protection to weak and vulnerable members of society, but that also means that we should take responsibility for our own actions and not expect advantages or special treatment denied to everyone else because we are members of a minority group.

    I do not subscribe to current notions of feminism. I cannot support a movement that purports to be ‘pro woman’ whilst denigrating women who chose to stay at home and look after her husband and children or other wise don’t fit into the current narrow definitions of a ‘real feminist’. Neither do I want to be a part of any ‘feminism’ that rejects a trans gender woman.

    I think everyone should be treated with the same basic level of respect and dignity, but with freedom comes responsibility and I don’t think it unreasonable to expected people to follow the same rules of the society you live in. If you break those rules, you lose your right to part of that society. If you don’t like the rules, take yourself some place else where they have rules you can respect.

  7. Helen G Says:

    No. Just… NO.

    You do not put a trans woman into a cis men’s prison and you do not deny her the appropriate treatments for a medically diagnosed condition.

    Full stop. End of chat.

    Goodnight.

  8. Gaina Says:

    No, you’re right you put a violent sexual predator where they pose the least threat to other people.

    That’s got nothing to do with her condition which of course she should be treated for. I’d say the same if she needed insulin or kidney dialysis.

    I’m done too, I just don’t want anyone left with the false notion that I am harbouring any level of transphobia. I’m sorry we didn’t find a way to continue this conversation in an adult manner because if you got to know me you’d see just how non-prejudiced I really am.

    Be well.

  9. queenemily Says:

    I assume you’re good with throwing cis women rapists and abusers in with the men, then?

    Right.

  10. Drakyn Says:

    Gaina, there are cis women who are rapists and murderers. If a trans woman who has done the same thing should be in the men’s prison, then so should the cis woman.
    It is transphobia to say that a trans woman is more of a danger than cis women.

    Also, your “adult manner” comment is a ~really nice~ use of the tone argument.

  11. Drakyn Says:

    And yay that this woman is having her rights recognized!

  12. Azalea Says:

    I have no qualms with her being a woman’s prison but I think ALL inmates in jail for rape or murder ought to be kept away from the general population, cis or trans.

    Yes she has a right to be in a woman’s prison but does she have a right to be locked in a cell with a potential victim that she may easily overpower and repeatedly and brutally violate? Does going to jail mean that you give up your right NOT to be raped? NOT to be murdered?

    Rapists and murderers should get solitary confinement and then slowly be introduced back into the general population and kept under close watch.

    TO say ” oh well the other ciswomen committed a crime too so if she rapes them- oh well- she stil deserves teh chance to be left alone with potential victims. I se eit NO different than allowing a male prisoner who has already raped another male prisoner to remain in a cell with other male prisoners. That’s saying the rapist has a right to rape and there’s no other way to look at this without victim blaming the prisoner-victims.

  13. Helen G Says:

    Azalea: Generally speaking I think we’re pretty much in agreement: She should be treated no differently than any other (cis) woman prisoner jailed on the same charges.


  14. […] Women prisoners and human rights October 1, 2009 A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the human rights breach of a trans woman prisoner who was held in a male prison (link here). […]


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