Tonia Antoniazzi’s speech in the House of Commons this week was remarkable, not because of what she said – the need for accurate recording of crimes according to sex – but because she had the courage to actually say it.
We’ve got to get real about the dangers of allowing vicious sex offenders with male anatomy to serve their sentences alongside vulnerable female prisoners. They are violent predators who pose a clear threat to women.
To those who believe that transwomen are women, the answer is simple: transwomen must serve custodial sentences in the female prison estate.
Objections can be dismissed as transphobic attempts to exclude one type of women just because they had the misfortune to be born with the wrong set of genitals.
The management of offenders is difficult at the best of times, but Prison Service policy has been severely tested by the growing number of transgender-identified prisoners. The recent announcement by the Ministry of Justice that they had opened a transgender wing at HMP Downview marked a major change of direction.
As the Government Consultation on reforms to The Gender Recognition Act 2004 comes to a close, we should reflect on what is at stake. As a transsexual person I have a particular interest. While I understand the superficial attraction of self-declaration, a procedure based purely on an assertion of our own feelings, any process lacking objective evidence is vulnerable to abuse.
As ministers consult the public over plans to simplify the legal process for changing gender, it’s important to recognise the valid concerns that many women have about their safety. Removing medical and legal barriers to people who want to identify their own gender is welcome, but it involves a lot more than wearing new clothes and changing names.