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.
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.