Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Next Stop, the Leper's Bell
Earlier today I started and then abandoned a post that was to have formed a kind of pair to this one from a few days ago about the marriage laws for trans people, and how non-disclosure of one's trans status is (uniquely in British law) seen as grounds for annulment.

Today I had been going to write about the recent decision by the Court of Appeal which has determined (short version) that the penalty for sex without disclosure outside marriage is for the trans person to be sent to prison. (Vide, by the way, my post from several years ago where the possibility of this development was mooted.) In the end, I found the whole thing too depressing to write about - so I'm glad to be able to point you instead to Cheryl Morgan's blog, where she has done a very good job. Do read it. This is a situation that is going to affect far more people than the annulment issue - and many of them will be very young, in vulnerable situations where they have excellent reasons not to tell everyone they meet about their medical history. But this, it seems, is now a criminal offence.

Normally, I write about things like this on the assumption that those who have the power to do something about it are basically people of goodwill who are open to argument and to the possibility that there may be relevant aspects of the situation that they hadn't considered. In this post and the last I feel more depressed, because it's increasingly clear that those in power know exactly what they're doing, its implications and likely effects, but are doing it anyway. The only question is whether they're motivated more by callous indifference or by active malice - but that's like debating how many pricks can dance on the head of an angel.

I have a feeling that the people making these decisions have not met anyone trans and are speaking from a position of ignorance and unwarranted assumptions.

I've only once knowingly met anyone trans. Most of what I know is from talking to people like you on LJ.

I wonder if the court of appeal would meet with a group of you to talk it through?

I don't think that's how courts work. This has to come from the politicians, and while there are some MPs who do both understand and care, they are in the minority. The whole business with annulment, for example, was carefully explained to the Government, who decided in a very open-eyed way that trans people didn't matter enough for an amendment correcting the discrimination to be worth their while.

I've seen some good things happening in the feminist movement because of on line pressure groups like The Women's Room and The Everyday Sexism Project. I guess Stonewall is the go-to example for gay rights. Maybe something as organised and vocal as those is the only way forward. I'm assuming that if there was any such organisation and it was working well, I'd have heard of it by now via FB or Twitter.

Unfortunately Stonewall in England (but not, interestingly, in Scotland) specifically excludes trans issues from its remit. There is Trans Media Watch - an excellent organization, but one limited in its scope to issues of media representation. Apart from that, there are plentiful organizations and eloquent individuals, but the only general campaigning one I can think of - Press for Change - seems as far as I can see to have lost much of its early momentum.

The court of appeal considers only the state of the law, and they don't need to talk to anyone on that cos they're the experts. I have some hope they'll reverse it. But if not, it's the law that needs to either change or be clarified.

Also I guess this is relevant: does it depend on what you think you are consenting to?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/28/sexual-behaviour-undercover-police?CMP=twt_gu

that the penalty for sex without disclosure outside marriage is for the trans person to be sent to prison.

What.

The young trans man concerned should, in point of fact, have been protected from this ludicrous prosecution by the Equality Act which does provide such protection, at least in theory. This is an example of a judge (heaven help us all) plainly not knowing or understanding the law and plainly not caring one iota.

Some of us have been here before and it was called Corbett v Corbett which judgement found many of us being declared unpersons a la Orwell until lthe passing of the GRA.

Ah well, it was nice while it lasted........................:o(




:o( indeed.

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