Unelected Tory peer launches bid to force trans women into men’s prisons

prisoner behind bars

This week, the House of Lords will debate an amendment which would force trans people into the wrong prisons.

The proposed amendment to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 would create a clause titled “sex-specific incarceration for violent and sexual offenders”.

The change would mean that any trans person convicted, or even suspected, of a violent or sexual crime, must “be treated with respect to housing on the prison estate by reference to the sex registered at their birth”.

The Trans Legal Project explained: “This would mean that even a trans woman with formal legal recognition of her sex after a full physical transition, and who is even suspected of an assault, could end up in a male prison (also most likely impacting the poorest trans women who can’t afford good legal advice).

“The bigger intent is clearly to keep trans women out of the female prison estate in breach of their human rights.”

Strangely, it appears the amendment would only cover trans people who hold Gender Recognition Certificates. Obtaining a certificate was, until recently, expensive, and remains intrusive and difficult. Only a few thousand trans people have been granted Gender Recognition Certificates since they became available in 2004.

The Trans Legal Project tweeted: “It would in fact continue to be possible to hold the approximately 97 per cent of trans women who do NOT have a GRC in the women’s estate at the discretion of the Ministry of Justice.”

“This amendment, which seems to be their first real attempt, is a complete dog’s breakfast and is very likely to fail,” it continued.

“But we know that they will be back. With better-drafted legislation and wider attacks on the human rights of trans people in the UK. Trans people and our allies must be ready to fight them.”

Earlier this year the High Court ruled in favour of the Ministry of Justice’s policy on the care and management of trans prisoners, confirming that housing trans women who’ve committed sexual or violent offences in female prison facilities is not discriminatory to cis women.

The amendment to force trans people into the wrong prisons is led by anti-LGBT+ Lord Blencathra

The amendment has been celebrated by anti-trans lobby groups, many of which try to position themselves as defenders of the “LGB community”.

Instead, they have positioned themselves as allies of Lord Blencathra, who is behind the amendment.

Lord Blencathra, born David Maclean, 68, is a former Tory MP who became a life peer in 2011.

During his political career, he voted against equalising the age of consent, voted against same-sex adoption and voted to maintain Section 28, which banned the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools. He was absent for the vote on legalising same-sex marriage.