UK’s only trans judge quits due to hostile climate: ‘I’m political every time I choose where to pee’

Master Victoria McCloud recieving the Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Paralegal Awards 2022. She is standing at a podium wearing a dress and dark cardigan.

The UK’s only transgender judge is stepping down, claiming she has become a target.

In a letter to the senior judiciary, Victoria McCloud, a High Court master, wrote that she is resigning because “I am now political every time I choose where to pee”, adding that her personal dignity is at stake, The Times reported.

McCloud was first appointed as a part-time judge in 2006 and became the youngest person appointed to the Queen’s Bench, now King’s Bench, at the age of 40, four years later. She has presided over high-profile cases involving the likes of former US president Donald Trump, one-time leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, the TV personality and ex-model Katie Price, and MP Andrew Mitchell.

“I have reached the conclusion that in 2024 the national situation and present judicial framework is no longer such that it is possible in a dignified way to be both ‘trans’ and a salaried, fairly prominent judge in the UK,” she said.

After 18 years on the bench, McCloud, who reportedly transitioned in the 1990s, developed concerns “about the difficult position which has developed recently for a trans person, such as me, in public life but especially as the only such judge”.

Now, 54, she has appeared on social media to promote diversity and encourage more trans people to consider becoming judges, a move she described as rewarding but which “came at a cost because I became a public figure and a target”.

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It has been “open season on me and others” with the rise of the so-called gender-critical movement, she added. She will formally stand down in April. 

The judge went on to say that it had been “the greatest privilege imaginable” to have served, but that that “came with the responsibility which fell upon me as the first judge from the trans community in the UK and globally”.

Harminder Bains, a partner at the law firm Leigh Day, told The Times that McCloud’s resignation was a “devastating loss to the judiciary”.

McCloud was “at the forefront of advancing the judiciary into the 21st century and she is a paradigm of what a judge should be: fair, transparent and efficient,” Bains added.

A spokesperson for the judiciary told PinkNews: “Master McCloud has provided a notification of the intention to retire… we thank her for her service and wish her the very best for the future.”

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