The other day I was told by a National Health Service specialist that there was a note in my records recommending me for a PSA test (a marker for prostate disease) because of my age. A PSA test for a woman? What is going on in the NHS? Ah, but the note had a rider: though not appropriate for a woman, the test was necessary “if the patient was transgender”.
Clearly, being married to a man, having smear tests and giving birth to three children can no longer be seen as accurate guides to anyone’s “gender”.
This kind of loopiness is relatively harmless. What happened in New Hall Prison for women in northern England is not. In a case reported in the British media last week, a convicted rapist sexually assaulted four women in the jail between September and November last year.
Why was he in a women’s jail? Because “he” was really a “she”, or so he/she said, and so authoritatively that prison authorities believed him/her.
While living as a man named Stephen Wood, he was convicted and jailed for committing two offences of indecent assault and gross indecency with a child. After beginning gender reassignment, he/she was allowed to be transferred to a women’s prison, where almost straightaway “she” proceeded to sexually assault four fellow inmates.
The Prison Service apologised for the episode, which involved a 52-year-old “transgender woman” going under the name of Karen White. Born as a man, the sex offender told the authorities that “she” identified as a woman, and was remanded into New Hall Prison near Wakefield, in West Yorkshire.
Leeds Crown Court heard that White “was undergoing gender reassignment but had not undergone full surgery”, as became apparent when, “within days of admission to the women-only prison in September 2017, ‘she’ proceeded to make a sexual advance to another prisoner while in an aroused state”, and only “a fortnight later … forced another inmate’s hand onto her padded bra”. A few days later, “she was accused of pushing her hips and penis against another prisoner and in November last year she allegedly kissed a female inmate on the neck.”
After fellow-inmates complained, “she” was transferred to all-male Armley Prison, in Leeds.
Implausibly, White “denied two of the prison assaults and the cases were order to lay on file. She had said she could not be guilty of the prison attacks as she was not attracted to women and had erectile dysfunction.”
According to the Prison Service, rules dictate that “a convict must be put into a jail in accordance with their legally recognised gender. If an inmate identifies as a non-legally recognised gender, a case group assesses them but must take account of previous offences. That did not happen in White’s case.”
A prison spokesman said: “We apologise sincerely. While we work to manage all prisoners, including those who are transgender, sensitively and in line with the law, the safety of all prisoners must be our absolute priority.”
Recently, feminists who placed pink stickers shaped like crudely-drawn phalluses adorned with the slogan “Women don’t have penises” in prominent public places were investigated for committing a hate crime. Now it would appear that the prison authorities believe that some women do indeed have penises. The trouble is, they seek to use them “inappropriately” against women who don’t — while claiming to be suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Feminists may believe correctly that “women don’t have penises”, but according to the latest figures, there are 125 transgender prisoners in jails in England and Wales. With this sort of encouragement from those in authority, for whom public safety should be a first priority, this problem is not going to go away any time soon.
In fact, it is likely to grow, although it is unlikely that many “trans men” (i.e. women who believe they are men) will seek to be trans-ferred to men’s prisons – even if they claim to be rapists.
Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).