Steph's Place

23rd May 2020. Opinion: The Daily Mail Discriminates Against Trans Women

There has been lots of “bad press” against trans women prisoners in recent months. The Daily Mail, (and others) have been very vocal on this issue. It started with Rory Stewart, once a Tory minister but who was subsequently expelled from the Conservative party saying that trans woman prisoners had attacked prison officers.

 On the 22nd of April 2020 Baroness Mc Donagh from the House of Lords asked a written question (HL3198) saying this:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many sexual assaults have been carried out by trans prisoners against women prisoners and prison officers in prisons in each year since 2010; in which prisons any such assaults took place; and in each case, what action was taken against the perpetrator.

The question was answered on the 5th of May by Lord Keen of Elie saying this:

We have strict safeguards in place to care for and manage transgender individuals in custody while protecting our staff and others in custody.

There have been no reported incidents of any type of sexual assault against prison officers by transgender prisoners.

Since 2010, out of the 122 sexual assaults that occurred in the female estate a total of five of those were sexual assaults against females in custody perpetrated by transgender individuals. These occurred at HMP Low Newton, HMP Foston Hall, HMP Peterborough (Female) and HMP Bronzefield. However, we are not able to break this data down year by year, as it may then be used to identify individuals. Information on the action taken against each perpetrator is not held centrally.

The Daily Mail (and others) then used this written reply to twist the facts castigating trans women prisoners by suggesting they were locked up with cis women prisoners and attacking them. But the Daily Mail failed to mention two key points.


  •  The Mail “assumed” the "trans" prisoners were MTF. , But of course, given UK prison policies the fact is they were much more likely to be FTM prisoners as invariably without a Gender Recognition Certificate trans women prisoners are housed in male prisons. When looking at the statistics, there are around 83,600 men and women in prison in England and Wales at any one time and just 130 of them identify with being a trans woman. These figures were correct as of November 2019. Of the 130 trans women in jail, 91% were actually in a men's prison! 
  • If there were 122 assaults in women's prisons over the last ten years and 5 were committed by trans prisoners were any of the remaining 117 attacks made by cis women prisoners against trans prisoners? Of course, we do not know. Baroness Mc Donagh’s question failed to ask that point. Not precisely fair in my view. And what about Rory Stewart? would appear he was either incorrect or lied. 


Then on the 21st of May 2020, another stat was revealed this time by the BBC. It stated that roughly on average, one trans women prisoner locked up in male prisons is being attacked every month for the last year.

Now obviously every single attack against any human being is wrong. But the evidence suggests that Trans Women in prison are sexually attacked around once every month while a trans gendered (likely FTM) attacks a fellow prisoner once every two years. And with just 130 trans women in jail, and attacks happening against them every month, it is very clear who are the victims and who are the aggressors.

But in the media who gets the bad press being the alleged as aggressor …the trans woman. 


Hardly fair, is it? 


All relevant links below.


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