Posted in Criminal law, Human rights, LGBT legal issues, Rape, Sexuality and law, Theory & method, tagged alex sharpe, court of appeal, England, Gayle Newland, Gender Fraud, Keele, mcnally, sexual offences, sexual offences act, trans* rights on October 6, 2015|
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Alex Sharpe is a professor at Keele University School of Law. She has been involved in transgender law reform and activism for over twenty years, and has written extensively on the criminalisation of so-called ‘gender fraud’ under the Sexual Offences Act. Alex has recently been interviewed by CBC Radio Canada on the Gayle Newland case, together with Professor Madden Demsey. Her interview can be found here.
On 15th September, Gayle Newland was convicted of three counts of sexual assault under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. She is currently awaiting sentence, though a custodial term has been indicated. The case is the latest in a series of so-called, and so far successful, ‘gender fraud’ based prosecutions that have come before English (R v Barker  (unrep); R v McNally  EWCA Crim 1051) and Scottish (R v Wilson  (unrep)) courts. Barker and McNally received significant custodial sentences and all convicted defendants have been placed on the Sexual Offenders Register for life.
Most of the media and legal coverage of the Newland case, like the cases of Barker, McNally and Wilson before it, has tended, unproblematically, to reproduce a fraud narrative, rather than challenge the ideological underpinnings of a worldview that makes fraud such an easy conclusion for courts and juries to draw. Of course, prosecution for ‘gender fraud’ is deeply troubling for other reasons. In the first place, prosecutions can be viewed as a significant example of criminal law overreach. That is, and irrespective of where we determine consent to end or deception to begin, the use of the criminal law to regulate deceptive, as opposed to coercive, sexual relations, can be viewed as an overly draconian and counter-productive measure. (more…)
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Posted in Inherently Brief, tagged activism, amal clooney, bishops, Church of England, diversity, domestic violence, equality, feminism, feminist activism, gay marriage, gay rights, gender, gender discrimination, holocaust, human rights, Inherently Brief, same-sex marriage, scotland, sex discrimination, Sexism, thailand, third gender, trans*, trans* rights on February 12, 2015|
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Russia bans Trans* people from driving
Catherine Ravenscroft, Durham University
Last month Russia enacted a new law effectively banning people with certain illnesses from driving. Within the listed illnesses are those viewed as “personality and behaviour disorders”, for example transsexualism and other “disorders of sexual preference”.
The move was justified by the Russian government on the basis of a need to reduce the high rates of traffic accidents occurring each year. The country currently has some of the worst figures for road accident fatalities in the world and it is believed that stricter controls on those given the opportunity to drive will make the roads safer.
Nevertheless, the Act has received international criticism due to its potentially detrimental effects on the transgender community. Jean Freedberg, of Human Rights Campaign Global, argued that the ban is “simply another example of the Russian government’s increased campaign of persecution and discrimination against its LGBT population”. Like other critics, Freedberg fails to see the logic behind connection that the Russian government has drawn between gender identity and driver ability. As Shawn Gaylord, of US-based Human Rights First, argues, “banning people from driving based on their gender identity or expression is ridiculous”. He also expresses concerns that it could deter transgender people from seeking mental health services due to a fear of losing the right to drive.
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Posted in Inherently Brief, tagged aboriginal women, Canada, feminism, first nationa, gay rights, human rights, Inherently Brief, law reform, trans* rights, transgender, transgender rights, Uganda, women on February 28, 2014|
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Snapshots of law, gender and sexuality news from the past couple of weeks
Uganda’s Anti-Gay Act Signed into Law
Jesse Bachir, Durham University
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed the now infamous anti-gay bill into law this week amidst great protest from human rights groups and western countries. Since then, many countries have announced reviews of their aid policies regarding Uganda. Notably, the Netherlands will stop sending $9.6 million in aid to assist with Uganda’s courts, while Norway and Denmark will be giving a combined $17 million to NGOs and human rights organizations operating in Uganda, rather than as aid directly to the country. The US has also announced that it will be reviewing its diplomatic relations with Uganda, including a review of its aid policies, which amount to $400 million per year.
The law criminalises gay sex and same-sex marriage and provides for life imprisonment for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’, which is defined as any sexual relations with someone of the same sex more than once, with a child, with a disabled person, or where one individual is HIV positive.
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