Trans people in UK could face rape charges if they don’t reveal gender history

Trans activist Sophie Cook

Trans activist Sophie Cook has warned that trans people in the UK may face rape charges if they don’t declare their gender history to sexual partners.

Under UK law, people who are unaware of the nature of a sex act are not able to give consent, meaning non-disclosure of gender history can be seen as a breach of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

A recent Transjustice conference in London highlighted the legal repercussions that could be faced by trans people who do not wish to disclose their gender history to prospective sexual partners.

Sophie said: “At what point should the disclosure be made? As you’re snuggling up in bed? Or maybe trans people could be made to wear a handy badge on their clothing identifying their history.

“If trans people have to disclose this why shouldn’t everyone? Surely a racist could complain to a judge that he felt used after realising that the woman he slept with had previously had a black partner, or the homophobe object when discovering that his girlfriend had ‘experimented’ with other women at Uni.”

2016-Sophie Cook-Brighton College

The Crown Prosecution Service said that every case is handled individually and transgender people do not automatically face rape charges if they stay silent about their history, but activists warn this is ambiguous.

Sophie continued: “By forcing transgender people to disclose their history to prospective partners the law is not only infringing their human rights it’s also reinforcing the bigoted idea that trans people are in some way abhorrent and something that people need to be warned about.

“My passport says female, my driving license says female, why should I present myself as anything other?”

The Transjustice conference was hosted by Garden Court Chambers in association with Birkbeck University and City University London.

Words Nicolo’ Gervasi

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