A sex offender case has sparked heated debate in Scotland. Now the government has gotten involved.
A trans woman who raped two women before becoming a man in Scotland should not be held in a women’s prison. This was confirmed by Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday in Parliament in Edinburgh after the case had previously sparked criticism and concern. “I hope that helps reassure the public,” said the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).
The sex offender was found guilty by a court in Glasgow on Tuesday of raping a woman in 2016 and 2019. The sentence is expected to be announced in February. According to the British news agency PA, until then she should be held in Cornton Vale women’s prison.
Case fuels debate over trans rights
The British Labor politician Yvette Cooper, like many others, spoke out against it in a BBC interview: It should go without saying that someone who has committed crimes against women and poses a danger to women should not be allowed to stay in such a prison, said the deputy.
The treatment and rights of trans people are a hotly debated issue in Scotland: The Scottish Parliament has voted in favor of a gender law that is intended to significantly lower the hurdles for gender reassignment. Supporters see the law as a long-overdue reform that could make life easier for trans people and enable them to live self-determined lives.
Trans people or transgender are people who do not feel they belong to the gender they were assigned at birth.
However, there is also harsh resistance to this, the most prominent critic being bestselling author Joanne K. Rowling. She and her fellow activists fear that men could take advantage of the simplified regulations to invade areas reserved for women, such as women’s changing rooms or toilets, for sexual motives.
Sturgeon countered this criticism before the Scottish Parliament: With the announced decision she did not want to suggest that trans women posed an inherent threat to women. She added, “Predatory men are, as always have been, the danger to women.”
According to a report by the BBC, the responsible prison authority will now decide on the further accommodation of the offender.