Plans to change Scotland’s gender identity law must be prison-proof

THERE’S an old saying that hard cases make bad law, and a slightly newer one that bad law makes hard cases. The conundrum is this – should laws be drafted with the most likely eventualities in mind, or should legislators have regard for worst-case scenarios?

When I last wrote about the Scottish Government’s proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act, some readers were outraged. I was accused of transphobia, of bigotry, or causing harm to trans people and, most confusingly, of suggesting all transwomen were sexual predators. Some readers seemed to assume I was wading into this complex debate from a position of almost total ignorance, while others felt left behind, complaining they couldn’t make head nor tail of the jargon I’d used and the concepts I’d described.

So allow me, in returning to this topic, to begin with some basics about gender identity and prison…

Read the rest of this column at

Published in The National on February 23 2018.


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