A new policy that may be adopted by police departments in Scotland has become a target for conservatives masquerading as “feminists” or persons generally concerned about women for reportedly allowing rapists to identify as their true gender in police reports without the benefit of a “full gender recognition certificate.” This controversy appears to have been manufactured by a Scottish politician who individually wrote to Police Scotland asking them how they would handle the issue of rape specifically under an upcoming updated version of the Gender Recognition Act.
The reformed law would merely simplify and shorten the process by which trans people can get their true gender legally recognized over the one they were assigned at birth, removing invasive, unnecessary, and often traumatizing medical hoops. When asked by Scottish nationalist party member Kenny MacAskill how the police would deal with the crime of rape under the amended law, Police Scotland stated that they would show basic respect to trans people even when they’ve been accused of a crime — something that cisgender people generally get to enjoy.
“The sex/ gender identification of individuals who come into contact with the police will be based on how they present or how they self-declare, which is consistent with the values of the organisation,” said Detective Superintendent Fil Capaldi.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has become notorious for her transphobic statements and actions, took this in a very specific way.
As many do when they see a government thing happening that they don’t like, Rowling quoted George Orwell’s 1984 before extrapolating to “The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman” above a link to an article calling the whole thing, which hasn’t actually happened yet, an “absurdity.” Scotland maintains outdated laws on rape which state that it only counts if a penis penetrates someone without consent, ignoring victims with penises who are forced to penetrate others. It also excludes women who have been raped by cis women, which is rarer but far from unheard of.
While the majority of sexual assaults up to and including rape are perpetrated by cisgender men, real feminists have been arguing for decades that many national laws leave many victims behind, essentially telling them that their trauma didn’t exist because of genital-related technicalities. The “feminists” known to many as TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) who have proliferated in the U.K. claim that the Police Scotland policy will “warp” rape statistics, assuming for some reason that cis male rapists will identify as female to police.
Rowling’s reaction, in particular, seems to suggest that the reformed Gender Recognition Act means all rapists who were men a second ago are now women, somehow, for some reason, forever, though what she’s really doing is trying to frame all trans women as male sexual predators. For that, she gains the approval of popular U.S.-based fascists like Ben Shapiro.
The only reasoning offered as to why respecting the real gender of all people, even those who have done terrible things, will result in a problem appears to be the idea that it will significantly change statistics around the perpetrators of rape in Scotland. This seems unlikely due to the fact that transphobia remains intense among most of the general population around the world, and changing one’s gender for the cops wouldn’t stop a rape conviction if that person still has a penis.
Another hint of an explanation comes from more feigned concern about inmates in women’s prisons as though they’re not already forced into close contact with women who are rapists and prison guards who are rapists and the whole “cis man identifies as a woman to get into a women’s prison” thing has still never appeared to have happened, ever.
Meanwhile, it remains a fact that one of the groups of humans most likely to experience sexual violence is trans people, who are also disproportionately incarcerated.