Joan Smith asks why the courts and media have such problems with the pronouns for the Clydebank rapist

Joan Smith has an article on Unherd which takes a clear position about the individual who was originally known as Adam Graham, and who while living and and identifying as a man, raped two women. On Wednesday a jury returned guilty verdicts against this individual for both crimes. 

Between being charged with these offences and being found guilty, the individual started the process of legally transitioning to female gender and now seeks to be known as Isla Bryson.

In my view the vast majority of transgender people deserve support and dignity. But convicted rapists and proven sexual predators, whatever their gender and self-identification, deserve a place in a prison cell - and should be imprisoned where they can neither be victimised themselves nor further victimise others. 

We send people to prison as punishment and to protect society, not to but them where they may be harmed by other prisoners, and that applies whatever their gender. Many women prisoners are highly vulnerable individuals, and for the protection of the vulnerable, convicted rapists with male bodies do not belong in a women's prison. Nor should they ever be allowed in women-only spaces - though in some cases for their own protection they may also be held separately from male prisoners.

To me the main issue raised by this case is how we treat trans people like human beings without undermining essential protections for which women have fought for decades. But the extent to which 21st century society has difficulty thinking straight about the transgender issue, and the extent to which many people are terrified to say or write what they think, is illustrated by the issue of pronouns, which Joan Smith addresses in her article.

It will probably not have escaped the attention of most readers of this blog post that I have carefully avoided using any pronouns for the Clydesdale rapist.

Joan Smith's article addresses the dilemma, and makes clear where she stands on it:

"The judges’ bench book, which consists of guidance rather than law, says it is a matter of ‘common courtesy’ to use the personal pronoun and name that a person prefers. Many women and some lawyers, however, think it is ridiculous — and insulting to rape victims — to enforce a pretence that a male defendant is female."

You can read the full article by clicking on this link:

Why can't the media get the Clydebank rapist's pronouns right? - The Post (


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