Scotland: rapist changes gender, asks to serve sentence in women’s prison

Photo: Twitter/@RobertL04325015

The case of a transgender person who committed two rapes as a man but wants to serve time in a women’s ward has intensified the controversy over a law passed by the Scottish Parliament allowing legal gender reassignment based on nothing more than self-declaration.

A Glasgow court ruled on Tuesday that Isla Bryson, 31, is guilty of two rapes of women committed in 2016 and 2019 as a man Adam Graham. According to the media, Bryson is currently believed to be in Stirling Women's Prison in an individual cell.

However, the fact that the rapist would be serving the sentence in a normal cell with other female inmates after the sentence is announced, which will be in a month, is highly controversial.

According to Bryson’s own account, the suspicions of being transgender came at the age of four, but the gender reassignment process was not undertaken until 2020, already after the person had been arrested for rape. The process is not yet complete - Bryson is still undergoing hormone treatment, and surgery is yet to be scheduled.

But claims of long-perceived transsexuality are disputed by the perpetrator’s wife, who was interviewed by the “Daily Mail” on Wednesday.

Shonna Graham said her husband has never mentioned anything about feeling like he was in the wrong body and all his alleged transsexualism is just an attempt to get a lighter sentence and go to a lighter, female prison.

She also warned that Graham/Bryson may commit further assaults on women there, as it is “in the person’s nature.”

The case is now being pointed to as an example of what the Gender Recognition Act, which the Scottish Parliament passed in late December, could lead to if it were to come into force. The document stipulates that a medical certificate of gender dysphoria, i.e., the incompatibility of one's biological sex with one's perceived sex, would no longer be needed for a legal sex change, but a self-declaration would suffice, and the minimum period of living with dysphoria needed to obtain a legal sex change would be lowered from two years to three months.

In addition, during the debate on the bill, an amendment was submitted to prohibit those convicted of sex crimes from being able to legally change their sex, but it was rejected.

The bill has failed to pass for now because the government in London blocked it, pointing out that it would have conflicted with the UK's Equality Act, led to intractable situations where the same person could have a different gender in Scotland and a different one in the rest of the country, and risked “gender tourism,” that is, moving to use legal sex change for purposes such as benefits, pensions or hospital places.