According to a report made by the media outlet Gay Star News, British trans people could face charges of rape and sexual assault if they do not disclose their gender history before being intimate with a partner, including acts as innocent as kissing.
The shocking information has come after academics and lawyers met to discuss the current sex laws in the UK, and found that the Sexual Offences Act 2003 has been set up in such a way that it can be used to target transgender people.
The law, which was created to clarify what has been described as a ‘confusing array of laws around sexual conduct’ states that if you are deceived about the nature of the sex act that you are about to engage in, you are incapable of consent. This means that any activity that follows can be classified as sexual assault or rape, even if consent is given.
The issue that this law creates is that it leaves it open to interpretation within court as to what you are required to be told before engaging in a sexual act with someone, and can be used to target transgender individuals who have not told their partners about their past and their transition.
Grietje Baars, a senior lecturer in law at City University London, said; ‘Judges have twisted the law to fit personal prejudice. There is much contradiction in their rulings.’
It has also been revealed by a public law barrister, Michelle Brewer, that the Court of Appeal has in the past heard a case where judges have chosen to interpret the non-disclosure of gender history as lying, and as such a lack of informed consent.
The lawyers who met to discuss these laws have come to the conclusion that they are flawed, and that they can be used to target and harm members of the transgender community. Whilst they have said that these laws need to be changed the trans community should be aware of them as they stand at the moment.