Trans People and the Sexual Offences Act 2003 September 2016
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
I understand that concerns have been raised regarding potential interpretations of certain sections within this Act, and the implications that these could have for trans people. Indeed, I am aware that a related petition highlighting this matter has now been signed thousands of times
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has outlined legal guidance regarding sexual offences and consent where the suspect may be a transgender person. The CPS guidance is clear that prosecutors reviewing such cases "need to be aware of, and sensitive to, all the relevant circumstances and should ensure the police supply as much information as possible in order to properly inform their decision making." The CPS guidance also states that determining whether there has been deception as to gender "will require very careful consideration of all the surrounding circumstances", and notes a number of factors to that should be taken into account.
I firmly believe that no-one in Britain should be discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity, and I believe that the Government could do a lot more in this area.
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee published a ground breaking report on transgender equality earlier this year which made clear that trans people face discrimination and abuse on a daily basis.
Ignorance is no excuse, and I believe the Government should draw up a new strategy to tackle transgender discrimination and ensure that any outdated laws which are blind to the needs of trans people are amended. My Shadow Frontbench colleagues and I support a concerted effort to fight all forms of hate crime.
I appreciate that this is a sensitive issue, and I can assure you that I will continue to follow the Government's progress on these matters.