Woman accused of raping a man was born a man
Hear the one about the woman accused of raping a man – twice? The Indy delivers the facts in headline and teaser: ‘Woman appears in court charged with raping man twice – Newcastle woman will face four-day trial in December.’
Rape, as defined in English law, is:
The elements of rape are:
(A) intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis;
(B) does not consent to the penetration, and
(A) does not reasonably believe that (B) consents
Penetration of the mouth is included.
The story of the woman accused of rape is, thus, an unusual one. The accused is named as Katie Brannen. Katie appeared at Newcastle Crown Court ‘accused of two offences of rape after allegedly attacking the man in January in South Shields’.
In all reports Katie is described as a woman, and self-identifies as such. The interesting part is that Katie has a penis. Katie is out on bail. Katie is banned from contacting the alleged victim and from all licensed premises.
Rachel Johnson tells Mail readers that Brannen was born male. Johnson says that this fact was ‘omitted in the moral panic around both privacy and misgendering, the progressive cause de nos jours. To call someone by the wrong title is considered verbal assault and even bigotry.’ This self-censorship has led to what Johnson calls a ‘fake fact – that women can and do rape men – rather than telling us the literal truth.’
It leads to all manner of questions. Is this a case of misattributed pronouns? Should we stick to gender-neutral language? Has liberation become censorship? How does this impact on the world beyond words – do we have gender-neutral prisons? To what extent can simple biological fact be altered? Is gender located not in culture, biology or society but in performance?
Transgender people should be free to identify however they choose but what about the rest of us? It’s confusing, no?