Alex Massie Alex Massie

‘Isla Bryson’ and the madness of Scotland’s gender bill  

'Isla Bryson', formerly known as Adam Graham, arrives at the High Court in Glasgow (Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Adam Graham was four years old when, according to his own account of his life, he first began to suspect he might be transgender. ‘I was always hanging about with the girls and always doing make up’, he said. It was not until he was 29, however, that Graham began to openly identify as a woman, taking hormones and changing his appearance. 

By that time he had been arrested and charged with two counts of rape.  

It is incredible that the sensitivities of convicted rapists are now the subject of so much official sympathy in Scotland

Appearing in court this week, Graham’s new – and putatively ‘real’ – identity took centre stage. Thus it was Isla Bryson, not Adam Graham, who was convicted of raping one woman in Clydebank in 2016 and another in Drumchapel in 2019.  

It should be noted, I think, that in some quarters it is considered ‘transphobic’ to even note that Isla Bryson was once Adam Graham. Bryson insists that her journey towards her new self is not yet complete: ‘I obviously want all the surgery the NHS can provide’ she told the court. 

Bryson does not appear to have a Gender Recognition Certificate of the sort which has proved so controversial in Scotland. In the future, however, there would have been nothing stopping her from acquiring one prior to her conviction. Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reforms will permit such things. Self-identification and an undefined ‘commitment’ to living in a person’s new identity for life is all that will be required. You are who you say you are and it is deeply transphobic to question such assertions.  

An amendment to the bill passed last month which would have prevented people charged with rape and other serious sexual offences from changing their gender before trial was rejected by a coalition of SNP, Green and Liberal Democrat MSPs.

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