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Home > DIVA Magazine > April 2016 > The Law: Sexuality, Gender And Consent

The Law: Sexuality, Gender And Consent

RECENT COURT RULINGS APPEAR TO CONTRADICT EACH OTHER, BUT IS THE LAW CONFUSED OR IS IT US?
ILLUSTRATION FERNANDO SAFONT

When Gayle Newland disguised her gender from her girlfriend, posing as her alter-ego “Kye Fortune”, she didn’t think it would land her with an eightyear sentence from a judge who has previously given more lenient sentences to paedophiles.

Since 2012, there have been five young LGBT people in the UK prosecuted and convicted under so-called “gender fraud” laws. In all of these cases, the female claimants have complained that they believed they were entering into sexual intimacy with men. Whilst the content of these cases has caused much sensationalism and excitement within the tabloid media, they have demonstrated much disparity in sentencing, as well as generating confusion regarding the issue of consent in sexual intimacy. They have also highlighted a number of concerns surrounding the ways in which the judiciary deals with diversity and equality issues, particularly those relating to the lesbian and trans community.

The two most recent cases, that of R v Gayle Newland (2015) and R v Kyran Lee (Mason) (2015), appear to offer a number of parallels and may best illustrate the differences in the sentences imposed for such convictions and the judges’ reasons behind this. Newland was treated much more harshly than Lee, and in this article I shall explain why.

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About DIVA Magazine

Channel 4’s Anna Richardson (Revenge Porn, Super Shoppers) talks exclusively to DIVA about her recent work, labels, biphobia and her relationship with Sue Perkins, in our in-depth interview. Also in this issue: - Susan Calman’s last column (for now) - Foodie and campaigner Jack Monroe on becoming a vegan parent - DIVA discovers Canada’s remote lesbian hot-spot - Why did Gayle Newland get 8 years for disguising her gender from her girlfriend? - Wedding style special: what to wear and how to plan yours - Disabled lesbian and bi women challenge stereotypes - Music showcase: ones to watch from the urban underground scene - Book extract: Shamim Sharif’s Cold War romance, Despite The Falling Snow - Trans rights campaigner Juno Roche on life as a bi trans woman with HIV Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.
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