Estranged wife calls out rapist husband's 'ploy' to avoid harsh men's prison by identifying as female

"I can see why he doesn't want to be in a prison with loads of big scary men, so he's come up with this ploy to get himself a much easier sentence," said Graham.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

The estranged UK wife of a trans-identified male sex offender who began identifying as a women while awaiting trial has accused her partner of “bulls***ing” authorities to have “an easier life in prison.”

Shonna Graham, 31, married the individual who now goes by the name of Isla Bryson in 2016, and says at the time she was not aware of her husband’s violent nature. Bryson was convicted Tuesday of the rapes of two women and is due to be sentenced next month. Bryson was initially sent to a women’s prison but has since been transferred to a men’s facility.

Graham told the Daily Mail that when she first saw photographs of Bryson "dressed as a woman with a blond wig and pink Lycra leggings, [she] fell out of bed laughing."

"Never once did he say anything to me about feeling he was in the wrong body or anything," said Graham. "I have a lot of sympathy for real transgender people, it's a hard thing to live with, but he's just bullsh*****g the authorities."

"His gender transition is a sham for attention and an easier life in prison," she continued, before expressing concern about the women about to be locked up with the violent criminal.

"Will one of the vulnerable women inmates be the next victim to be attacked by him?" she asked. "He won’t stop. It’s in his nature…He’s a monster and I hope they throw away the key."

Graham gave the Daily Mail a harrowing account of the abuse she endured in their marriage, including one incident of attempted rape in which she ended up with a stab wound requiring medical attention.

"I can see why he doesn't want to be in a prison with loads of big scary men, so he's come up with this ploy to get himself a much easier sentence," said Graham.

It would appear that the ploy has not been successful. Speaking to the press Thursday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Bryson would not be housed in a women’s prison, and later reports confirmed that the serial rapist has since been moved to a men’s prison in Edinburgh.

The Bryson case highlights the conflict between protecting the rights of males who identify as women, even those who are convicted sex offenders, and protecting the rights of women and girls to spaces free from males. 

The UK government blocked Sturgeon’s controversial gender self-ID bill that seeks to make it easier for people to change their legal sex and access spaces reserved for the opposite sex, arguing that it would have a detrimental impact on UK-wide equality laws. 

Earlier on Thursday, the UK Ministry of Justice announced its intention to reform its transgender prison policy to strengthen protections for incarcerated women. The upcoming change will mean that trans-identified male prisoners with intact male anatomy, or those who have been convicted of sex offenses, will no longer have the option of being housed in women’s prisons.

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