Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Fairfax NZ article 'Cross-dressing teen dupes friends for sex'

A 19-year-old British girl lived a double life, dressing up as a boy to dupe her friends into dating her.

Gemma Barker, from Middlesex, wore boy's clothes and gave herself three false identities so she could have sexual encounters with her 15- and 16-year-old friends, the Daily Mail reported.
Prosecutor Ruby Selva told the Guildford Crown Court Barker set up Facebook profiles for her different personas and had individual dress styles for them.

She completely fooled her friends and their families by posing as Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack and Luke Jones. 
It's very difficult to know exactly what's going on here, particularly given my low low low opinion of media reporting when it comes to anything relating to sexual violence OR gender identity.

There is no question that pretending to be someone else to someone known to you so they will engage in sexual activity with you is non-consensual and morally wrong.

And it is wrong whether you are male, female, both or neither, whether you use a male or a female or a gender neutral name, whether you wear male, female or gender neutral clothes.

The fact the article fixates on these isn't just irrelevant; it's downright dangerous. I have no idea as to the gender identity of the person in question - zie could be a cisgendered woman who enjoyed pretending to be male or a trans man, or any other of a number of possibilities. Irrespective, the way this has been reported on is dangerous.

Because we live in a world people murder trans* people for 'concealing' their assigned-at-birth gender from sexual partners - and feel justified in doing so. Where dressing in clothes that don't match your assigned-at-birth gender - because you identify with another gender, or you enjoy wearing those clothes, or anything in between - is seen as something for people to be wary of. Where social networking sites routinely shut down accounts for not using your "real" name or "real" gender or having multiple accounts (as I have known several people to do in the early stages of transition) - which may seem trivial, but if you're an isolated teenager, Facebook can literally be a lifesaver.

But it seems it's easier to play into bigoted ideas of gender trickery than it is to have a meaningful exploration of what consent means.


Flynn the Cat said...

The somewhat more informative Telegraph article places a bit more emphasis on the rest of what went on, at least. It presents it more as if the cross-dressing was a tool of a manipulative or delusional (jury's still out) person, rather than a 'transgender thing'. At least, it's better than the Fairfax article.

(It's a very valid issue, I just wanted to direct people to a slightly better source).

Anonymous said...

How would you feel if it was a man who dressed up as a woman and tried to seduce same-sex attracted women?

Scuba Nurse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Nonny Moose said...

Anon at 7:44pm - I have one name (of many) for you for why this sensationalist reporting is dangerous:

Brandon Teena.

Scar said...

This whole thing makes me extremely uneasy.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to have finally found someone else who is disturbed by this. I've read a few different stories on this, none of which are anything less than damning about Gemma Barker, yet her crimes seem to be 'kissing, cuddling and some sexual touching'. Given that all the girls she touched knew her as a girl, and she met them posing as more than one male alterego (used a couple of different names) and each time they accepted her advances, I find it hard to believe that they didn't know exactly who she was and the whole thing was consensual (if confusing) anyway. Some media needs to pick up the other side to this story - I'm sure there is a whole other side we're not seeing.