Tara Hudson

Tara Hudson
Photo: Tim Dirven/Panos via The Observer

Tara Hudson / Raymond Aaron David (aka Tia Star / Holly Johansson), a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was convicted of assault at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in 2015. As Hudson had eight previous convictions including for battery, a custodial sentence (of 12 weeks) was inevitable.

Hudson, had initially claimed self-defence but pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial after viciously headbutting a bar’s manager when he refused to serve the defendant any more alcohol. The bar manager needed dental surgery costing £1,500 as a result of the attack.

Having not applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) “out of laziness“, Hudson was sent to HMP Bristol, a men’s category B prison. Commenting to the TelegraphCheryl Morgan, a trans member of LGBT Bristol and Diversity Trust, said: “Can you imagine putting a woman who looks like [Hudson] in a male prison?” perhaps unintentionally creating a hierarchy of risk for transgender people who do and don’t pass as the stereotypes associated with their chosen gender.

An appeal against the sentence, which was heard before Bristol Crown Court in October 2015 was dismissed after the panel ruled Hudson had a “worrying criminal record.”

A petition to move Hudson to a female prison was signed by 150,000 people and was backed by local MP Ben Howlett and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron. Hudson was subsequently moved to HMP Eastwood Park, a women’s closed prison in Gloucestershire.

Screengrab from Daily Mirror

In an interview with the Daily Mirror in September 2015 published a month prior to conviction, Hudson (named here as Holly Johansson/Tia Star) is quoted as saying “I’m actually a bloke”.

In an interview on release, Hudson commented on the process to obtain a GRC “I think you should still need a letter from your GP – you can’t simplify it that much because then you might have men just turning up in female prisons. But yes, of course, they should make it simpler.”

See also these posts from Young Radical Feminists and Fair Play For Women

**Update January 2018**

In early 2018, media reported that Hudson is suing the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for damages, alleging that ‘her status as a woman was ignored when she was imprisoned, that she suffered sexual assault during her incarceration and that she was placed in an atmosphere that was “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive”.’

The MoJ reportedly state in court papers that Hudson “is as a matter of biological fact a man” and add that the term “transwoman” has no legal significance. They say they have adopted female pronouns when referring to Hudson only “out of respect for her wishes”.

Despite never obtaining a GRC and being biologically male, Hudson said: “I was horrified when I read the defence from the MoJ. It states that I’m a male, which is a complete insult, humiliating and wrong because I’ve been living as a female all my adult life. I’m not a drag act.”

Media reports

The Observer https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/20/tara-hudson-transgender-prisoner-sues-government

The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/30/transgender-woman-tara-hudson-male-prison-bristol-loses-appeal-sentence

Daily Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/transgender-woman-could-be-moved-6736804

Daily Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/playboy-tv-chat-glamour-model-6370355 archive

Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/tara-hudson-the-harrowing-reality-of-being-a-trans-woman-in-an-a/ archive