Only Two Questions

From Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph:

WHEN constable Tyrone Stacey heard that a man in custody, Garrick Jacobson, was romantically involved with a woman known by police to be transgender, he assumed Jacobson was aware his girlfriend used to be male, a court heard yesterday.

“Oh, you mean the tranny?” Stacey asked after Jacobson said his girlfriend’s name was Brigitte Fell.

But Jacobson was confused.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

This was the crucial moment on September 24, 2006, when Stacey realised he had made “a genuine and honest mistake” in divulging personal information about Ms Fell to her lover of three weeks, barrister Joe Klarica told Downing Centre Local Court.

To ensure they were talking about the same person, Stacey then accessed the police database, printed out a mug shot of Ms Fell and showed it to Jacobson “in the hope that it was a different person”.

But Crown Prosecutor Sheridan Goodwin argued that Stacey and his colleague Brendan Ritson used the information to “humiliate and embarrass” Jacobson, who had been detained after stealing a case of beer.

She said Ritson taunted Jacobson, telling him: “You’re r. . .ing a bloke . . . see it’s a man.” The court heard just hours after he was released on bail, Jacobson broke into Fell’s home and assaulted her after yelling: “You didn’t tell me you were actually a man . . . I’m going to smash you.”

1. Why is everyone only talking about the “humiliation” suffered by Jacobson and not what was suffered by the woman whose privacy was actually violated, and who was in fact put into danger as a result? (Oh, right, she’s trans, and clearly the “humiliation” of a cis man finding out his girlfriend is trans is much more noteworthy and prosecutable than the danger and violation suffered by the woman in question.)

2. What charges, exactly, is Jacobson facing? Because it says pretty clearly in the article here that he assaulted Fell and in fact broke into her home, but nothing is noted about how he is being prosecuted for those crimes. I’m afraid to find out whether the Daily Telegraph just didn’t think that part was worth mentioning, or if it actually turns out that the poor victim Jacobson isn’t being prosecuted for his violence at all.

0 thoughts on “Only Two Questions

  1. Cara Post author

    I’m assuming that she’s okay since this happened in 2006, and they included a recent picture of her. But no, they didn’t bother mentioning how badly she was injured in the assault.

  2. Rachel

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. If Jacobson was being detained for stealing a case of beer, why were they discussing his love life?

    And, also:
    Magistrate Bartley has reserved his decision until early next year.

    Um, why so long?

  3. Lemur

    Why are we just now hearing about this? Is it cause the hearing just now happened or something? *confused*
    Oh, and wtf is it with newspapers and their lack of respect for trans folk? I mean for fuck’s sake, let’s not make it look like we actually value these people as humans, or grant them dignity, or act like we give a damn about them- can’t have that!

  4. Lisa Harney

    I prefer not to say “grant trans people dignity.” We have dignity. It’s more about how stories try to strip that dignity away from us.

    I’ve seen this story come up in the past, too.

    Thanks for posting this, Cara.

  5. Pingback: What the Fuck? « Mortality’s Thoughts

  6. MF

    Um… this may be a minority view here, but doesn’t the girlfriend have an obligation to tell her boyfriend her status before engaging in physical intimacy?

    As a thought experiment, say that a man dresses as a woman and is able to fool a lesbian into performing a sexual act because she things she is with another woman.

    I’m not sure at what point getting sex under false pretenses escalates to assault but I think this is at least close.

  7. Cara Post author

    Apologies to anyone who is offended by MF’s comment. I almost didn’t approve it, but then decided that hir statement was based more in ignorance that malice, and there just might be a teachable moment here.

    So, MF, as a thought experiment: what was she supposed to disclose? Do you disclose, before you have sex with someone, what genitals you were born with, and which genitals you currently have? If not, why not? And why is a transgender woman expected to do any differently? Further, what do you think she lied about? She’s a woman — so unless she said to him “I’m a man,” I see no lie here. And are you saying that a transgender woman is “a man in a dress” — because from your comment, I don’t think that’s what you actually intended, but it’s precisely what your example implies.

    And further yet, what does any of this have to do with the fact that her privacy was violated by the government, and the fact that she was physically assaulted by her boyfriend as a result of that violation and his own prejudice and stupidity?


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