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Sophie Cook

UK: CPS Appoints Transgender Rights Campaigner as 'Speak Out Champion'

Cook has publicly questioned the law on rape by deception and has accused the LGB Alliance of being a hate group.

Josephine Bartosch
Josephine Bartosch

On Tuesday, director of public prosecutions Max Hill QC announced the appointment of Sophie Cook to a paid role within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as a “Speak Out Champion.” Cook is a male transgender activist who has publicly questioned the law on rape by deception, has accused the LGB Alliance of being a hate group and attacked parenting website Mumsnet as “a centre for transphobic hate.”

The appointment of Cook comes less than a week after the publication of a report entitled “Transgenderism and Policy Capture” by a leading UK think tank. The report, authored by legal academic Maureen O’Hara calls for the end of de facto gender self-identification across the criminal justice system, noting:

“Current criminal justice policy prioritise the wishes and feelings of those who identify as transgender over the rights of others, and particularly over the sex-based rights of women, such as rights to single-sex facilities.”

Joanna Cherry QC MP explains in the forward of the report “across the public and private sectors, women and indeed some men have lost or been hounded from their jobs for daring to question the adoption of gender identity theory in their workplaces.”

The recommendations of the report are at odds with Cook’s work as a campaigner. Writing following a Transjustice” conference held at Garden Court Chambers in 2018, Cook said:

“By forcing transgender people to disclose their history to prospective partners the law is not only infringing their human rights it’s also reinforcing the bigoted idea that trans people are in some way abhorrent and something that people need to be warned about.”

He continued:

“At what point should the disclosure be made? As you’re snuggling up in bed? And run the risk of a transphobic assault and potentially worse? Perhaps we should just be forced to tell everyone we meet at first introduction, just in case we end up in bed together.”

He has also complained that “sexual abuse has been weaponised against trans women.”

Cook began to publicly identify as a woman in 2015 at the age of 48. In 2017, after benefiting from the Jo Cox Women in Leadership program, Cook was appointed as a Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham. Fellow party members in the constituency tried to have Cook deselected over concerns about financial irregularities, but the Labour Party National Executive Committee insisted he remain as a candidate. Cook also enjoyed the backing of the influential union Unite.

In the years since, Cook has become an active campaigner for the right of those who identify as trans to access services which fit their feelings of gender identity, rather than their sex. The Brighton based Survivors' Network, which is currently at the center of a legal battle over their failure to provide women-only services, invited Cook to speak at International Women's Day in 2019. Photos on social media show the chief executive of the charity standing with Cook, holding a mug reading “My feminism includes everyone."

In his new role at the CPS Cook promises to be “a visible champion for employee’s concerns” as part of a “continued cultural drive to embed EDI [Equality, Diversity and Inclusion] within every tier of management across the organisation.”

In the UK gender critical beliefs are recognized as protected in law. It seems at present there are no plans to engage a specialist “Speak Out” champion to enable gender critical employees within the CPS to ensure their voices are heard. The CPS have been contacted for comment.


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Josephine Bartosch

Jo Bartosch is a widely commissioned journalist and feminist campaigner.