Friday, 22 March 2013

The case of Justine McNally

I'm quite troubled by the idea that a fair judgement has been passed against Justine McNally. I need to make sure there is no absence of doubt here, the victim in this case is someone I have every sympathy for. To fall (possibly) in love with someone, or start that path, and find that they are not the person that they said they were creates a kind of crushing, floor falling from under you, chaos creating emotion that is hard to escape from. You doubt yourself, your ability to judge people, your confidence goes as you feel like you have been used and that it is somehow your fault you let this happen.

However...in this case deception only exists in the sense that the victim has been shaken by the fact that the person that she was having a relationship is female sexed rather than male. There are reports that Justine told the victim and her mother that she would go through a sex change to continue the relationship. This isn't the stance of a twisted manipulator, it's one of a person with an unsure view of their own sexuality wanting to be in a relationship with someone she cares about.



If Justine had been born as a man (sex) and gone through this relationship this story wouldn't exist, and yet it's likely that how the two felt about each other would be no different than before the deception was found out. If Justine had, if it were possible, a sex change before meeting with the victim and kept that quiet...again...we probably wouldn't be hearing about this, and the two would still feel the same about each other. Yet this story won't be told in such a way since the media has already latched on to the idea that this was some kind of grooming scheme with a sole aim, to get a girl in to bed.

It's hard to articulate this correctly as, at the end of the day, any kind of deception in a relationship tends to, for good reason, cause previous feelings to be re-evaluated and usually lost to some degree. Relationships are, after all, about trust. But if Justine's feelings were genuine, and his actions respectful...why is he in jail for an unfortunate set of choices that are exacerbated by his frustrations with his own sexuality vs anatomy, when men and women break people's hearts for the same well-intentioned deception on other matters all the time?

How many men or women are jailed for lying about having had an affair and being found out, for example? How many men have had meaningful, loving sex with a woman but haven't been truthful with her about who he is as a person. For example, are there any cases of a man not telling his partner that he is sterile, and going to jail for sexual assault when she finds out that this guy who she planned to start a family with had lied to her about his ability to procreate?

To say this is sexual assault, as much as Justine has taken the charge on by declaring her guilt, feels odd. I'd welcome comparable examples from other cases where someone has deceived a partner, out of fear of their true self ending the relationship, had some form of sexual intercourse with them, and then been charged with sexual assault.

Being heartbroken is horrible, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone to have to go through that feeling when it's been through their partner not being honest with them. I just don't think we should be happy that in this case we have jailed a person for circumstances that seem to only be present in cases involving transsexuals.

I welcome considered and measured responses, and apologise if anything above has caused offence...I am more than happy to clarify where needed.