Trans rapist Isla Bryson claims to be a victim of hate crime

Isla Bryson, previously known as Adam Graham
Isla Bryson was originally sent to Corton Vale, a female-only prison, before being moved to a male facility

A transgender rapist has claimed to be the victim of hate crime by prison staff.

Isla Bryson, 32, was jailed in February 2023 after being convicted of raping two women, crimes that were committed while living as a man known as Adam Graham.

After being convicted at the High Court in Glasgow in January 2023, Bryson was sent to Cornton Vale, a women’s prison, causing a political scandal for the SNP, before later being moved to the male prison, HMP Edinburgh.

Bryson was sentenced  at the High Court in Edinburgh to eight years, with a further three years on licence.

The sex offender claimed to have received an apology after complaining about being “misgendered” and being called “son” by a female member of staff, in a hand-written letter to the Sunday Mail.

Isla Bryon claims they are dealing with transphobia from staff
Isla Bryon claims to have suffered from transphobia from prison staff - MIKE GIBBONS/SPINDRIFT PHOTO AGENCY

The former DJ had first appeared as Adam Graham but started to identify as a woman while on bail and appeared for trial under the name Isla Bryson.

Bryson wrote: “I’m just dealing with transphobia from staff.

“I was told from a staff member in Edinburgh that the MSP has been telling governors to treat trans women that come into the SPS [Scottish Prison Service] like men.

“It’s disgusting and a hate crime.”

The letter added: “They refuse to put any female toiletries or makeup out. I am on blockers just now. I have boobs. I don’t sound like a man anymore.”

Bryson was convicted of raping one woman in Clydebank in 2016 and another in nearby Drumchapel in 2019, but insisted: “I’m only into men.”

Bryson admitted having a five-month relationship with a fellow prisoner who was jailed for six years in 2019 for paedophilia and drugs, as well as a three-week relationship with an inmate called Colin.

The letter added: “I want to make this clear, I don’t like women, I’m only into men.”

Misgendering ‘not a hate crime’

Natalie Beal, the governor of male prison HMP Glenochil, wrote to Bryson last month following the incident in which a member of staff called Bryson “son” and said the SPS officer immediately “apologised after realising their mistake”, the newspaper reported.

The letter stated that during the probe, Bryson was unable to state the date, time or name of officers involved in either incident, with no witnesses found, the Sunday Mail reported.

Ms Beal said in the letter that a separate unclear incident involving a metal detector was an oversight by a prison officer who “may not have realised” that Bryson was a trans prisoner.

It was reported that Ms Beal added: “We do apologise if you felt disrespected but we do not believe that would have been the intention of the officer concerned.”

The SPS has previously said it is committed to a culture of equality of opportunity and diversity and it was reported that it has a variety of clothing, including unisex, to fit individual prisoners, the Sunday Mail reported.

Rhona Hotchkiss, a former governor for Cornton Vale, told the Sunday Mail: “Misgendering is not a hate crime and that has become clear since the silly hate crime law came into force. People have been doing it left, right and centre and have not been prosecuted.

“Also last year Humza Yousaf himself said ‘he is at it’ of Adam Graham/Isla Bryson so I would suggest if the SPS think that’s any kind of a crime they should take it up with Mr Yousaf and see what he thinks.”

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individuals.”