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Alex Sharpe

  • Call: 1988

Alex Sharpe is a Law Professor at Keele University (2004 – present). She also holds an Adjunct Chair at the Crime and Justice Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology (2014 -). She is a socio-legal theorist, legal historian and gender, sexuality and the law scholar and activist. She has been writing about transgender/law issues for over twenty years and is the author of over 50 publications on the subject.

Key Publications

1. Sexual Intimacy and Gender Identity ‘Fraud’: Reframing the Legal & Ethical Debate (London: Routledge) pp. 204.
2. Foucault’s Monsters and the Challenge of Law (London: Routledge, 2010) pp. 184.
3. Transgender Jurisprudence: Dysphoric Bodies of Law (London: Cavendish, 2002) pp. 230.

Trans Activism and Law Reform

Alex regularly provides advice to government departments, members of parliament, law firms and public interest advocacy organisations both in the UK and overseas. She has made a series of written submissions to parliamentary inquiries held by the Ministry of Justice, the Women and Equalities Select Committee and the Public Bills Committee, and has been cited in parliamentary and amicus curiae intervention submissions, as well as judicially in Australia, Hong Kong, the United States and, most recently, by the European Court of Human Rights (Hämäläinen v Finland [2014] ECHR 877 (Joint Dissenting Opinion of Judges Sajo, Keller & Lemmens, para 13).

Current Work: Challenging ‘Gender Fraud’ Prosecutions

Alex is currently a Leverhulme Trust funded Research Fellow (1/10-16 – 1/10/17. £42,319). More information about this funded project can be found at her Keele University webpage. During the fellowship, Alex will consider recent successful sexual offence prosecutions for ‘gender fraud’ brought against young trans and gender queer people (R v Gemma Barker [2012] Southwark Crown Court, unrep; R v Chris Wilson [2013] Edinburgh High Court, unrep; R v Justine McNally [2013] EWCA Crim 1051; R v Gayle Newland [2015] Chester Crown Court, unrep; R v Kyran Lee (Mason) [2015] Lincoln Crown Court, unrep; R v Jason Staines [2016] Bristol Crown Court, unrep; R v Gayle Newland [2017] Manchester Crown Court, unrep). The project will consider: (i) the proper reach of the criminal law, (ii) the ethicality of sexual conduct/omission, and (iii) will offer a queer reading of desire.

Publications on ‘Gender Fraud’

Refereed Journals

  1. ‘The Ethicality of the Demand for (Trans)parency in Sexual Relations (2017) 43(2) Australian Feminist Law Journal 161-183.
  2. ‘Queering Judgement: The Case of Gender Identity Fraud’ (2017) 81(5) Journal of Criminal Law 417-435.
  3. ‘Expanding Liability for Sexual Fraud Through the Concept of Active Deception’: A Flawed Approach’ (2016) 80(1) Journal of Criminal Law 28-44.
  4. ‘Sexual Intimacy, Gender Variance and the Criminal Law’ (2015) 33(4) Nordic Journal of Human Rights 380-391.
  5. ‘Criminalising Sexual Intimacy: Transgender Defendants and the Legal Construction of Non-Consent’ (2014) Criminal Law Review 207-223.
  6. ‘Transgender Marriage and the Legal Obligation to Disclose Gender History’ (2012) 75(1) Modern Law Review 33-53.

New Statesman

7.  ‘The Dark Truth Behind Convictions for Gender Fraud’ (16 Dec 2015)  This article considers the Kyran Lee conviction.
8. ‘There’s More Than Meets the Eye in the Case of Gayle Newland’ (18 Sept 2015)  This article considers the conviction and eight year sentence of Gayle Newland.
9. ‘We Must Not Uphold Gender Norms at the Expense of Human Dignity’ (1 May 2013)  This article considers the Chris Wilson and Justine McNally cases.

Alex has also published elsewhere on this topic including a series of articles on the Inherently Human Blog and articles in The Conversation and Legal Voice.

Professional Memberships and Appointments

Alex sits on the International Legal Committee of WPATH (World Professional Association of Transgender Health), a law reform body which makes amicus curiae interventions in litigation worldwide, and Amnesty International’s Expert Committee on the Criminalisation of Sexual and Reproductive Conduct. She also sits on the advisory boards of the International Journal of Transgenderism; the International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law; the Journal of Crime, Justice and Social Democracy; and the Journal of Sexual Ethics. She has held visiting professorships at the University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, Lund University, Sweden, and McGill University, Montreal.

Speaking Engagements

Alex regularly presents keynote addresses, lectures and appears at many other speaking events involving, but not confined to, transgender rights concerns. In recent years, she has been invited to speak in New York, Prague, Tel Aviv, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Lund, Oslo, Vienna, San Francisco, Zurich, Berlin, as well as in the UK. She has a significant media profile and is widely consulted and interviewed by various media and publishes regularly in national newspapers.