Trans woman and activist Sarah Jane Baker is being held an all-male prison, following her “punch a terf” speech at this summer’s London Trans+ Pride.
The 53-year-old was recalled to prison after being charged on suspicion of incitement to violence for a speech she made at the Pride event in the capital, held on 8 July 2023.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice told PinkNews she was being held at a male prison, and that the former inmate has never served any jail time in a women’s facility.
During Baker’s speech, she said to the thousands of attendees: “If you see a TERF, punch them in the f***king face.”
Met Police officers confirmed that, on 12 July, a woman had been taken into custody in connection with the speech, later confirmed to be Baker.
After being charged under section 4a of the Public Order Act, which states that a person is guilty of an offence for using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour,” she was recalled to prison due to the terms of her probation.
Speaking to PinkNews, the Free Sarah Jane Baker campaign team said: “The initial response from the police was to take no further action. Sarah was under probation for crimes she committed over 30 years ago, but probation also decided that her speech would not result in her recall to prison.
“To add to the injustice, Sarah has been sent to a male jail. She is challenging this, and hopes to be transferred to a female jail soon.”
Baker was released on parole in 2019 after serving 30 years of a life sentence for kidnapping and torturing her stepmother’s brother in the late 1980s and later attempting to murder a child rapist while in prison.
Due to the terms of her probation, she is to serve the remainder of a life sentence pending the result of the criminal case concerning her Trans+ Pride speech, which is set to begin on 31 August.
Sarah Jane Baker during a Trans Pride protest. (Getty)
In a statement to PinkNews, friends close to Baker said her speech was “said in anger” and “to be outrageous and to give confidence to her audience,” adding that she didn’t believe “anyone would act on it.”
In response to the arrest, a group of activists have organised the Free Sarah Jane Baker campaign to advocate for the dismissal of the charges.
“It argues that the response from police officers and the Crown Prosecution Service is “disproportionate” and represents “systemic transphobia” in the UK.
In an interview with PinkNews in 2020, Baker said she had been kept in a male prison during her 30 years in jail and was constantly targeted as a trans prisoner, suffering physical attacks, stabbings, and multiple rapes.
Campaign organisers accused Conservative home secretary Suella Braverman and “complaints from transphobes” of contributing to the eventual arrest.
Following the news that Baker was being investigated, Braverman wrote in a tweet: “I’m sure the police will consider the evidence carefully.”
A crowdfunder for legal costs and to support Baker’s partner has amassed over £2,600 at the time of reporting.
Additionally, demonstrations outside of the City of London Magistrates Court, where her case is to be held, have taken place over the past few weeks.
More demonstrations are set to be held, including on 17 August when she will appear via video link at Westminster Magistrates Court, as well as on 31 August at the beginning of her trial.
The campaign’s team also reassured activists that she has “significant support” from members of the public and that demonstrations would continue across the trial.
“Future events to raise awareness are planned including exhibitions and performances,” the campaign team continued.
“Events will feature her art in its many forms as well as contributions and collaborations from her many creative friends and supporters.”
PinkNews has contacted the Metropolitan Police for more details.