Regina v Tan: CA 1983

Tan and others were accused of keeping a disorderly house having advertised: ‘Humiliation enthusiast, my favourite past time is humiliating and disciplining mature male submissives, in strict bondage, lovely tan coloured mistress invites humble applicants, TV, CP, BD and rubber wear.’
Held: The court upheld convictions which were dependent on Gloria Greaves, a post-operative male to female transsexual, still being in law a man, despite having undergone treatment to make him a female trans-sexual. The court rejected a submission that if a person had become philosophically or psychologically or socially female, that person should be held not to be a man. Parker J said: ‘In our judgment both common sense and desirability of certainty and consistency demand that the decision in Corbett v Corbett should apply for the purpose not only of marriage, but also for a charge under Section 30 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 or Section 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.’
Before a conviction the jury had to be satisfied that the services provided were open to members of the public who wished to partake of them, and were ‘of such a character and conducted in such a manner (whether by advertisement or otherwise) that their provision amounts to an outrage of public decency, or is otherwise calculated to injure the public interest to such an extent as to call for condemnation and punishment’. The provision of what was described as ‘straightforward sexual intercourse’ would not be sufficient to constitute the offence.


May LJ and Parker and Staughton JJ


[1983] QB 1053


England and Wales


AppliedCorbett v Corbett (otherwise Ashley) FD 1-Feb-1970
There had been a purported marriage in 1963 between a man and a male to female trans-sexual.
Held: Because marriage is essentially a union between a man and a woman, the relationship depended on sex, and not on gender. The law should adopt the . .

Cited by:

CitedBellinger v Bellinger HL 10-Apr-2003
Transgender Male to Female not to marry as Female
The parties had gone through a form of marriage, but Mrs B had previously undergone gender re-assignment surgery. Section 11(c) of the 1973 Act required a marriage to be between a male and a female. It was argued that the section was incompatible . .
CitedA v West Yorkshire Police HL 6-May-2004
The claimant was a male to female trans-sexual who had been refused employment as a police officer by the respondent, who had said that the staturory requirement for males to search males and for females to search females would be impossible to . .
CitedJ v S T (Formerly J) CA 21-Nov-1996
The parties had married, but the male partner was a transsexual, having been born female and having undergone treatment for Gender Identity Dysphoria. After IVF treatment, the couple had a child. As the marriage broke down the truth was revealed in . .
CitedBellinger v Bellinger CA 17-Jul-2001
Transgender Male may not marry as Female
Despite gender re-assignment, a person born and registered a male, remained biologically a male, and so was not a woman for the purposes of the law of marriage. The birth registration in this case had been correct. The words ‘male and female’ in the . .
CitedCourt, Regina v CACD 9-Feb-2012
The defendants appealed against their convictions under common law for keeping a disorderly house. They were landlords using an agreement requiring the tenant not to be used for immoral purposes. There was evidence of limited sexual activity. Only . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 31 July 2022; Ref: scu.180987