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View Diary: A Prison Story: punished for being sexually assaulted (61 comments)

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  •  By the same logic, transmen are men. (0+ / 0-)

    And yet, you claim that some "men" should be permitted to choose to be incarcerated with women, while other "men" apparently don't get this choice.

    You cannot have it both ways.   If a transwoman is a woman who should be incarcerated with other women then a transman is a man who should be incarcerated with other men.  

    •  I let kyril and other transmen... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril

      ...speak for themselves.

      •  OK. (0+ / 0-)

        Transwomen are women, but transmen may or may not be men -- you aren't sure, don't want to say, and will only let transmen speak on that issue?  Very well -- that is your perogative, but it doesn't really change the problem of this debate.  

        What I am looking for is a simple rule that would work in an institutional setting as to how to handle transpeople when they are incarcerated.   The rule needs to be relatively straightforward, because, by god, with all respect to prison guards, some of them are not particularly long on nuance.

        The rule I'm looking for needs to provide equal protection to similarly-situated people.  It needs to be robust, such that it cannot be abused by prisoners -- many of whom are extremely manipulative, as one would expect, since they are incarcerated and have a vested interest in manipulating the rules against the dominant group which holds them in a prison in the first place.   The rule also needs to protect other prisoners as well as the trans-prisoner.

        The rule right now in California and in most other states per the 10th Circuit is that prisoners are sorted per external genitalia.   The advantage of this system is that women prisoners with female genitals are not incarcerated with those who have the capacity to impregnante them or to engage in penetrative genital sex.   There is very little nuance in the system -- you either have a penis, or you do not -- and as a general matter this means that it is very difficult to manipulate (a person in a woman's prison discovered to have a penis is shipped to the male prison).  The problem with this system is that it places greater risk on transwomen (and gay men, or men who are physically weak) of rape.

        The system you propose is that transwomen be placed with women.   However, since same-sex relations in prison are not uncommon , you can expect that there will be sexual relations between at least some transwomen and other female prisoners -- leading to charges of rape, child care issues, and so forth.   The system you propose will also be subject to manipulation -- ie, people will pose as transwomen in order to be assigned to a female prison, either to avoid the threat of rape in a male prison or to have access to women.  

        There will then come lawsuits by people claiming that they are transwomen, and demanding that the courts sort out who is a "real" transwoman and who is claiming transwoman status in order to obtain reassignment to a woman's prison.   Courts will then decide who is a "real" transwoman and who is a "fake" transwoman for prison purposes.  

        In your posts to me, you ask me whether I'm right or whether Cook County is right, and you tell me that I need to wrap my mind around the fact that a transwoman is a woman.   I don't doubt that a transwoman is a woman -- perhaps a woman with a penis (if pre-operative), but still a woman.  But demanding that transwomen be incarcerated with women solves some problems, but then creates others, and I'm not sure which outcome is better.  

        •  I'm not Robyn (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cthulhu

          but here's a simple, cut-and-dried rule: people should be sorted by hormones. For the vast majority of the prison population, this makes sorting by genitalia just fine, but if a prisoner has been on cross-sex hormone treatment for some significant amount of time (I'd suggest 6 months after reaching normal hormone levels for their gender of identification), they should be sorted into the gendered unit that matches their hormones. You can do blood testing to verify this at booking, and for those who start treatment while in prison it's fairly easy to verify and set a date for transfer.

          Staying in the reassigned unit is, of course, conditional on compliance with treatment. Keep in mind that hormone treatment for trans women includes (essentially) chemical castration; anyone who tried to abuse the rule for access to women would find himself sorely disappointed.

          As for your rape concerns: I pointed out somewhere in this thread that a penis isn't required for rape. Most trans women's penises wouldn't function very well for that purpose anyway, even if they had any interest in it. Complaints of rape against trans women should be handled in exactly the way as complaints of rape against cis women, who occasionally rape other women in prison.

          And pregnancy isn't an issue for the women. HRT for trans women renders them permanently infertile quite early; they won't be impregnating anyone. Pregnancy in trans men is a slight concern, but after 6 months or so it's very very slight.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 09:04:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, thanks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            I inferred your argument from a post you made earlier (but is below).  I think its a very good argument -- in fact, I think it forms the basis of a colorable constitutional challenge, and, failing that it forms the basis of an excellent policy proposal.

            As for whether a transwoman can impregnate a woman, my understanding of transsexuality (which, admittedly, is limited), is that the term transsexual should properly be applied to any person who identifies themselves as such -- and thus, may include someone before they have had hormonal replacement therapy or has been chemically castrated.

            If we define transsexual more narrowly (ie, hormonally, as you describe in this post), then the sorting becomes easier, but it does create the problem that transmen will be placed in extreme eopardy of rape.

             

            •  It does (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cthulhu

              but this is where the "we need to fix the problem of rape in men's prisons" comes in.

              Thanks for the discussion :)

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 04:12:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I don't make rules for other people... (0+ / 0-)

          ...when they are very capable of speaking for themselves.  So don't put words in my mouth.

    •  Where did she claim that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina Katarina
      And yet, you claim that some "men" should be permitted to choose to be incarcerated with women, while other "men" apparently don't get this choice.

      I haven't seen her address trans men at all. In fact, other than you, the only person I see talking about trans men in this thread is me, and I said we belong in men's prisons.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:09:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Her quote was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nina Katarina
        Cook County, IL has recently changed their classification procedures as well as several other jurisdictions.  Are they all wrong and you right?

        I think the ftm should be able to choose.  But then, I'm a big believer in freedom of choice.

        So, yes, her position appears to be that transmen should be permitted to choose whether they'd like to be incarcerated with men or women, but non-transmen will not have this right.

    •  Oh, nevermind (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cthulhu, Nina Katarina

      I see it now. I disagree (and if you think it through, Robyn, I hope you'll see why): gender segregation in prisons is for the safety of women, and the presence of transitioning trans men jeopardizes that.

      We don't like to talk about trans people committing violent crimes, but the truth is that trans men are men. Trans men in prison are men in prison.

      It's easy to think of trans men as nonthreatening, harmless people when the prime examples of out trans men are people like Matt Kailey. All the 'big name' trans guys are stand-up guys, smart and feminist and gentlemanly and totally safe. And I bet most of the trans guys you know personally probably fit that mold. But, barring a grave miscarriage of justice (which happens much less often to us than it does to our sisters) one doesn't end up in prison by being a sweet, sensitive, feminist gentleman.

      There are plenty of trans men I'd want to have a choice, plenty of guys who I'm sure would conduct ourselves respectfully and decently in a women's prison. I'd be no threat. Matt Kailey, Jamison Green, Buck Angel...no question. The guys I know at school would all be fine. But then there are also a lot of cis guys who'd cause no trouble at all. Barack Obama, for instance. The problem is that Barack Obama and Jamison Green aren't the people in prison. The guys you want to give a choice to are almost certainly not such nice guys. And being born with a vagina doesn't immunize trans men against the social and physiological forces that create violence against women.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:45:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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