Convicted serial killer Donald “Donna” Perry, now serving time in a women’s prison

On Friday, the Trump administration issued changes to controversial Obama-era guidance on placement of transgender prisoners.  Previous guidance prioritized the sexual rights of male offenders, allowing them to “identify as” female and be transferred to the female division, eliminating women’s longstanding international human rights to be incarcerated separately from males.

The new changes reestablish the sex-based rights of female prisoners to be housed in separate accommodations from males when confined by the state. Women’s basic rights to privacy from male inmates in vulnerable conditions of incarceration including sleeping, showering, and toileting were also acknowledged.

The Female Offender Branch of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is tasked with implementing transgender policies, was re-named the “Women and Special Populations Branch”.

The agency will now use biological sex, not an inmate’s declared gender feelings, as the initial determination for placement of individuals who identify as transgender. Transgender inmates may still be transferred to opposite sex facilities under certain conditions, namely after significant medical and mental health “treatment”.  From the new guidance:

“The designation to a facility of the inmate’s identified gender would be appropriate only in rare

cases after consideration of all of the above factors and where there has been significant progress

towards transition as demonstrated by medical and mental health history.”

Basic changes in this section here.

Click here for full PDF of guidance:

https://www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5200-04-cn-1.pdf

The policy changes were first reported by Buzzfeed, which ran the headline: ‘The Trump Admin Just Rolled Back Protections For Transgender Prisoners’

Of course, this isn’t true. For women who identify as transgender (“transmen”) the Obama era guidance did not protect them. It put them at great risk as females potentially transferred to male prisons. There are ZERO transgender people born FEMALE who were “protected” by the Obama era guidance. ZERO.

But much like the Obama administration, the boys at Buzzfeed completely disregard the welfare, rights, and safety of the female half of the human population, including those who identify as transgender.

You can see this male bias in all the left and LGBT headlines regarding these changes. The welfare of all female inmates, including those who identify as transmen, is completely disregarded and ignored.

The Hill: ‘Trump rolls back rules protecting transgender inmates in federal prisons’

Pink News: ‘Trump rolls back protections for trans prisoners’

Chicago Sun Times: ‘Trump rolls back some Obama rules helping transgender prisoners’

LGBTQ Nation: ‘Trump strips transgender prisoners of protections against rape and abuse’

Common Dreams: ‘Absolutely Unconscionable: Trump Rolls Back Rules Protecting Transgender Inmates From Sexual Assault.’

And on and on and on.

Law professor Betsy Ginsberg. (twitter)

Lambda Legal, the former Gay Rights org that has been championing the rights of men to be housed in women’s prisons, issued a statement that is remarkable for its complete and utter disregard of the existence of female human beings, including those who identify as transgender:

In Rescinding Transgender Prisoner Protections, Trump Administration Again Targets the Most Vulnerable

By

Lambda Legal

MAY 11, 2018

 Today, the Trump Administration released changes to the federal Bureau of Prisons Transgender Offender Manual that undercuts constitutional protections and efforts in federal law – specifically the Prison Rape Enforcement Act (PREA) – to protect all prisoners from sexual assault and violence.

Richard Saenz, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney and Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist, releases the following statement:

“Once again, the Trump Administration is turning its back on those most vulnerable. It is well established that transgender prisoners – particularly transgender women housed in men’s facilities – suffer much greater rates of sexual abuse than other prison populations.

“A California study found that when transgender women are housed with men, they are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than male prisoners in the same facilities.

“Conversely, it is increasingly common for correctional facilities to house transgender people consistent with their gender identity, and agencies have made these placements without experiencing any increase in abusive incidents or security risks.

“There is no justification for this policy shift; it is a deliberate recipe for violence against transgender people based in inexcusable prejudice.”

Truly remarkable.

Incidentally, that “13 times” figure you see bandied about originates from a 2007 California survey featuring a male transgender sample size of 39 individuals. THIRTY NINE individuals from ELEVEN YEARS AGO. “Transgender Sample -Not designed to generalize to larger populations” the study warns.

So Lambda Legal- the premiere authority and lobby group pushing for these policies- is citing completely worthless “data”. The National Center For Trans Equality uses the same study. So does the National Institute of Corrections [pdf]. But if you believe that figure you may as well also cite these, contained in the same study [PDF]: Men who are gay or bisexual suffer sexual assault in prison at 33 times the rate of heterosexuals. Small stature and mental illness are the greatest predictors of male prisoner vulnerability to sexual assault.

What is Lambda Legal doing about THAT? Not a damn thing. This isn’t about preventing sexual assaults of vulnerable males.

The male powers-that-be on the left keep pretending they’re trying to “solve” the issue of male violence: by subjecting women to more of it. It never works. It just harms women. (You know, women- the unmentionable half of the population not worthy of consideration except as a trash receptacle for men’s problems). Take a memo, fellas: if you think “MeToo” has been a “moment”, you haven’t seen the start of it.

Sister Outrider

This post is the second in a series of essays on sex, gender, and sexuality. The first is available here. I have written about lesbian erasure because I refuse to be rendered invisible. By raising my voice in dissent, I seek to offer both a degree of recognition to other lesbian women and active resistance to any political framework – het or queer – that insists lesbians are a dying breed. If women loving and prioritising other women is a threat to your politics, I can guarantee you are a part of the problem and not the solution.

Dedicated to SJ, who makes me proud to be a lesbian. Your kindness brightens my world.


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