Being Transgender in Prison

Robert contacted me, frantic. His fiancée, Paula, is currently serving time in a southern state prison, and has so far served four months of what could be a thirty-six month sentence. Paula is a transgender woman. But Paula was placed in an all male prison to serve out her sentence.

Paula called Robert from prison. He didn’t recognize the number. She was calling from the detective’s office. Crying and inconsolable, she told Robert an inmate “took advantage” of her. Distraught, Robert asked her if she has been raped and she said “yes,” by one of her cellmates.

The calls since then have been about Paula’s hopelessness and her fear of the guards, as well as the other inmates. Robert is frustrated that no one is fighting for her.

“She is not human to them. The guards all call her “‘it,'” he said. “It’s not fair, it’s not right.”

Robert is a graduate student getting a PhD in Chemistry, and a second year business student. He said,”I can’t defend her, I can’t protect her. No one is defending her rights because she is trans,” he said with frustration. “The guards,” he feels,”are allowing my transgender girlfriend to be abused and assaulted while she is serving time in jail for a violation of probation.”

This a serious issue many transgender people face – being threatened, abused, beaten and even raped in prison.

Please share the full article, available on HuffingtonPost: Being Transgender in Prison

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