Today, Lambda Legal joined over two dozen local, state and national LGBT and HIV prevention groups to call on the New York City Council to pass the Right to Know Act to protect LGBT New Yorkers’ rights in police encounters.
Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) thirteen years ago in an intense, if short-lived, outbreak of bipartisan support for efforts to end sexual violence in our nation’s prisons, jails, community confinement centers and immigration detention centers.
On Thursday, June 11th, Lambda Legal learned that the Department of Justice had accepted a new letter from Texas Governor Gregory Abbott certifying that Texas would take a more serious approach to implementing the standards of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
This week, seven gay or bisexual men were dragged through an ordeal in a Missouri courtroom—exposing to complete strangers the private details of their sex lives and attempting to justify the decisions they made to engage in unsafe sex with each other.
Q: My friend is a transgender woman in a men’s prison. Last year she was raped, and I’m afraid it’ll happen again. Why can’t she be moved to a women’s prison?
Your friend would probably be much less likely to suffer sexual assault if she was housed with other women in a woman’s facility. But unlike Laverne Cox’s character in Orange is the New Black, transgender incarcerated people in the U.S. are still usually housed according to the sex assigned at birth, instead of by gender identity. This practice makes transgender people more vulnerable to harassment or attack by staff or fellow incarcerated people. A California study found that transgender people were 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-transgender people in prison.
With exactly two weeks remaining until the U.S. Justice Department’s May 15 deadline for the governors of all 50 states to confirm that their state is in compliance with the national standards set by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Lambda Legal urges Texas Governor Greg Abbott to adopt the PREA standards unconditionally and acknowledge that rape and sexual assault can no longer be accepted as part of the sentence served for any crime.
Lambda Legal has a long history of taking action to end anti-LGBT hate violence, but we also have a long history of opposing victimization of LGBT people and people living with HIV within or at the hands of the criminal justice system.