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.
Today, the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) was reintroduced by Congressmembers Ben Cardin and John Conyers with key, new language expanding the ban on racial profiling to include profiling based on gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Late last night Lambda Legal filed an emergency motion in federal court asking that the court compel the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to place Passion Star, a transgender woman currently incarcerated in TDCJ’s male facilities, in safekeeping to protect her from further sexual assault and threats to her life.
In anticipation of the 2015 Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a comprehensive assessment of the human rights record of all UN member countries, Lambda Legal has authored a set of UPR comments surrounding the policing, detention and incarceration of LGBT people and people living with HIV.