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.
A September 2014 NPR special on transgender families that featured Robina Asti, a 94-year-old transgender woman who worked with Lambda Legal to successfully challenge the Social Security Administration, has won a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.
Today, March 31, is the 6th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, when we celebrate those who have worked to elevate the powerful experiences of transgender people. Lambda Legal is proud to announce that Crispin Torres, Community Educator in Lambda Legal’s Midwestern Regional Office, has been named to the Trans 100.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”) announced that today it will place Lambda Legal client Passion Star in Safekeeping as had been requested in an emergency motion filed earlier this month to protect her from further sexual assault and threats to her life. Passion Star is a transgender woman currently incarcerated in a TDCJ male facility.
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.
The recent tragedy involving two transgender women of color in Orange County, CA – the death of Katya De La Riva and arrest of Valeria De La Luz for allegedly giving Katya silicone injections that authorities claim caused Katya’s death -- surfaces many of the issues faced by transgender people, and especially by low-income and immigrant transgender women of color – issues of acceptance, identity, discrimination, and transphobia.