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.
Tomorrow, the Texas state House of Representatives will consider HB 4105, a bill which would bar local and state officials from granting, enforcing or recognizing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, and further prohibit public funds from being used to do so. The bill puts Texas in a precarious place by inviting Indiana-style backlash, and if passed, would enshrine discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Texas state law.
Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued a ruling that’s great news for same-sex couples (and all married couples) seeking to use assisted reproductive technology (ART) as part of their family planning. In Adoption of a Minor (brought by Patience Crozier of Kauffman Crozier LLP and supported by an Amicus brief developed by our friends and partners at GLAD in Boston and signed by Lambda Legal and a broad range of LGBT legal organizations, family law attorneys, and ART groups), the court unanimously clarified that a married same-sex couple are the sole legal parents of children born into their marriage using donated sperm and that they did not need to give notice to the donor before securing their parental rights through adoption.
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 marked May 1st, International Worker’s Day, with a call for supporting efforts to bring visibility to LGBT immigrants, especially those who are undocumented. Francisco Dueñas, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Proyecto Igualdad, and Carmina Ocampo, Lambda Legal’s lead attorney on immigrants’ rights issues, issued the following statement: