Prison is a place that most people would like to avoid but some do end up incarcerated. The prison experience is especially difficult for transgender inmates as they are frequently placed in prisons that correspond to their biological sex rather than gender identity. However, thanks to the results of a recent lawsuit, Illinois prison workers will now be required to be trained on transgender issues, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The lawsuit involved a transgender inmate, Deon "Strawberry" Hampton, who is suing the Illinois Department of Corrections because she feels that she has been mistreated in the multiple men's prisons she has been incarcerated in. She has repeatedly asked to be transferred to a women's prison as she thinks that she would be safer there, but such a request is very infrequently granted.
In the men's prisons she's been in, she said that she was sexually abused multiple times. Some instances of the abuse include a prison guard pulling down her pants and asking her what genitals she has, was forced to have sex with another inmate for the enjoyment of the guards, and was forced to have sex with a member of the prison staff. She and her cellmate were threatened with death if they spoke out against the abuse. She has also been sexually abused by other inmates.
Strawberry has identified as female since the age of five and has been on hormones since 2016 to shrink her muscles and male anatomy to appear more female. Doctors have said that her testosterone levels closely resembles that of a surgically castrated male's.
By now we have all probably heard about Trump's redefinition of gender, in which one's gender is determined by birth genitalia. In conjunction with the potential redefining, the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender inmates in May, the result being that transgender inmates are assigned to prisons that match their biological sex.
Now that the lawsuits that Strawberry filed have been solved, prison workers in Illinois will be trained in dealing with transgender inmates and the unique issues that transgender people face in general. By having this training, I hope that other states will follow suit and require this for all prisons across the nation, as nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted.
h/t: Chicago Tribune