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08 November 2012

Trans in prison: Part III: to Farmer v. Brennan

Part I: to the conviction of Oscar Wilde
Part II: to Stonewall
Part III: to Farmer v. Brennan
Part IV: to the Synthia Kavanagh Human Rights Case
Part V: to the National Offender Management Service, New prison guidelines, 2011
Part VI: Comments & Bibliography


1971. Netherlands repealed its 1911 law.
1972. Lesbian activists picketed the Sybil Brand Institute, Los Angeles, where butch women/trans men were isolated in the 'Daddy Tank'. The officials modified the Daddy Tank into a dorm rather than solitary confinement, and added a few femmes to make the discrimination less obvious. (Kunzel:16).
Mattachine and Gay Activists Alliance members held a lecture and rap session with men training to be correction officers in New York City’s penal facilities. One officer-in-training observed the masculine gender presentation of the activists and noted, “I think you should have had a feminine homosexual on the panel” since “that is the kind we have to deal with mainly in here.” (Kunzel:22)
US Equal Employment Opportunity Act opened up guard positions in women's prisons to men. By the early 21st century they would have 40% of these positions. This has inevitably introduced sexual abuse by some guards.
1974. Join Hands, a San Francisco-base collective protested to a state congressional committee that homosexuality and gender non-conformity should not be reasons for indeterminate sentencing. One prisoner at the California Men's Colony, San Luis Obispa, was denied parole at the end of her sentence “solely because I expressed my intention of having sexual reassignment surgery and hormonal treatment upon release.” She was told that her parole would not be reconsidered “until I change my sexual identity.” (Kunzel: 16)
Cincinnati, Ohio. Municipal law against cross-dressing.
1975. South Australia was the first Australian State to decriminalize male homosexuality. The other States followed 1976-1990, with the exception of Tasmania which retained its anti-sodomy laws until pressurized by the Federal Government and the UN Human Rights Committee in 1997.
1970s. One of the young women in Broadmoor Psychiatric Facility sexually abused by Jimmy Savile, was released in the 1990s and became a trans man.
1976. One who identified as “a gay prisoner from Illinois” told Join Hands that she was transferred to a small male unit of a predominantly women’s institution “because I have breasts resulting from hormone treatment".(Kunzel:23)
late 1970s. "Some gay male prisoners resisted the feminizing demands of prison sexual culture, but many found the pressures of prison sexual norms and expectations overwhelming. That collision provoked frustration and anger on the part of some inmates who were forced to adjust to a sexual code that differed markedly from the one taking shape outside. Those accustomed to gay life on the street “must set aside their ‘old self ’ and make way for a new personality” on coming to prison, one inmate wrote. A California prisoner explained, “you don’t have gays here . . . . There are ‘men’ and ‘women.’ The ‘men’ are ‘straight’ and the ‘women’ are queer, punks, fags, etc. All of the labels that the gays on the out side fight against . . . . It ’s a real bummer of a trip . . . . These things merely serve to make things difficult for those who are gay and proud.” Another wrote to members of New York’s Gay Activists Alliance that in prison, “there is no such animal as a ‘Gay.’ You must be a punk, a queer, a faggot, a dicksucker . . . , a bitch, a whore — but you may not be Gay, and certainly cannot be proud!” Still another complained, “ There simply is no room in the prison environment for a man who likes other men. The only relationship that can be understood and accepted is a man and his ‘girl.’”(Kunzel: 19)
1977. Shelley Ball, convicted of the murder of a trick in Edmonton, Alberta, was recommended by the judge to have a sex-change operation. This actually happened in 1980, and she was transferred to the Kingston Penitentiary for Women. This seems to be the first ever operation for a prisoner.
1979. Spain decriminalized homosexuality.
1980. Demet Demir, Istanbul, jailed after the military coup as an activist, as was Bülent Ersoy for showing too much breast.
1982. Demet Demir, jailed again.
Dr Betty Steiner and Dr Hucker of the Toronto's Clarke Institute of Psychiatry Gender Identity Clinic wrote a report for Correctional Services of Canada that recommended that gender variant inmates be 'frozen' at the stage of feminization or masculinization that they were at when incarcerated. They were to placed in accordance with their 'anatomical structures'. Hormone treatment but not sex-reassignment surgery could be provided.
France repeals the 1942 law against sex with under-21 men.
Gloria Greaves, London, domatrix, arrested and convicted of living on the earnings of prostitution as per the Sexual Offences Act 1956.  She was sent to a women's prison for a crime that only a man can commit.
1983. One-time transgender, Frank Spisak of Cleveland, Ohio, turned serial killer, convicted and imprisoned. He would be executed in 2011 after 28 years of incarceration.
One-time trans prostitute Ottis Toole convicted in Florida of several murders.
Katherine Johnson, British Columbia,breaking & entering, attempted a self-penectomy, but it was re-attached while she was unconscious.
The San Bruno jail in San Francisco was untypical: a gay prisoner reported “every conceivable Gay subculture” was represented on the jail’s “Gay tier”: “drag queens, muscle men, preppies, post-op transsexuals, hippie queers, rednecks, leather men, clones — the gamut.” (Kunzel:18)
Shi Peipu and her lover Bernard Boursicot were both sentenced in Paris to 6 months for espionage.
1985. Belinda Joelle Smith, correctional officer in Jacksonville, Florida, fired for dressing as female off the job. 1991, now post-op and with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the city but lost on the ground that, as a known transsexual, she would not be able to command the respect of co-workers and inmates. However, on appeal the next year, the ruling went in her favor in that ‘transsexualism’ is a handicap under the Florida Human Rights Act. She was awarded reinstatement, back pay and legal costs.
1986. Surgeon John Brown spent 19 months in jail for practising medicine without a license.
Len Clemmensen (later to be known as Maxine Petersen) presented a Masters thesis, Male gender dysphoria and criminality, at the University of Toronto. It found an incidence of criminal activity among gender patients 10x of the general population.
Bowers v. Hardwick. US Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutional protection of sexual privacy. This would stand until Lawence v. Texas in 2003.
New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Act decriminalised sexual activity between men over the age of 16.
1987. Organist Wilhelmina Tiemersma, Montréal, set fire to the Church of the Messiah, and 2 firefighters died. She served three years and two months in a women’s prison for criminal negligence causing death.
Kalani Key, 3 years for assault with a deadly weapon, was sent to Vacaville: "There were 150 of us transgender girls there. Vacaville was designed for trans women – we were not mixed with the regular men in the prison. We were all in Category “B,” which was for “effeminate homosexual.” We were housed together, had access to bras, hormones, and make-up; make-up companies would even come into the prison to test make-up on us, and usually we had female officers dealing with us. I finally felt that this was where I belonged, because I was surrounded by women like me – and I didn’t have that on the outside. I also fell in love with a man named Bruce, who ran with the (Mexican gang) Norteños, and I was actually quite happy. There were still problems though. There were a lot of blind spots there. A lot of girls were taken into dark corners and raped, but a lot of consensual sex happened too. Most of us had relationships in there; the correctional staff really pushed the girls to have relationships so they weren’t running around. And many of the relationships were abusive. There are some men that are very aggressive and very pushy. And if you don’t have a way of protecting yourself – fighting, or having people you can go to – then you are just left out there alone. But we were unified, and we would always come together and deal with whatever situation arose. We felt like we ran the prison."
1989. Elizabeth Carmichael, convicted in Dallas of grand theft, and re-apprehended after fleeing, was sent to a a men's prison in California.
1990. Brazilian Fernanda de Albuquerque was convicted in Italy of the attempted murder of a woman who had stolen her money. She served 5 years in Rome's Rebibbia prison for men, where she met Maurizio Jannelli of the Brigate Rosse, who helped her write her autobiography, which was filmed as Princessa, 2001.
1990-3. Teenage Monica León, repeatedly imprisoned for sexual orientation and gender, and for not providing sexual services to police officers in Salta, Argentina.
1991. Stephanie Anne Booth sold own-made videos without certificates from the British Board of Film Classification. She was fined ₤6,000 and sentenced to a year in prison, which she served in a women’s open prison near York. She was released on appeal three months later.
Richard Masbruch convicted in Texas for theft and burglary with the intent to commit a sexual assault. He was raped in prison and attempted to castrate himself.
Demet Demir, jailed again, with torture.
Hong Kong legalized homosexuality, just before being returned to China
1992. Kalani Key, returned to prison on a grand theft conviction: "I thought I was going back to the same prison, but I got the shock of my life when I learned they’d gotten rid of the Category “B,” and trans girls were dispersed all over the state. They sent me to Jamestown, which is up in the mountains, near Yosemite. They had never had a girl in the yard. When I got off the bus, the lieutenant took one look at me and said, 'Oh no. Get that thing back on the bus.' But in the end they had to take me. They wanted me to go into protective custody because I looked like a female and they didn’t want me in the yard. But I knew the system. I refused to sign the paper putting me in “protective custody.” That’s where they put all the child molesters, and I didn’t want to be with them. So they stuck me in the general population area (no cells – just one big open space) but they put my cot in front of the officer’s desk, and told me I couldn’t move more than four feet in any direction."
1993. Former corrections officer, Michelle Kosilek convicted of killing wife three years before. Sent to men's prison in Norfolk, Massachusetts. where able to get hormones and laser hair removal.
Richard Masbruch convicted in California of rape, robbery and torture. Sentenced to life in prison, but first returned to Texas to complete his sentence there.
Russia. Homosexuality decriminalized, death penalty removed, under pressure from the Council of Europe.
1994. Farmer v. Brennan. Dee Farmer, Baltimore, 48 years for credit-card fraud, was incarcerated with the general male population at USP Terre Haute, Indiana, and her hormones were stopped. Within a week she was raped at knife-point. She sued the wardens, and case went to the US Supreme Court where it was ruled that "it was the responsibility of prison officials to prevent prisoners from harming each other, to the point where prison officials who were 'deliberately indifferent' were ruled liable under the Eighth Amendment". However three months later the judge in the lower court ruled that the Supreme Court judgement did not apply as the prison officials would not know that it would happen..
At the Gendys Conference, Richard Green gave a talk on the US situation which was summarized:
"As with anyone else, transsexuals have been sent to prison for a variety of crimes, including homicide and armed robbery. Professor Green outlined the questions that arise. If pre-operative, at least genitally, should the prisoners be held with persons of their birth sex or their aspired-for sex? Prisoners generally - particularly males - are vulnerable to sexual victimisation. The prospect of abuse is great for transsexuals. They will closely approximate the sex of which other prisoners are deprived. Further there are the issues of medical treatment, the continuation of hormonal therapy and possibly reconstructive surgery. The United State's Supreme Court has held that prisoners with a psychological and medical condition must get some treatment, otherwise the eighth amendment to the Constitution would be violated. This amendment guards against cruel and unusual punishment. Just what that treatment should be, becomes problematic - the Supreme Court standard is what is called "deliberate indifference" to serious medical needs. Based on current decisions in the US, there is no constitutional right to receive oestrogen, to be transferred to a woman's prison, or to receive sex reassignment surgery, provided that treatment of some sort is available. Some prison treatments have been bizarre. One prisoner, denied oestrogen, implemented partial self-castration. The prison service completed removal of the testes and then agreed to administer sex hormones. However male hormones were given. Remarkably, this treatment was upheld as constitutional because it was not a total failure to provide medical attention. However, a court ordered another prison to administer female hormones to a prisoner who had lived as a woman for four years previously. "

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