This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

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27 November 2012

Thomas Walker (1842 - ?) ship's steward, porter, barman

++ Nov 2012, added material from Feòrag NicBhrìde's article.  Shorter version previously published here in June 2008.  Thank you very much Feòrag for your excellent newspaper research.

Mary Anne Walker was raised in Hertfordshire.  Her father Henry Walker was a farmer and landowner, although later in 1853 he became the licensee of a large pub in Westminster, probably The Three Johns in Little Park Street. Mary Anne had been to a first-class boarding school, and was an adept pianist.  She worked in the family pub, and "She showed a fondness for wearing male attire, first by adorning herself with a waitcoat, turn-down collar, fancy tie, and a sort of semi 'Chesterfield', and ultimately she took to the entire paraphenalia of dress adopted by the male sex, and absconded from her home". 

Henry Walker died in 1860.  The three daughters suddenly needed to find work.  One of her sisters found work as a housekeeper for a nobleman, and the other as a governess.  Mary became male full time.  He worked as a porter at Jesus College, Cambridge,  and then as  booking clerk with the London and North-Western Railway, and then an engine cleaner for the Great Northern Railway at King's Cross Station.   He worked two years as a ship's steward for the Cunard Line. He had also worked as a dock labourer and as a light porter at a cheesemongers in London.  He used the names John Walker or John Turner.   Throughout this time Walker's aunt  made repeated but ineffectual attempts to reclaim her.

In 1867, using the name Thomas Walker, he was a barman in Royal Mortar Tavern in the London Road, Southwark.  He was accused of stealing monies in that marked coins were found in his possession. 

Walker was remanded.  The gaoler described Walker: a full masculine face, rather sunburnt, hair cut short and slightly curled and with a masculine voice. No-one at the prison thought they had anything other than a young man in their custody, until he was ordered to take a bath, whereupon he confessed to being female.

 Arthur Munby describes Thomas' appearance in the dock:
"a bluff and brawny young man, of four or five and twenty ... rough dark hair, short as a man's, and evidently worn in a man's fashion for a long time past. Her head was bare, and so was her strong bull neck: about the waist she wore nothing but a blue sailor's shirt, with the sleeves partly rolled up. Standing there, with broad shoulders squared and stout arms folded on the dock rail, she seemed just such a fellow as one may see drawing beer at an alehouse, or lounging about a seaport town; and it was almost impossible to believe that she was a man".

For subsequent court appearances Walker was compelled into a women's blue striped prison uniform, in which he was clearly uncomfortable.  The cheesemonger's son appeared to also accuse Walker of absconding with £30 (close to a year's wages).  Other evidence was presented:  a fiancée, Rosina, who visited him in prison, another fiancée who had had banns read in the local church causing him to flee, and a previous employment as a barmaid when she had been fired on suspicion of being a man.

Walker plead guilty to the two charges of embezzlement, and was sentenced to three month's imprisonment with hard labour.  While he was in prison, another 'female barman' was discovered.  Named as 'Jane Dixon, he had been working at the Jamaica Tavern in Sunderland for two years.

After release Walker was sent to the Elizabeth Fry Refuge in Hackney, but was rejected because of his male appearance.  Using the name Charles Arnold, he obtained work with the Great Western Railway, loading and unloading goods wagons.  One day he fell ill and his landlady sought to help by applying a mustard plaster to his chest.  Although she said that she would not tell anybody, he left the next morning, taking the property of some of the other porters.

In March 1868 Walker, busking, was arrested and charged with placing herself in a public thoroughfare, called Cable-street, Whitechapel, for the purpose of asking and collecting alms.  He was sent to the workhouse in St George-in-the-East.

However three months later he was being advertised as "Mary Walker, the Female Barman" at the Duke's Head in Norton Folgate, where he had a 12-month contract. However in August, the licensee of the pub, after a comment by Walker that was probably misconstrued, first ordered Walker to leave and then punched him in the chest when he attempted to do so.  At the subsequent court case it was ruled that the punch was not enough to be considered assault, and not enough reason to break the contract.

However the court summons that the contract be completed was later withdrawn and in November Walker sang on stage at the Marylebone Music Hall:
"She was dressed in men's clothes, and gave a sort of auto-biographical recitation to the tune of "Champagne Charley," and made a second appearance in naval uniform, and sang another song. The people were, of course, delighted to gaze upon one who has attracted so much attention, and their applause must be regarded as an expression of their pleasure at having curiosity gratified, rather than as a token of their admiration of the performer's abilities as a vocalist."
in 1870, Thomas was working as a barman at a pub in Shoreditch where it was hoped that his celebrity would bring in custom. However they became estranged over a sum of £3 10s, and the case went to court.  The publicity from this resulted in the landlord being unable to complete the transfer of his license as teh Bench felt that "they would be recognising a very immoral act if they were to grant the transfer". 

In later years Walker appeared in other towns, usually working as a barman, and often advertising for such such work: "Miss Mary Walker, the world-renowned Female Barman, begs to inform Publicans &c., she is now open to an Engagement. Terms moderate. Highest references given."  He was in Manchester in 1876, Halifax in 1877, Sheffield, Leeds and Lincoln in 1880, Leicester in 1884 (where he was mentioned in a licence renewal hearing for the Robin Hood Vaults on Gallowtreegate), Derby and possibly Colchester in 1887.  Then Harlepool and Aldershot the next year.  The last mention seems to be Derby again in 1890.

Thomas was immortalized in the ballad, She-he Barman of Southwark:
You bonny lads and lasses gay,
Who like a bit of chaff,
I'll tell you of a She He Barman,
And I'm sure 'will make you laugh.
She did not like the petticoats,
So she slipped the trousers on,
She engaged herself as a barman,
And said her name was Tom.

At the Royal Mortar Tavern, London Road,
She served the customers all round,
The She He Barman was engaged
By Mr Frederick Brown,

She popped around the bar like steam,
The girls and chaps did wink,
When they went in for a drop of gin,
But little did they think.
That Tommy Walker was a maid,
When they together met,
Last night a costermonger said,
Who'd thought Tom's name was Bet.

In the morning she put on her shirt,
Her trousers, coat, and boots,
She He Tommy Walker
A regular swell did look;
She could drink a little drop of stout,
And smoke a mild cigar,
Tommy Walker, the female barman,
Was a clever chap, oh ! la!

She had neither beard or moustache,
And her belly was not big,
But Tom the He She barman
Turned out to be a prig;
She nailed the sixpences and shillings,
And she prigged the half-a-crown;
She three months was Tom the barman
At Mr Frederick Brown's.

She Tom had been a sailor,
Two years upon the main,
She was dropped from the Royal Mortar,
On board the ship Horsemonger Lane
Three years she doffed the petticoats,
And put the trousers on,
She served behind the counter,
And the people called her Tom.

For years she plough'd the ocean,
As steward of a ship,
She used to make the captain's bed,
Drink grog and make his flip.
She could go aloft so manfully,
This female sailor Jack,
But if she slept with a messmate,
Why of course she turned her back.

Now tired of a sailor's life,
She thought she'd be a star,
She got a crib at Mr. Brown's,
To serve behind the bar,
This pretty female barman—
Her modesty don't shock—
It is better than handling of the ropes,
To be turning on the cocks.

If you'd seen her take them in her hand,
You'd have said she was a caulker,
So nicely she handled them—
She said her name was Walker.
To see her put on a butt of beer,
And when the brewers come,
She nicely drove the spigot in,
And then out came the bung.

The ladies like the trousers,
Of that there is no doubt.
Many would be a barman,
But fear they'd be found out.
Tom was not a handsome female,
She too long had been, adrift,
Since she put on the Gurnsey,
And chucked away her shift,
*Not the crossdressing female doctor in the US also called Mary Walker.

25 November 2012

Washington yachting party, 1950

In the late 1940s and for a long time afterwards there were no reliable guides for gays and trans.  In the US the closest were a series of books by Hearst newspaper reporters Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer: New York Confidential, 1948 (which sort of became a film in 1955), Chicago Confidential, 1950, and Washington Confidential, 1951 and U.S.A Confidential, 1952.  These book were somewhere between exposé and travel guide, and provide no footnotes or sources for their claims.

The Washington edition makes the following claim:
“Black Washington has its share of deviates, too.
During the summer, groups of colored fairies make up "yachting" parties and cruise the Potomac on the steamer Robert E. Lee. One Saturday night, last summer, over 100 cops were dispatched to the docks when the "Society of Female Impersonators" was to have a midnight sail. They found one thousand seven hundred Negro men, all dressed as women, on the boat, and as many more trying to get on. A riot was in the making, but the cops busted it up and kept it quiet when they hauled away two wagon loads. The ship finally got off at 2 A.M. . . .”
1,700 on the boat, and as many more trying to get on!!!

I can find no confirmation of this anecdote in GLBT histories of Washington.   I am inclined to reject the tale as a fabulation based on the improbable large numbers alone.

It would seem to be a sarcastic touch by the authors to put a negro (that being the term then used) outing on a ship named for the prominent Confederate General.   There was a steamship with that name.  But it sailed on the Mississippi, not on the Potomac.

The practice of cops seizing a random sample at a a gay event, and then leaving, was actually a common practice.

  • Passage cited on page 277 in Neil Miller. Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

23 November 2012

The ebb and flow of social constructions

There is a misconception by some of those who prefer biologistic or even essentialist explanations that they therefore should reject social construction explanations.  For over 150 years now various writers have been proposing that homosexuality, transvestity and/or transsexuality are caused by some mixture of genetics and pre-natal experience, and for 150 years of effort very little has been established, especially in identifying which factors might make someone gay rather than trans or vice versa.  Every now and then some suggestive aspect of brain anatomy/chemistry such as H-Y Antigens or BTSc neurons is accepted uncritically as an explanation.  However these never seem to move on any next stage so that gender variance is as well explained as say autism or schizophrenia, or be developed to be used as a test,  and indeed attempts at replication of the original results by other scientists often fail.

Biologistic explanations have two serious weaknesses.  They cannot explain the dramatic increase in the percentage of us who are trans.  Add up all the known trans people in the entire nineteenth century and you have fewer than the transsexuals who are the newspapers in any one year in the 21st century.

Secondly biologistic factors do not at all explain the cultural changes of how trans persons are perceived and what options are available to trans persons at any time.  The biology was presumably similar for Lavinia Edwards in 1833, Charlotte Charlaque in 1930, Norma Jackson in 1931, Christine Jorgensen in 1953, Bibíana Fernández in 1977 and Jin Xing in 1995, but the social constructions in which they lived have changed enormously.

In the mid 19th century, a person whom we would now regard as transsexual was regarded as an invert, a category that also included what we now regard as homosexual.  In fact the first usage of the concept of a female trapped in a male body, anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa, was to explain male homosexuality.
In the mid 20th century persons like Jorgenson were generally described as transvestists, before the term ‘transsexual’ came into use.

Let us take a small double wave in the sea of social construction.

The HSTS/Autogynephilia distinction was developed by Kurt Freund at what was then the Clarke Institute of Psychology Gender Identity Clinic, and appears in that institute’s Gender Dysphoria: Development, Research, Management 1985, edited by Betty W. Steiner - although different terms are used.   Freund’s protégé and eventual replacement,  Ray Blanchard took the idea and renamed it with the terms that we now use.  Blanchard published papers in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (edited by Richard Green until 2001, and then by Kenneth Zucker) and similar journals that were not read by most trans persons.  However one who did and proclaimed herself to be an autogynephile, was Anne Lawrence who studied for a PhD at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality at San Francisco.  Michael Bailey was one of her thesis advisors.  Speculations continue as to which influenced the other more.  In 2003 Bailey published The Man Who Would Be Queen, and the concept became a public controversy.

Willow Arune, Lisanne Anderson and others set up the Autogynephilia Yahoo group, and a small but significant number of trans women self-identified as autogynephiles.   The group was apparently destroyed by Jennifer Usher manipulating the Yahoo complaints policy.

There were fewer trans women self-identifying as HSTS (homosexual transsexuals).   The most prominent was Kiira Triea, which was odd in that she had previously identified as a lesbian intersex.  She was the prime mover behind  Others involved included Jennifer Ross, Hontas Farmer and Heike Bödeker none of whom still speaks up for HSTS.

Very shortly afterwards, in 2005, Charlotte Goiar met Diane Kearny online, and then they split and founded two competing groups both using the term Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS).  The term had been proposed by Tom Reucher a decade before, but they turned its meaning upside down by applying it to emotions that had been previously expressed by Betty Cowell and Margaret O’Hartigan. The concern here is that most HBS advocates took up the term ‘autogynephile’  (Rose White, the author of the only book on HBS says rather ‘autogyne’ instead implying that she does not properly understand the concept).  It was stated in the short-lived HBS-written Wikipedia page on HBS that non-HBS MTF persons who have gender surgery were either autogynephiles or possibly gay men (no self-identified HSTS woman has ever claimed to be  or to have previously been a gay man).  Kearny claimed that non-HBS transsexuals were autogynephiles and fetishists.  The vast majority of trans women who do not fit these categories were defined out of existence, just as in the Freund-Blanchard-Bailey schema the same vast majority also disappears.

By syllogistic logic, HSTS = not autogynephile = HBS.  However this never worked psychologically.   A small number of HBS persons, could, if you force the HSTS/AGP dichotomy, be considered HSTS.  Diane Kearny who transitioned relatively early and later married a man, is the best candidate.   However most HBSers were first husbands and fathers, and transitioned only later. Thus if we force the dichotomy they would be AGP. Examples include Joanne Proctor, Tabatha Basco, Jennifer Usher, Cathryn Platine.  Rose White’s accounts of her life exclude what she did between the ages of 14 and 57, and it seems reasonable to assume that she fits here also.

The link between autogynephile and HBS was kept alive by the mutual antipathyof Willow Arune and Jennifer Usher across various Usenet fora.

In 2009 the Transkids site was revived by Kay Brown, the author of Transsexual, Transgender, and Intersex History, writing as Cloudy. She also started a blog: On the Science of Changing Sex.  "I slept through the controversy surrounding the publication of The Man Who Would Be Queen. ... Prof. Bailey graciously gave me access to an online version of the book and I read it from front to back in nearly one sitting. Although I disagreed with several minor points, I felt I could have written the book myself. I agreed with each and every major point. Who wouldn't, if they knew what I know."

Of course the problem with HSTS is that it means ‘homosexual transsexual’, which is a confusing term for women who are mainly heterosexual (some are non-sexual).  It is also a very rude term in that it defines a trans women’s orientation by her birth gender.  There have been attempts to make Blanchard’s system less rude by proposing alternate terms, usually that HSTS should be called by the neutral term ‘androphilic’.  Alice Novic also proposed the terms Love-to-be-femme and Act-femme for AGP and HSTS respectively.  However these terms have not caught on.

The insistence on the term HSTS has kept away those HBSers who might have adopted it and also many others (myself included, even though unlike Triea and Brown, I am a graduate of gay lib).   The site includes a page strongly insisting that HSTS and not androphilic is the right term.  Kay Brown/Cloudy continues the insistence in her FAQ:   “Transsexuals with this etiology are most often called, “homosexual transsexuals” (HSTS) or “early onset” in the scientific literature.  (This does not imply that they act like, nor identify, as “homosexual”.  It only means that they are sexually and affectionally attracted to the same natal sex.)” And goes on to refer to AGPs as non-homosexuals.   This is the same Kay Brown who in her Transsexual, Transgender, and Intersex History was critical of Harry Benjamin for using the term ‘male transsexual’ for a trans woman.

Anyway the tents are rolled up, and the circus has almost left town. 
  • The Kearny web site and forum are derelict sites.
  • The Goiar web site stands, but the forum has become inactive.
  • The Rose White book caused such embarrassment that most HBS-ers declined to even mention it.  There has not been a second HBS book from anybody else.
  • TS-Si which was initially proudly HBS, later removed the term and denied being HBS, and has now closed.
  • Suzan Cooke, who initially labelled Women Born Transsexual an HBS site, later realized that she did not really identify with the HBSers and removed the label.
  • In 2009 various HBSers wrote pages for the English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Simple Wikipedias, but were unable/refused to include critical opinions, give a history of HBS or support their claims.
  • Alice Novic has removed almost all content from her web site.
  • Cathryn Platine has announced that all “trans themed blog entries“ have been removed from
  • Joanne Proctor and Tiira Triea are no longer with us.

Charlotte Goiar, who is the youngest person mentioned here, is now 40.  I don’t think that I have seen any enthusiasm for either HSTS/AGP or HBS among persons under 40. Their time is over

14 November 2012

Trans in Prison: Part VI: Comments & Bibliography

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

Prison, like sports (which I documented in August) is predicated on the gender binary only more so than normal life. Thus the existence of trans and intersex persons presents a problem that both of them attempted for a long time to ignore, but are now having to come to terms with.

This is a large topic, and I am sure that I have missed much, especially in non-English-speaking countries.

Prisoner is of course a term encompassing much variety. Some prisoners are in for nasty crimes, others for petty crimes that result from living as trans but unable to get any legal form of work. Others, more so in earlier years, are simply charged either with transvesting or with homosexuality.

It did seem for a while, with the pioneering examples of Shelly Ball and Synthia Kavanagh, that Canada was leading the world on the issue of trans in prisons. However Katherine Johnson was in the same prisons at the same time, and was unable to get treatment. Canada's lead was an illusion without substance, and the reactionary government of Stephen Harper (2006-15) cut off all funding.

Judges and prison administrators have 6 options re convicted trans persons:
  1. Locate them as per birth gender, ignore their current appearance and genitals, and put them in with the general population and ignore whatever abuse happens. This was common practice until fairly recently.
  2. Locate them as per their current genitals. Most North American and European prisons are now doing this. This allows post-operative women to go to women's prisons and allows trans men without phalloplasty to also go to women's prisons. However pre-op and non-op trans women are put at great risk of being abused. The young and the poor are very likely to be in this last group.
  3. Create separate wings or even separate prisons for trans (and possibly gay) prisoners. In the US this has evolved at Vacaville, Rikers Island and the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, although both of the former two were discontinued in 2005. It will be interesting to see what happens with the trans-only prison at Emploi in Tuscany.
  4. Put trans prisoners, who elect or who complain of being raped, in 23-hour-per-day lockdown solitary confinement. Such confinement is mainly intended as punishment for violent prisoners and understandably trans prisoners put up with being raped rather than opt for this alternative. This is the policy at Rikers Island since 2005.
  5. To not send convicted trans person to jail unless their crime is very serious. This option was being followed by judges in the UK until the New Prison Guidelines came out last year. Not surprisingly writers for The Daily Mail were having conniptions over the practice.
  6. Locate them as per legal gender. The England & Wales: National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice issued New prison guidelines is an amazing step forward. Genitals are not to be checked. If the inmate is unable to produce a revised birth certificate or a Gender Recognition Certificate, the Gender Recognition Panel may be consulted. As per the stated fear of some that the cis women inmates could be at risk, the Guidelines carefully state: "There are some women who are guilty of violent crimes against other women and are still managed safely in the female estate. Any transsexual women with a gender recognition certificate who pose similar risks should be managed in a similar way in the female estate." Young transsexuals who have not yet applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate will have difficulty in being designated as female, but non-acceptance for NHS surgery and/or being unable to afford private surgery will not have to go to a male prison for that reason. At the same time the Guidelines allow trans men to choose to be in a women's prison. So far this approach is in England and Wales only. The non-imprisonment that was upsetting The Daily Mail has ended. This approach can easily be adopted by countries with Gender Recognition Laws: Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and probably also countries like Germany and Sweden. However it cannot be adopted where legal gender is provincially defined. We saw in the case of Tania Veilleux that Quebec's recognition of her gender was not honoured by the national Correctional Service of Canada.
Some feminist organizations have been getting in a tizzy about killers and abusers of women being put in women's prisons. There is a superficial argument for this in that the early examples of trans prisoners being given surgery and transferred have been John Pilley, Maddison Hall, Sherri Masbruch and Michelle Kosilek. One would have thought that the prison authorities would have experimented with inmates without a conviction of violence first, and considered these candidates only later. That is of course if they were sincere in wanting a program of surgery and transfer to actually work. However if they hold the program in contempt and want it to fail, then these are ideal inmates to start the program with. It is of course true that short-term convicts are less likely to apply for surgery and transfer: their aim is to get out of prison as soon as possible and get on with their transition. In general non-violent convicts get shorter sentences. However Deirdre Farmer got 38 years for passing bad cheques.

In addition, as mentioned in (6) above: "There are some women who are guilty of violent crimes against other women and are still managed safely in the female estate." Some cis women are as much a threat to other women as Pilley, Hall, Masbruch and Kosilek.

I included a few items about cis women being raped by male guards. As a feminist, and as a human being, I think that it is appalling that there are male guards in women's prisons. 95% of inmates are male, and so male guards do not need to be in female prisons for their career development. The frequency of cis women prisoners being raped by male guards is a serious problem, and statistically is enormously higher than being raped by a trans woman. I google searched GenderTrender for this topic and found absolutely nothing. What do we make of that?

The US is the first county to count more rapes of men than of women. However it is very unlikely to be the only one. We certainly have no statistics on prison rape in say Brazil or Turkey. So kudos to the US for starting to discuss the problem.

It was accepted in the 19th century that cis women should be segregated from male prisoners, especially as male prisoners are so more numerous. Cis women being absent, the more aggressive and horny of the men are willing to use trans women instead, and of course trans women should either be segregated (but not in solitary confinement) or in women's prisons. That will help trans women, but of course will not solve the problem of prison rape. Without either cis or trans women, certain male prisoners, the slightly-built, the better looking, the presumed to be gay, are designated as pseudo-women and compelled into sexual slavery. With will and the co-operation of the guards this problem can be much reduced. I could not find any reliable statistics, but it seems that the problem is much less in Europe than in the US. However with the current trend to privatization the odds of the problem being solved are much reduced as it is cheaper to do nothing.

13 November 2012

Trans in Prison: Part V: to the National Offender Management Service, New prison guidelines, 2011

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

2000. Cis woman Marilyn Shirley, drug possession, Federal Medical Center at Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, was raped by a senior prison officer. She manage to hide her semen-stained sweatpants until she was released, and they were evidence. Officer Michael Miller was sentenced to 12 years.
2000-8. Storme Aerison, in Colorado Mental Health Institute and then a men's jail for fraud.
2001. John Pilley, convicted of kidnapping in 1981, was granted an NHS-funded operation in 2001 and transferred to HMP Holloway. In 2006, Pilley was requesting a change back.
Robert Durst, charged with murder in Galveston, Texas, hired a good lawyer, admitted killing and dismemberment, but pleaded self-defense and was acquitted. He was convicted of bail jumping and evidence tampering, and sentenced to five years, and of carrying a gun across state lines while a fugitive, for an extra five and a half months.
Richard Masbruch succeeded in castrating himself, and somehow started on female hormones. On transfer to the California penal system as Sherri was regarded as transgender, and was placed in the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. Sherri was thus the only prisoner in the US to be declared transgender and then transferred from a men's to a women's prison.
Karūseru Maki, performer, Tokyo, was arrested for possession of drugs, and spent 41 days in a male jail because the family registry still listed her as male.
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled sex reassignment surgery an “essential medical treatment”.
2002. Christine White pled guilty after firing five lawyers.    
2003. Canadian federal court agreed withe 2001 Human Rights Tribunal ruling.
Lawrence v. Texas. Finally the US achieved a nation-wide decriminalization of sodomy, and hence homosexuality. Up to this time nine states−Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia−still banned consensual sodomy without respect to the sex of those involved, and four−Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri−prohibited same-sex couples from engaging in anal or oral sex.
US Prison Rape Elimination Act, unanimously passed by congress, and even supported by the homophobic Focus on the Family, reduced the ability of corrections officers to remain wilfully unaware. Prisons are obliged to establish zero-tolerance re sexual assaults, provide data on the incidence of rape, and a review panel will determine the best and worst detention facilities. However the passing of this act was not followed by any decline in the prevalence of prisoner rape.
Amara Vadillo, a Los Angeles porn star, killed a third party in a tussle over a gun. She was charged with Murder in the first degree, Murder in the second degree, Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter and an Armed Allegation charge, while the other person in the tussle was not charged. She was sentenced to 20 years to life for Second Degree Murder and an additional 25 years to life under an anti-sniping law. She is in the California Medical Facility prison at Vacaville.
Maddison Hall, New South Wales, convicted of a 1987 murder. She declared herself to be transsexual, and was transferred to Mulawa Womens' Correctional Centre in 1999, before surgery. She apparently raped some inmates before surgery in 2003.
Cis woman Amaravathee Denise Wilson, Durban KwaZula-Natal, arrested for armed robbery, was listed as "Denis" and regarded as a post-op transsexual. She was put in the male section of Westville Prison for 6 months where she was raped, sodomized and otherwise assaulted almost every day.
2004. Group of trans inmates at CMF Vacaville, with some support from prison staff, drew up a reform proposal. They had a series of meetings with administrators, including, eventually, the warden. Then, in January 2005, there was a change in prison leadership and the project was sidelined. (Woodward)
2005.  Donna Konitzer, Wisconsin, was sentenced in 1994 to 123 years for armed robbery at the Wisconsin Prison in Winnebago. She was allowed to start hormones in 1999. In 2000 was sexually assaulted by a guard. Sued that she should be allowed a full transition.
Roderick Johnson, Texas, navy veteran, cis gay man, was sentenced in 2000 for 18 months to the state Allred prison for burglary. He was seized as property by a gang within the prison who imposed a female name on him, forced him to do housework and rented him out as a sex slave at $5 or $10 a time, After release he sued the guards who refused to help him. The jury found in favor of the guards.
Rikers Island prison, New York closed down its Category B section for those who declared themselves to be homosexual or appeared to be transgender. It was replaced by 23-hour-per-day lockdown.
Rachel Tortolini was working as a prison doctor in Hawai’i.
Jasmine Goode, Herefordshire, convicted of burglery. 
2006. Wisconsin legislators passed the Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act in response to Donna Konitzer. It prohibited “the payment of any funds or the use of any resources of this state or the payment of any federal funds passing through the state treasury to provide or to facilitate the provision of hormonal therapy or sexual reassignment surgery.”
San Francisco-based Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project on rape in California prisons found that 59 percent of transgender people reported being sexually assaulted in prison in 2006, compared to 4 percent of the general prison population. (Wallace, 2007).
Montréal drag queen Luc D’Arcy sentenced to 12 years in Florida for requesting sexual favours from teenagers while in drag.
New York trustfunder, Diane Wells, convicted of misdemeanor assault after injuring her mother in an altercation over the will.  She served 60 days at Rikers Island.  
Spanish Socialist Workers Government introduced a new policy of respecting a prisoner's gender and changed name, and placing trans women in women's prisons.
2007. Sandy-Jo Battista, who has completed his sentence for a 1983 rape, but is still incarcerated, offered to use an inheritance to pay for her sex-change, but was denied permission.
Raven Navajo, of Las Vegas, killed a fellow drinker during a binge, and pleaded guilty despite the body never being found. Doing 10-to-life in a men's prison.
Katherine Johnson, reconvicted for murder of her roommate, appealed to the Federal Court of Canada that she have a penectomy and be transferred to a women' prison.
Christine White paroled.    
"InEqualities InAction: The case of the Prison Service disappearing Guidelines" by Whittle. Lewis & Al-Alami reports that HM prisons not recognizing Gender Recognition Certificates.
2008. Alexis Giraldo, 2½ years for petty theft constituting a parole violation stemming from an earlier vehicular manslaughter, was raped by two inmates in 2006 at Folsom State Prison. She informed the guards and nothing was done. She sued. In 2007 San Francisco Superior Court dismissed the negligence claim before trial ruling that California law does not create a "special relationship" between jailers and inmates, but allowed the claim of intentional inflection of emotional distress to stand. The jury was hung. Giraldo was paroled in 2008. Later that year a state appeal court ruled that prison guards do owe their inmates a special duty of care, potentially exposing prison officials to negligence suits if they fail to protect their charges.
Tania Veilleux, 40 months for sexually assaulting a child when she was a man, legally female under Quebec law and had been approved by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec for surgery. She was two months in Tanguay, a facility for women, and then transferred to the Ste-Anne-des-Plaines federal prison for men because she is male under Correctional Service of Canada rules.
Vincent Inametti, Roman Catholic Chaplin at Federal Medical Center at Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, sentenced to 4 years for two counts of sexual abuse of female inmates.
DB Karron,New York biomedical engineer, was accused of using part of a government grant to fund transgender surgery for herself and three others.  She served 15 months at the women's Federal Prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia.
2009. An unnamed pre-op, (more) serving life for manslaughter of his boyfriend who refused to pay for operation, and attempted rape of a female shop assistant when out on licence, won a ruling, in accordance with Article 8 [the right to private and family life] under the European Convention on Human Rights, overriding Justice Secretary Jack Straw's decision that she should stay in a men's prison
Thea Cox, Exeter, breached her suspended sentence by again robbing student flats, was spared jail.
Veronica Baxter, Sydney, charged with supplying a prohibited drug. She was held at the NSW Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre, a maximum security jail for men, and was found dead 14 hours later. The location against the stated NSW policy 1999.
Dione Kaeo-Tomaselli, intersex who had corrective surgery to female in 1998, was sentenced to 10 years. She was placed in Halawa Correctional Facility for men, despite complaining that she was a woman. She was raped in the two months before she was transferred to a women's facility. She sued in 2011.
India. Naz Foundation v National Capital Territory of Delhi struck down much of Section 377 of the Indian penal Code as being unconstitutional.
2010. Kenyan intersex Richard Muasya, convicted of robbery, harassed and badly treated in prison, was awarded Sh500,000, but his request for a third gender status was rejected.
Denise Abbah, a cis woman, jailed in 2003 and thrown in a men's jail because of a clerical error, she sued for R100,000 compensation and was obliged to take a sex test.
Jasmin Goode, serving 11 years for robbery in Leyhill open prison near Bristol, started transition with hormone patches.
The Conservative Government of Canada ordered a halt to all funding for gender surgery for inmates.
Laura Voyce, Merseyside, convicted of 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children, faced 9 months in prison but the judge felt that she could not be kept safe, and suspended the jail term and added 100 hours of community work.
Jan Krause, Cheshire, who harassed her neighbour for six years, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, plus a restraining order, 120 hours of community service and a curfew. The judge said that it would be unfair to send her to prison because she would have to to stay in solitary confinement.
Italy opened a trans-only prison in Emploi, Tuscany. It is intended for the 30 prisoners previously in a special section of a prison in Florence.
2011. Sandy-Jo Battista. US Court of Appeals ruled that she should get hormone therapy.
Jovanie Saldana, who had been in the Philadelphia Riverside Correctional Facility for Women for armed robbery, complained about having to give oral sex to the guards. Investigation revealed that she is pre-op, and she was transferred to a men's prison.
Fields v. Smith. Struck down the Wisconsin Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. In doing so, the Seventh Circuit laid the foundation for a powerful restriction on legislatures’ ability to enact prohibitions of medical treatments, a restriction that may apply not only to legislation affecting prisoners but also, via an analogous Fourteenth Amendment due process right, to legislation impacting the general public. This was confirmed in 2012 by the US Supreme Court.
Vanessa Adams who was in a federal prison at Butner in North Carolina, was diagnosed with GID after admissions. The then policy of the US Bureau of Prisons was to provide hormone therapy only for those already on it. She made 19 written requests for treatment, all of which were denied, She attempted suicide and castrated herself. In 2009 she sued with the help of GLBT legal groups, and finally won a ruling that Ms Adams should be provided with the required treatment.
Ophelia De’lonta, Virginia, 70 years for armed robbery, had won a court order in 2004 to receive hormonal therapy, attempted self-castration.
Lyralisa Stevens, CMF Vacaville, 50 years for murder, had to have a brain tumor removed. This was believed to be connected to high level of female hormones. Reduced level to avoid this was too low for feminization. She sued that gender surgery was medically necessary. By 2011 had acquired attorneys but failed at the district appeals court.
Cece McDonald, fashion student in Minnesota, and some friends were attacked by a group from a bar yelling racist and transphobic hate. One of the attackers died in the scuffle. Cece was the only one arrested. From hospital she was taken to a men's jail. She was charged with second-degree murder, and as a plea agreement pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter, and was sentenced to 41 months in St Cloud men's prison.
Jean Morris, Bristol, convicted of possessing a Class C drug with intent to supply, was spared jail because it would interfere with her transition.
Frances Harris, Brighton, convicted of fraud, spared jail in that nowhere safe to put her.  
US Bureau of Prisons announced new rules that trans inmates will be able to start hormone therapy while in prison. There are currently 48 US prisoners in BOP prisons who are recognized as having gender dysphoria.
Cook County, Illinois, jail announced that it would now jail detainees according to gender identity rather than birth sex.
England & Wales: National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice issued New prison guidelines for trans prisoners. Where to place a post-op without a Gender Recognition Certificate, a pre-op or a non-op with a GRC, a seriously committed pre-op etc. This is expected to end trans convicts avoiding prison because it is unclear where to send them.
"An establishment must permit prisoners who consider themselves transsexual and wish to begin gender reassignment to live permanently in their acquired gender …
the prisoner is considered to have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and must not be discriminated against or harassed because of this …
Establishments must put in place measures to manage the risk of transphobic harassment and transphobic hate crime …
A male to female transsexual person with a gender recognition certificate may be refused location in the female estate only on security grounds – in other words, only when it can be demonstrated that other women with an equivalent security profile would also be held in the male estate …
Before a prisoner is placed in custody, attempts must be made to determine which gender is recognised under UK law. This is a legal issue rather than an anatomical one, and under no circumstances should a physical search or examination be conducted for this purpose …
There are some women who are guilty of violent crimes against other women and are still managed safely in the female estate. Any transsexual women with a gender recognition certificate who pose similar risks should be managed in a similar way in the female estate …
some prisoners, such as female to male transsexual people with vaginas, may feel that they will be very vulnerable if placed in the estate of their acquired gender".
2012. Following a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the US Justice Department revised its estimate of prison rape. The new estimate, 216,000 exceeds rapes outside prison. Thus the US is the first county to count more rapes of men than of women.
Equal Justice Initiative released a report on the frequent rape of inmates at Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama by the male corrections officers.
Los Angeles Police announce separate detention facilities for transgender inmates.
Chicago Police Department's new procedures mandates that perferred names and pronouns are to be used, derogatory language not be used; transpersons are to be transported and jailed alone when possible; access to hormones to continue; possession of needles alone not to be taken as evidence of crime.
Tutwiler Prison for Women, Alabama. Equal Justice Initiative released a report on the frequent rape of inmates by the male corrections officers.
Japanese Justice Ministry: Prisoners with GID can request a solitary cell, bathe alone, wear underwear and hair style of identity gender.
US Supreme Court declined to hear Wisconsin's appeal of the ruling that struck down the Inmate Sex-change Prevention Act.
The first year of English and Welsh prisoners being located by legal gender rather than genital status. Non-imprisonment of convicted trans persons for that reason alone has stopped.
Toronto Don Jail. Guard transitioning on job.
Kingston penitentiary. Supply officer transitioning on job.
Breanna Bradley Manning, still yet suffering cruel and unusual punishment in a US military prison, was nominated by members of the Icelandic Parliament for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was finally charged, and a preliminary hearing held. the trial is due in 2013.
Michelle Kosilek won a ruling in federal court that she should be provided sex change surgery.  but this was later suspended. However her lawyers were awarded $700,000 in legal fees. The team offered to dismiss their request for legal fees if the state drops the appeal and pays for the surgery.
Carla Bruna, female impersonator, sued because put in female jail.
Frances Harris, Brighton convicted of fraud again.   This time sentenced to 5 years in jail.
Jasmine Goode released, appeared on Unsafe Sex in the City, BBC3, and had surgery.
Glen Cooper, Whangarei, NZ, sentenced to 2 years 1 month in a men's jail for wounding with intent to injure.
Ophelia De'Lonta, in a men's prison, sued again to obtain surgery.
Nat Smith & Eric A. Stanley. Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2011. Review.
2013 Paris Green, Fife, convicted of murder, sent to women's prison, approved for transgender surgery, moved to another prison afer sex with other inmates.
Walter L. Williams, anthropologist, author of The Spirit and the Flesh, pioneering account of North American two-spirit, accused of sexual predation in Philippines, arrested in Mexico, and imprisoned in Los Angeles.
Chelsea Manning  (previously Breanna Bardley Manning) sentenced to 35 years in a US Military prison.
Jesiah MacDonald, Nova Scotia, wanted to use the money from the marijuana to pay for his operation, spared jail time.
Ashley Del Valle, in Savannah, arrested for exposing breasts, jailed with men.
Kimberley Green, convicted wife killer, who does not choose to wear women's clothing, failed in suit to High Court to be allowed to wear a wig in prison.
Harris County, Texas, the 3rd largest jail in the US, has adopted a policy of trans prisoners being houses according to gender identity, and addressing them accordingly.
New Zealand Ministry of Corrections announced that the New Zealand Cabinet is to change the corrections rules in order to allow prisoners to be placed in a prison which matches the gender they identify with, rather than their birth gender. 
Michelle Kosilek, Massachusettes convicted murderer, published her autobiography, Grace's Daughter.

  • Tracy Clark-Flory. "America’s prisons fail transgender inmates". Salon, Aug 23, 2013.
  • Jillian Keenan. "Getting Hormones and Surgery for Transgender Prisoners". The Atlantic, Aug 23 2013.
  • "Targets for Abuse: Transgender Inmates and Prisoner Rape". Just Detention International, March 2013.


    09 November 2012

    Trans in Prison: Part IV: to the Synthia Kavanagh Human Rights Case

    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

    1995. Tai Wakefield, in HMP Parkhurst for murder of his uncle, and then of another inmate, applied for and was allowed to change sex. Transferred to New Hall prison for women, he met a woman also in for murder. They joined in a civil partnership in 2010.
    Leslie Nelson, Camden, New Jersey, shot two police officers, and wounded a third in a shootout at her parent's home after she refused to produce her AK-47. She pleaded guilty and was for a while the only transsexual on death row in the US in an all-male institution. After the New Jersey Supreme Court twice ruled that executing ‘such a mentally ill and psychologically disturbed person’ would be cruel and unusual punishment, she was sentenced to three life sentences, with a 65-year bar on parole. She was transferred to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, in Clinton, New Jersey.
    Willow Arune was arrested in Bangkok having been involved with two Americans with forged documents.
    1996. Valerie Taylor was arrested in California and convicted the next year in South Carolina for a 1978 killing. She was sentenced to 15 years and served two. She served her time in the Leath Correctional Institute for Women.
    Petersen, Stephens, Dickey & Lewis surveyed correctional facilities in the EU, US, Canada and Australia and found that that only 40% had either formal or informal policies for trans persons; while more than half would not initiate hormone therapy, almost half would maintain a previously prescribed treatment; genital status was the overwhelming factor in determination of placement in either a men's or a women's facility. There was no consensus on the risk of physical or sexual assault.
    US Prison Litigation Reform Act greatly reduced the ability of inmates to bring civil claims in Federal Courts. Requires prisoners to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing a claim (even if this means seeking redress from the abuser), and demonstrate that they experienced physical harm prior to filing. It also limited attorney fees for representing prisoners, and barred prisoners from seeking damages for sexual harassment, invasions of privacy such as strip searching, and inappropriate sexual touching.
    London. After fraudulent investing that brought Morgan, Grenfell & Co. down, Investment manager Peter Young avoided trial on the fraud by becoming Elizabeth. A second trial re her being fit to stand trial found her schizophrenic, and that the 1964 Insanity Act pertained.
    1997. "A San Francisco Department of Public Health survey conducted in 1997 found that almost two thirds of MTF respondents had been incarcerated. More than 30 percent had spent some time behind bars during the preceding 12 months." (Quoted in Woodward)
    Peter Langan, white supremacist robber of 22 banks, life with a minimum of 35 years, under his male persona.
    Publication of Katherine Johnson's Prisoner of Gender, who was unable to obtain treatment even though in the same prisons as Synthia Kavanagh.
    Start of Christine White's bank robbery spree across Canada.
    China legalized homosexuality.
    1998. David Shayler was in a French prison for 3 months until the French courts decided that the UK extradition request was politically motivated and therefore not valid.
    Christine White caught after a high-speed chase.  
    Jeanne Hoff, last director of the Harry Benjamin Practice, who had transitioned in 1977, and become a psychiatrist at San Quentin prison, was in the news when she was the only one of three psychiatrists willing to testify that a murdered was competent to be executed.  Defense attorney attorney attempted to impeach her, but did not read her.
    1999. Torey South, served three years for robbery,first at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville where she was prescribed female hormones, and then the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo where she was denied them. She won a court ruling that the California Department of Corrections violated her constitutional right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment by deliberately withholding necessary medical care, ie female hormones.
    Dr Lori Kohler of San Francisco General Hospital started to visit the California Medical Facility in Vacaville every 6 weeks to enable trans inmates to get hormones. (Woodward)
    Singer Cristina Rodriguez of Madrid, convicted of arson as part of an insurance fraud, was sentenced to 3 years in a men's prison, where she was frequently raped. Her weight doubled from 60 to 122 kg, and she suffered obvious physical deterioration.
    Montréal prison guard, Claude-Marc Bardier arranged harassment of his colleagues so that he could get a full-time position. That he was female-bodied came out only after he was arrested. 26 months in a women's facility.
    Surgeon John Brown convicted of malice murder. He is in Soledad Prison.
    New South Wales: The Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act states "any person received into the custody of the NSW Department of Corrective Services (DCS) who self-identifies as transgender has the right to be housed in a correctional facility appropriate to their gender of identification". It says: "Transgender inmates are to be managed according to their chosen gender of identification."
    2000. David Shayler was charged under the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to 6 months in prison, and served seven weeks.
    Kelly Denise Richards, Sussex, sentenced to 17 years for a post office raid in which the postmaster and his baby son were injured, having had surgery while in prison, transferred to a women's prison.
    Secretive cross-dresser and millionaire dermatologist in Boston, Richard Sharpe murdered his wife and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2009 he managed to kill himself.
    Synthia Kavanagh killed her room mate, also trans, in 1985, in Toronto. The judge suggested that she serve her sentence in a woman's prison, but because she was pre-op she was sent to Millhaven Penitentiary. Maxine Petersen of the Clarke Institute refused to approve her for a sex-change as she could not do a real-life test. Synthia filed a human rights complaint, and had the operation in 2000.