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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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.

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