Friday, April 10, 2015

Elton & REM's Michael Stipe call for Protection of Transgender Inmate

A joint statement from Georgia native and REM frontman Michael Stipe and Sir Elton John calls on the Georgia department of corrections to provide hormone therapy and safety to transgender women housed in male prisons in the state.

The statement comes a few days after one woman, Ashley Diamond, found a surprise ally in her lawsuit against the state. The US Justice Department weighed in on her behalf on Friday, calling the state’s denial of hormone therapy for gender dysphoria “cruel and unusual punishment”.

“We applaud the US Department of Justice for supporting Ashley Diamond and the trans community in arguing that Georgia’s policy of denying transgender inmates their medically necessary hormone treatment is unconstitutional,” the musicians’ joint statement said.

“But we must do more to end the culture of violence and discrimination surrounding gender identity and expression.

“We urge the state of Georgia to embrace desperately needed changes to their correctional system.”

Diamond, in her lawsuit and in public statements, asserts that because she was denied the hormone therapy she has taken for 17 years her body has changed drastically.

She also alleges that she has been raped at least seven times during her three years in prison, as the state has moved her from one high-security prison to another, disregarding her safety and the non-violent nature of her offenses. She is in prison for burglary, theft by receiving and escaping police custody.

Similarly, trans woman Zahara Green alleges in a separate lawsuit against the state that she was raped multiple times by the same inmate. After begging to be placed in protective custody, the lawsuit alleges that department of corrections personnel placed her in a cell, alone, with her rapist.

“This is outrageous, and the message it sends is horrific: that violence against and discrimination of trans people is not only allowed, but sanctioned.”

- Guardian

No comments: