Elton John and Michael Stipe condemn ‘horrific’ treatment of trans prison inmates

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Sir Elton John and REM singer Michael Stipe have backed a campaign to protect the rights of transgender people in prison.

The pair issued a joint statement yesterday condeming the mistreatment of a trans woman living in a Georgia prison.

The statement read: “Transgender women in male prisons have an equal right to protection from violence and abuse in prison, and yet they continue to face horrific injustices.

“More often than not, assaults in part go unreported because the perpetrators are prison guards, wardens and staff. This is outrageous, and the message it sends is horrific: that violence against and discrimination of trans people is not only allowed, but sanctioned.”

Last week the US Justice Department ruled that inmates’ gender identity conditions must be treated as with any other medical condition.

The ruling came after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of trans woman Ashley Diamond against the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The lawsuit alleged that the Department did not sufficiently treat the 36-year-old’s gender dysphoria, and that she was sexually assaulted and ridiculed in prison.

Stipe has previously spoken out to say that he was reluctant to get tested for HIV in the 1980s.

The singer, who has previously described himself as “80% gay”, said on Logo’s TV special Trailblazers that he is proud of the progress made towards gay rights.