Ministry of Justice dispels bigoted myths around trans prisoners and sexual assault with cold, hard and indisputable facts
Eleven trans women prisoners were assaulted in prisons in England and Wales last year, according to the Ministry of Justice.
This means that there is almost one reported sexual assault of a trans woman in prison every month.
LGBT+ charity Stonewall called the figures “upsetting”.
Stonewall said the figures showed transgender prisoners faced a “high risk of assault, harassment and violence”.
“We also know that they often face barriers to accessing healthcare, as well as being at risk of serious mental health problems and suicide,” it said.
“It’s essential that all prison staff are provided with high-quality training, so that they can ensure the safety and dignity of trans prisoners.”
Separate Ministry of Justice figures released earlier this month stated that out of 122 reported sexual assaults in women’s prisons in the past decade, just five were perpetrated by trans inmates.
This means that there is a reported sexual assault in a women’s prison committed by a trans inmate once every two years, on average, whilst a trans woman is the victim of a sexual assault in a men’s prison almost every month.
The new MOJ figures refer to 11 trans women who were sexually assaulted in men’s prisons last year.
Trans people who don’t have their gender legally recognised will be housed in the prison estate corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth, not their true gender.
Trans inmates without legal gender recognition can apply for an individual case review to be considered for transfer to a prison corresponding to their gender identity, but the process is slow, bureaucratic and often unsuccessful.
According to a 2019 MOJ report, there are 163 trans inmates in England and Wales who don’t have their gender legally recognised, and only 11 of these people are housed in the correct facility for their gender.
Legal gender recognition is the process by which trans people can update the gender marker on their birth certificate, governed by the Gender Recognition Act.
Since it came into force in 2004, just 4,910 trans people have used the GRA to gain legal gender recognition – out of an estimated population of half a million trans people in the UK.
This is because the GRA is an expensive, complicated and intrusive process.
The government has promised to reform it so that more trans people can use it, with Tory equalities minister Liz Truss the latest in a long line to promise to publish plans for reform “this summer”.
However, her statements on the way she wants to reform the GRA have sparked widespread concern from politicians, LGBT+ groups and the trans community.
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