With the world divided into male and female sections mostly, there is almost no place to fit transgenders in, not even in prison cells. Often refused to be recognised, they not only suffer from an identity crisis but also suffer oppression from other genders.
In one such case, in a horrifying revelation by a transgender woman, Mary (name changed) confessed that she was assaulted in a male prison where she was lodged on charges of car theft, according to news.au.
“Mary was sickened by what happened to her in that Queensland prison, Boggo Road, as it was known in the ’90s. She has lived in fear for decades, with regular flashbacks to the disturbing things she lived through while in jail,” a report in news.au says.
Mary regrets stealing the car but her ‘prison-reform’ turned into a horrifying account that has scarred her for life, disturbing her present with flashbacks of those cold days till now.
In her head, she was a woman – that’s what she could relate to. As she recalls her experience and narrates it, she told news.au that she couldn’t understand why she was put into male prison at all, in the first place.
Not only was she made to strip at the jail reception, where people stared at her and humiliated her to no end, when she went to her cell, within minutes of her arrival, she was flocked by men who waited to exploit her body.
“You are basically set upon with conversations about being protected in return for sex.
They are either trying to manipulate you or threaten you into some sort of sexual contact and then, once you perform the requested threat of sex, you are then an easy target as others want their share of sex with you, which is more like rape than consensual sex,” Mary told news.au.
“At times, Mary was put into a cell for prisoners who needed protection, but even then she said she was assaulted by sex offenders”, news.au wrote in their report.
“It makes you feel sick but you have no way of defending yourself,” she told news.au.
She was forced into performing sexual acts more than 2000 times when she was serving her sentence, which was about four years long.
“It was rape and yes I was flogged and bashed to the point where I knew I had to do it in order to survive, but survival was basically for other prisoners’ pleasure,” she told news.au.
“It was hell on earth, it was as if I died and this was my punishment.”
She tried to escape during her sentence THREE times but didn’t succeed and as a result, she was labelled a high-risk prisoner because she tried to escape three times.
“This meant I would serve all my time in maximum security with the most violent prisoners.”
“I wasn’t escaping for anything else, I just had to get away from the sexual assault. Each time I said no and tried to push them away, they just force you and it’s not just one or two people, there’s a bunch of them,” she told news.au.
Not only did they cut down on her hormone supplements but they also cut her locks and forcefully styled her hair into a crew cut.
“It was halfway down my back, it was horrific.”
“It was like my identity was taken away from me.” Mary told news.au.
“People must think if you go to a female prison, you’re going to rape women and you’re not – it doesn’t make any sense. I’d rather die than go to prison ever again in my whole life.
I look like a woman and I think if a transgender person is genuine and they are living as the opposite sex, then they should be housed in a female prison, even if you’re in a wing on your own,” she told news.au.
When you go to prison, instead of reforming yourself and coming out of it as a better person, it is extremely sad if you get assaulted, ridiculed, raped and traumatised in such a highly secure and heavily guarded place.
“You shouldn’t be subjected to sexual assault. You are serving a punishment for an error you made in your life.”
“I don’t have a relationship and I don’t trust men and never will ever again in my life – I’ve not had a relationship since prison,” she told news.au.
“We are human beings and most of us were born this way and we want to just live our lives but are ridiculed by society because we have the guts to be who we are.”