Target: Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner LaDonna H. Thompson
Goal: Allow transgender women to live in female halfway houses so they can be safe from sexual violence.
A transgender woman was raped by a halfway house roommate after she was assigned to an otherwise all-male home. After being placed in a halfway house for men, she immediately requested a transfer on the grounds that she did not feel safe. Her complaints were ignored, and the worst happened not two weeks after the request was filed. The victim is now suing the facility.
Halfway houses are supposed to be safe and stable transitional housing for former prisoners who are trying to put their lives back together. Making a trans woman who likely has no other housing options in a room with five men to sleep is the opposite of safety. The fact that she was assigned to a male halfway house is pure transphobia. They treated her as though she’s a man, and this is the result.
Trans women are extremely vulnerable to physical and sexual violence due to intense bigotry against them. The fact is that there are almost no documented cases of trans women assaulting cisgender women in places like halfway houses, but many cases of trans women being raped in male prisons, homeless shelters, and other temporary housing that’s segregated by gender.
The Kentucky Department of Corrections is responsible for placing former inmates in halfway houses and responding to their complaints. This department has completely failed this woman, and we need to ensure that it never happens again. Sign to demand that the Kentucky Department of Corrections always assign former inmates based on gender identity, not gender assignment at birth, in the future.
Dear Commissioner Thompson,
Recently, a transgender woman assigned to one of your halfway houses was raped due to the fact that the home she was assigned to was an otherwise all-male home. She sent your department a transfer request after she found out that she would have to share a single sleeping space with five men and didn’t feel safe. Her complaint was ignored, and for this she paid an incredibly heavy price.
Her rapist has been prosecuted for his crime and the victim was finally allowed to transfer. But clearly, this should never have happened in the first place. Trangender women are already highly vulnerable to physical and sexual violence without being forced to live in male facilities. Her trauma and suffering are entirely on your hands.
This all could have easily been prevented with a policy that requires halfway house placement to be based on gender identity, not gender assigned at birth or however else you might decide someone’s gender for them. We demand that you adequately protect the safety of your former inmates by ensuring that no more trans women are ever placed into a male halfway house again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Women’s eNews