This week, CeCe McDonald, a transgendered woman in Minnesota was sentenced to serve 41 months in a men’s prison for second degree murder. The sentence came from a court case that Kate Burgess, executive director of the Trans Youth Support Network, described to Mother Jones as like being “on trial for surviving a hate crime.”
In the coming weeks, McDonald’s gender will be evaluated by a prison committee to determine how and where she will be incarcerated. In an article today in Colorlines, Burgess explained: “In my experience, the committee process is remarkably abusive and just disgusting… Rather than protecting transgender people, who are easily the most vulnerable group when it comes to sexual violence in prison, the underlying idea is that transgender people are sexual predators.”
One option for McDonald will be placement in ‘administrative segregation’– similar to solitary confinement. In the Voice of Witness title, Inside This Place Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons, narrator Charlie Morningstar faced similar treatment. Morningstar, a transman currently incarcerated in a women’s prison and founder of the Two Spirits Wellness Group, explains:
“The guards had read about my trial and perceived me as a sexual deviant, and considered segregating me from general population. Also, at the receiving center, a group of staff had turned up to see what I looked like, as if I was some kind of animal at the zoo.”
Click here to learn more about Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons, a moving collection of narratives illuminating life and human rights abuse inside women’s prisons.