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Advocacy Campaingn for Trans-Women (ACT!)

Advocacy Campaign for Trans-women (ACT!)

Started by Jennifer Gann, Black & Pink California Prison Chapter Leader

Black & Pink has led an advocacy campaign on my behalf over the past year concerning the discrimination, sexual harassment, and legitimate safety concerns I have experienced as a transgender woman in a men’s prison. We made complaints to the warden, and to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR).

In response to our letters and complaints, prison officials at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) retaliated against me with bogus disciplinary reports (RVR’s), “loss” of some of my personal property items, and Ad-Seg placement (ASU) back in June 2013. The Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) declined to investigate our specific allegations or take action.

Because of the lack of appropriate response by CDCR prison officials, the deliberate indifference shown in regard to sexual harassment, and unsafe housing of transgender inmates in general, I have decided to take my own personal struggle and start a statewide initiative called the Advocacy Campaign for Trans-women, or “ACT!” We demand:

  1. Safe housing for all trans-women prisoners.
  2. Adequate transition-related medical and mental health care (e.g. hormones, mental health specialists, and sex-reassignment surgery).
  3. An end to gender identity discrimination and sex-stereotyping (quit telling us to “act like a man”).
  4. End abusive and inappropriate cross-gender and group strip searches.
  5. Investigate and take seriously claims of sexual harassment, retaliation, and staff misconduct.
  6. Provide access to gender appropriate clothing (bras, skirts, blouses, underwear, etc) and feminine hygiene/beauty products (e.g. brushes, make-up, hair ties, etc).
  7. Provide regular, mandatory training to all correctional employees by qualified outside community groups to increase awareness of transgender and intersex issues, including appropriate and professional communication (e.g. preferred name and pronouns).

I currently have complaints also pending with the CDCR Ombudsman and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). This is a last ditch effort to resolve some of the problems I’ve continued to experience in the men’s facilities. My next step is a federal civil rights lawsuit.

I welcome my sisters in the men’s and women’s facilities to get involved.

Women and Queers Unite!                 Abolish prisons and patriarchy!

 

J. Gann (E-23852)                                                       Black & Pink: Attn- Jenni/ACT!
Kern Valley State Prison                                             614 Columbia Rd
PO Box 5102                                                              Dorchester, MA 02125
Delano, CA  93216                                                     members@blackandpink.org
www.blackandpink.org

Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.

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