On June 24th, troubled inmate Jane Doe assaulted yet another staff member and destroyed property in the Connecticut adult women’s prison where she had been detained in solitary confinement for 78 days. After the appeals of her lawyer and supporters, she was once again relocated, this time to a psychiatric center. Then, when she was formally accused of assault, she was relocated again, this time to Connecticut’s Juvenile Training School in Middleton, the state’s only secure facility for delinquent boys.
Yep, you read that right. She was moved to a center for boys.
Jane Doe is a Transgender girl. And while her situation is unusual, the prejudice behind her experiences is not. The decision to move her to a facility for boys is based on principals of trans-erasure. She may have been born with a penis, but she is a woman.
Why would you put a woman in a men’s prison? It makes no sense.
Of course, some people will inevitably argue that she’s “really” a guy, since she was born with a penis, but we’ve already dealt with that: she’s a woman. Aside from the fundamentally flawed roles that the gender binary enforces, there is no basis for the argument that she is not a woman.
She is also being held “in a single room separated from the boys” and that doesn’t help either. It only isolates emphasizes the fact that she is being rejected because she does not conform to the gender binary. That kind of rejection is no way to treat a troubled teen. Jane Doe has written about her experience in an op-ed piece for courant.com.
I understand, of course, that this is a difficult situation, as is any situation that involves a troubled teen. But moving her from one gendered facility to another isn’t going to change that. In fact, it will likely make her more hostile to the system. This is no way to begin rehabilitation.
Images courtesy of autostraddle.com and The Huffington Post.