WASHINGTON, May 11, 2018 — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization responded to news that the Trump-Pence Administration has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to use “biological sex” in determining how transgender prisoners are assigned housing, putting them at significant risk of sexual abuse, assault, and other types of discrimination.
“The Obama Administration put this guidance into place after an extensive review to develop workable and reasonable procedures that would protect some of the most vulnerable people in our prison system,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “The decision to disregard a
transgender person’s gender identity is harmful and disrespectful. This unconscionable decision ignores medical expertise and defies common sense. Transgender people under the control of the Bureau of Prisons will face greater risk of violence and discrimination. ”
The Obama Administration issued a guidance memo for the Bureau of Prisons that provided instruction on intake and supervision of transgender inmates, including medical treatment, housing guidelines, and use of pronouns. It also noted that transgender inmates are at “increased risk of suicide, mental health issues and victimization.”
The memo was largely based on regulations first implemented in 2012. The Trump-Pence Administration’s move also conflicts with protections under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.