Things That Matter

This Trans Inmate Was Denied Access To Gender Reassignment Surgery But That Could Change With This Recent Court Ruling

In a surprising turn of events, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery for its transgender prison inmates. This upheld the original decision made by the US District Court: that denying inmates the surgery amounted to a violation of the US Constitution. While this is definitely a momentous step forward for trans rights, despite the rise of conservatism in today’s America, the story doesn’t end there. No, that would just be too simple. 

It’s worth knowing the background to the case.

Facebook / Black and Pink

The decision didn’t just appear out of nowhere. The original ruling came as a result of a lawsuit an inmate of Idaho State Correctional Center, Adree Edmo, brought to the Idaho Department of Correction and its medical provider, Corizon, in 2017. Having struggled with her gender identity, attempted suicide and also tried to castrate herself, Edmo contended that the state’s refusal to provide her with the gender confirmation surgery she needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Ultimately, it’s a contravention of her Eighth Amendment rights.

Edmo has been forced to live as a male in an all-male prison.

Instagram / @kneffertiti

Despite the fact that Edmo has been living as a woman for years, she has been housed in a men’s prison during that time, and so far been denied what is clearly needed medical care. “They certainly would treat a prisoner with cancer, they treat a prisoner with diabetes, or other chronic conditions,” Deborah Ferguson, an attorney for Edmo, said in a recent interview. “So, we have a medically recognized condition that’s very treatable and we have been trying to get her the treatment that she very much needs.”

Nevertheless, the state says that it’ll take the case to the US Supreme Court.

Instagram / @governorbradlittle

“The court’s decision is extremely disappointing,” Idaho Governor Brad Little said in response to the decision. “The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals.”

With this verdict, Edmo could be transferred to a women’s prison.

Youtube/ 6 On Your Side

Granted, it would seem that this statement flies in the face of other known facts related to the case. So, let’s clear it all up, now. Firstly, Edmo was diagnosed with gender dysmorphia back in 2012. Considering that she has been living as a woman for years, now, despite the risks this would pose while she is being detained in a men’s prison, would suggest that she is in need of support and treatment. In other words, as the decision determined, Edmo should undergo gender confirmation surgery and be transferred to a women’s detention center afterwards.

The state government doesn’t want to pay for the surgery.

Instagram / @7pmfortune

As far as costs to the state go, that’s a little more complicated. The contract that the state currently has with Corizon sees that necessary medical care is already covered. And, naturally, that contract was paid for with money collected from taxes. But, the contract is also designed to provide for the healthcare of many other prison inmates, too. Because, at the end of the day, imprisonment isn’t designed to violate an individual’s constitutional rights. And you know what? If Little was so concerned about taxpayer dollars, then maybe the state wouldn’t have forked out over $300,000 to fight a procedure that, at most, would cost $30,000.

But wait a minute … Edmo is a sex offender?

Instagram / @projectfluxdance

Yeah. She pled guilty to charges that she sexually abused a 15 year old when Edmo herself was about 22 years of age. The fact of the matter is that, simply because she committed a crime – and a heinous one at that – doesn’t mean that she waives any and all needed medical care. This case is about upholding the tenets around basic human rights.

This court decision could lead to more inmates getting the care they require.

Instagram / @crazyfactorypiercing

Part of the problem with Little’s statement to the media isn’t just that he has provided inaccuracies. It also ties into a larger narrative concerning the LGBTQI community that paints queer people as pedophiles and predators. Recent reports of people posing as gay men on Twitter in an attempt to associate queerness with pedophilia continue to propagate that false narrative. And this isn’t a new thing, either – last year a fake LGBTQI account was set up to promote pedophilia at an Oregon Pride Parade.

Chances are Governor Little is less concerned about the current case, and more worried about the precedent it sets for the future. Currently, five other inmates in the state of Idaho have requested for gender confirmation surgery. As Edmo is set to be the first person to undergo gender confirmation surgery while in custody, her victory may forge a pathway forward for others in a similar position.

Hillary Clinton’s Recent Comments About The Trans Community Highlight That She Was Never Woke As She Wanted To Be

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Hillary Clinton’s Recent Comments About The Trans Community Highlight That She Was Never Woke As She Wanted To Be

hillaryclinton / Twitter

In her decades-long political career, Hillary Clinton has proven to be slow on the pickup of her understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout her terms as First Lady, senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate, Clinton has jumped into the tepid waters of political conversation when the tides are low and the political risk factor had waned away.  While Clinton and her husband had at one time actively pursued the gay community in the 90s as an interest group during her husband’s political campaigns, she did little to stand beside the rainbow when it came to bigger civil rights issues such as same-sex marriage.

In a recent interview with the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times, Clinton proved that her lackluster approach to supporting and understanding the LGBTQ+ community prevails. 

Speaking to the Sunday Times about, Clinton described topics related to the trans community as something she is only “just learning about.”

In her interview with The Sunday Times, a media outlet that has often been slammed for its transphobic coverage and mistreatment of trans employees, Clinton claimed that she has only just learned about the concepts of being trans. 

“Errr,” Hillary said, according to the news piece “I’m just learning about this. It’s a very big generational discussion because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw.” She added, “It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.”

The reporter interviewing Clinton drew upon the former presidential candidate’s response to ask more questions that had pretty leading statements. At one point the interviewer suggested that  “a lot of British feminists of Hillary’s generation have a problem with the idea that a lesbian who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who has a penis is transphobic,” and that these “British feminists” are “uncomfortable with people who are physically male” being in the same spaces as trans women in single-gender spaces.

In response, Clinton said that she “absolutely” felt as if “there is a legitimate concern about women’s lived experience and the importance of recognizing that, and also the importance of recognizing the self-identification [of transgender people]… This is all relatively new. People are still trying to find the language for it. I think in the right mindset this can be understood, but it’s going to take some time.”

She went onto further state she felt as if people need “to be sensitive to how difficult this is. There are women who’d say [to a trans woman], ‘You know what, you’ve never had the kind of life experiences that I’ve had. So I respect who you are, but don’t tell me you’re the same as me.’ I hear that conversation all the time.”

Clinton’s comments closely mirror her responses from last month, in which she said that trans rights are “very big generational discussion.” 

In a recent interview with The View, Clinton described her decision to remain married to Bill Clinton despite his humiliating affair in the 90s as one of the gustiest moves she’d ever made. She later expounded on this saying that other gutsy decisions she’d seen others make included being in interfaith and interracial marriages and raising trans children. “Sometimes when your child has an issue—I had a friend who, a few years ago, called up and said, ‘I don’t know who to talk to about this, but my little girl wants to be a boy. What do I do?'” She recalled. “Several of us—we didn’t know what to do, we’d never had a friend who faced that before—and several of us kind of read everything, talked to people, and gave her advice. And it was really gutsy of her to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to respect the feelings of my child, as hard as it is for me to understand this.’ So, I think when the question was asked personally—everyone faces a moment of decision. And you have to reach deep down inside and decide what’s right for you to do. Hopefully, it’s reached with love and understanding, but it’s gutsy.”

Clinton’s response underlines a misunderstanding about the trans community and parenting. Truly it is a reminder that being accepting of your child and their identity is just the most basic aspect of parenting. 

Now Conservative media outlets have capitalized on Clinton’s comments to justify attacking the trans community. 

This is particularly concerning how easily conservative outlets have spun news stories in their favor and the fact that Clinton continues to espouse transphobic beliefs.

Now Conservative media outlets have capitalized on Clinton’s comments to justify attacking the trans community. 

This is particularly concerning how easily conservative outlets have spun news stories in their favor and the fact that Clinton continues to espouse transphobic beliefs.

Violent Hate Crimes Are Up And Latinos And The Transgender Community Are The Primary Targets

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Violent Hate Crimes Are Up And Latinos And The Transgender Community Are The Primary Targets

Nigel Chiwaya / Getty

Violent hate crimes in 2018 were the highest they have been in 16 years, according to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While hate crimes in general slightly decreased, the number of violent crimes significantly increased. Moreover, Latinx and trans people increasingly became targets of hate crimes. 

The FBI collected data from over 16,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies which found 7,120 hate crimes logged. This was just a 1 percent decrease from 2017. However small, being just a difference of 55 incidents, it is the first time the total number of hate crimes has gone down in four years. 

Violent hate crimes increase, while total hate crimes decrease.

Violent hate crimes, which differ from hate crimes that involve property, jumped from 4,090 to 4,571. The 12 percent jump reveals white supremacists have become increasingly emboldened. 

“This is really significant,” Brian Levin, the director for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism who analyzed the data told The Guardian.  “The more we have these derisive stereotypes broadcasted into the ether, the more people are going to inhale that toxin.”

Levin implied the popular hateful rhetorics of our time have violent outcomes for the targets of such ire. Hate crimes against Muslims and Arab-Americans, Jewish people, and Black Americans (although still the most targeted group)decreased in 2018. While hate crimes increased for Latinxs and trans people who are more frequent subjects of condemnation during the Trump administration era. 

The disabled, Latinx and trans people face higher rates of hate crimes in the Trump era.

Anti-Latinx hate crimes, the Walmart El Paso shooting being one example, increased by 14 percent jumping to 485 reports in 2018, and increasing 48 percent over five years. 

“The number of crimes targeting Muslims cratered,” Levin said. “Anti-Semitic crimes dropped. But the ones targeting Latinos increased for the third year.”

Meanwhile, trans and gender-nonconforming people saw an increase of 41 percent with 168 hate crimes reported. People with disabilities saw a 37 percent surge to 159 reports as well. 

“We’re seeing a leaner and meaner type of hate crime going on,” Levin told NPR. “Homicides were up and crimes against persons were up and that’s an important thing to look at.”

Even with this many, experts still say the FBI’s number is a “significant undercount” according to The Guardian. 

“[The President’s] white supremacist rhetoric and talking points that vilify people” are encouraging violent attacks, Jorge Gutierrez, the executive director of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, told The Guardian. “Every day, people are afraid to come together in public spaces. People are afraid to be proud of who they are.” 

Another report by the Guardian found that Latinxs were changing their behaviors as they grapple with anti-Latinx attitudes. 

“Every day when I take my daughter to school we pray. I ask God to protect her,” Lidia Carrillo, an immigrant from Mexico, said “I don’t know if I’m going to see my daughter or my husband at the end of the day.”

Other Latinxs said they went out at night to run errands when fewer people were out, they avoid crowded places, and tried to be aware of the nearest exits at all times. Others were so traumatized from hearing about the El Paso shooting they didn’t leave the house for days.

Trump’s hateful rhetoric is a part of the problem according to experts. 

Trump spread misinformation about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) saying some of them were “no angels” and many were “hardened criminals,” on the very same day the Supreme Court began to weigh in on whether to keep the program. 

“Trump has also repeatedly pushed anti-LGBT policies, and he and other Republicans have aggressively targeted trans rights and advocated for discriminatory laws,” according to the Guardian. 

What is known as the “Trump Effect” has become a solid theory with mounting evidence. The Washington Post reportedthat in 2016, counties that hosted Trump rallies saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes. Recent academic research found that just hearing Trump’s offensive rhetoric against a group of people made individuals more likely to write offensive things about such targets. It is naive to think Trump will stop when it’s the reason he garnered his support in the first place. 

“While some observers have explained Trump’s success as a result of economic anxiety, the data demonstrate that anti-immigrant sentiment, racism, and sexism are much more strongly related to support for Trump,” Vanessa Williamson and Isabella Gelfand wrote for the Brookings Institute

“Trump did not do especially well with non-college-educated whites, compared to other Republicans. He did especially well with white people who express sexist views about women and who deny racism exists.”