Trans-identifying people & Prison

Some more research about Scottish Prisons; who employed a researcher to draft reports justifying, I would argue, their policy of allowing self-identifying males to be housed in the female estate. This researcher had also undertaken research into the females forced into mixed sex spaces. You can read about their experiences here:

Female & ”Transgender” Inmates

This research paper covers his work with trans-identifying prisoners. They were overwhelmingly male. The first paper he published, on this group, can be read here 👇

Maycock pains trans prisoners

He followed this up with another paper on the same subjects so I will cover that next. Matthew begins by referencing the paper, linked below, covering female experiences in the prison system.

Women in Prison:

Women in Prison

This paper focuses on sex differences in prison experiences. The researchers reported that the experiences of the female prisoners were so harrowing those conducting the interviews were left ”reeling”.

It is well worth reading the entire paper to get a sense the ways in which the female experience of prison is materially different to that of male prisoners. One of the key deprivations the women highlight is loss of privacy.This makes it all the more astounding women have been forced into mixed sex spaces. Here is another quote from that paper:

Matthew references this paper but his comment concentrates on the fact it is not inclusive of self-proclaimed ”women”.

Wrong Hall. Wrong Clothes.

The contrast between the experiences of female prisononers and the travails of the transgender prisoners is stark. The incidents considered ”transphobic abuse” were linked to the need for validation in an opposite sex identity. The title of the study gives a flavour of the sources of pain for these prisoners. These were being housed according to their biological sex and not having access to opportunities to ”perform” a new gender identity.

The sample interviewed is set out below:

The females, who identify as men, are held in the female estate. The Scottish Prison Service claims Gender Identity takes primacy, in terms of prison location, but recognises the vulnerability of females to sexual assault, in the male estate. It is also significant that of the males there are 5 held in the female estate, 5 were assessed as too high risk and a further prisoner was segregated. This is very much a pattern reflective of biological sex not ”identity”. Notice also that the SPS operate on a self-identified basis and include ”social transition” as valid. Here’s what the paper had to say about the risk assessed males: This was also described as a source of ”pain”.

Here is a summary of the kind of pain unique to the experience of transgender prisoners:

The key issues identified are not having access to the estate housing the opposite sex, misgendering, misnaming and transphobia. Since we already know, from the women’s accounts, some of these men were fully intact, bearded males, who re-identified with their sex on release, is it any wonder that some were ”misgendered”?

The author makes much of the concept of “authenticity” or the ”real deal”. Some of the pain attributed to the community centres on a lack of available opportunity to display your ”gender” and have it recognised by others. Here one prisoner outlines their experience and the role of the prison staff. Assessing motivations for transition would seem to be an essential part of any risk assessment but here it is approached as insensitivity on the part of the prison staff. A healthy degree of suspicion would seem to be an essential attribute when dealing with incarcerated criminals. 🤷‍♂️

This prisoner is half right. Your personal identity is your own business right up to the point when you demand we participate in your identity and that the world be reorganised to validate your self-perception. Then it becomes a societal issue.

Here the author raises the issue of disparity of treatment between the women and the females with a male identity. He is avoiding the issue here. The trans-identified males are held in the female estate because of the danger of sexual assault from males. The rest of the women were given no such consideration when they were allocated to mixed sex spaces.

I am struggling to muster up the prescribed amount of empathy for the deprivations described here. Maybe I am non-binary? Why is the prison service pandering to this level of entitlement and narcissism?

There are quite a few quotes in a similar vein. What strikes me is how much is bound up with a performance with all the stereotypical expectations of what makes a woman. Clothes, hair and make-up do not a woman make!

The prison is described as undermining the transition journey by not supplying the accoutrements, deemed necessary, to perform femininity. Maycock frames this as an abuse of prison power. This is what we call ”transperbole”.

Many of the quotes relate to lack of progress in their transition because they are unable to access hormones on line, as they had done outside. Appointments at Gender Clinics are difficult to arrange and one even complains he didn’t get enough notice to ”get ready”.

A number of the prisoners raise the issue of lack of role models for their social transition because they are not able to mix with their target sex. This makes it clear that the women are being treated as validation aids and expected to behave as support humans.

Here is another quote from a female. How are you really a ”man” if you have to copy men to learn how to do it? How is any of this authentic? What is a ”proper man”?

Here an inmate claims they can’t learn to perform their ”gender” from prison officers of their target sex. It has to be prisoners. Why? Are the female prison officers not performing their gender accurately?

The study then covers issues of social isolation, lack of support from families, some of whom are unaware of the new gender identity, and missing LGBT support groups from the outside. There are mixed feelings about ”Transgender” wings which don’t provide sufficient opportunities to mix with the target sex.

There are also mixed views about how safe it is to be transgender whilst in custody. One male shares an in incident where he was subject to sexualised comments about his “breasts” and penis. Another shared an anecdote about an aggressive female:

It is noticeable that these incidents are taken at face value. This in marked contrast to any tales of aggressive or sexually inappropriate behaviour shared by the females, in Maycock’s previous paper. In that paper he was skeptical often juxtaposing another women’s comment which undercut the testimony. The author says these tales are typical of the transphobic abuse meted out to the prisoners but does note an absence of transphobic violence or sexual abuse. Note that some females have actually been raped/sexually assaulted by male prisoners who were allocated to the female estate.

The report suggests that the lack of transphobic abuse is because the prison authorities respond to reports of transphobia and report any prisoner found to have indulged in this. These reports can result in time added onto sentences. I suspect Maycock sees this as positive but I find it deeply sinister, especially if correctly sexing someone comes under that heading. And it clearly does: 👇

Maycock then ties himself in knots about the issue of reporting other prisoners. Snitching is seen as something bound up with femininity so the trans-identified males don’t mind reporting because it validated their “identity”. I find the logic here quite torturous. The transgender person here would appear to be able to unleash the prison authorities on other prisoners. This looks more like an act of male dominance to me.

The author does not report all his findings in this paper as he is intending to publish another one. He does manage to throw in a reference to biological essentialism which none of these queer theorists appear to understand.

We are not saying that women have to be nurturing, emotional support humans who demonstrate their maternal instincts at every opportunity. We are just saying sex matters and is a reliable indicator for male pattern violence and sex offending. The amount of time Maycock uses the word ”support” in relation to what he expects of women, vis a vis transgender prisoners, is very revealing. He seems to have very stereotypical expectations about women and how men need make-up, hair and clothes to perform their authentic self.

I will leave you with this observation by Frances Crook of the Prison reform organisation , the Howard League.

You can support my work here:

Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women’s rights, gay rights and hoping to stop the Gender Industrial Complex before we have any more detransitioners.


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