Inside the gay and transgender wing at the Los Angeles County jail

Transgender Remembrance Day

By Melanie Nathan, November, 20, 2014.

 Rita Hester
In Memory of Rita Hester

Today is Transgender Remembrance Day. It is the day we come together to remember violence perpetrated against the transgender community, so many brutally beaten, murdered and persecuted out of hate and fear of a difference which people do not understand. The latter no excuse, and a call for more education and awareness.

This day, November 20th was founded in 1998 by transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize Rita Hester, a transgender murder victim in Allston, Massachusetts. TDOR has been held in more than 185 cities and in more than 20 countries around the world.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith reports on the Human Rights Campaign website that “over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.”

Here is somewhat of a positive story that I thought I would share today, as we hope for more awareness in all aspects of gender based violence, including the vile persecution of transgender people in prisons and detention centers across the country:

Inside the gay and transgender wing at the Los Angeles County jail as reported by VOX:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Men’s Central Jail has a one-of-a-kind wing for gay and transgender inmates — and it’s so popular that corrections officers actually have to test inmates on their sexuality to keep straight men out.

As the inmates described it in an in-depth report and video from LA Weekly, the wing gives gay and transgender prisoners a chance to express themselves freely without worrying about the politics and judgement (and often violence) that are prevalent in other parts of the Los Angeles jail.

The inmates’ creativity and relative freedom can be seen in their altered prison gear. They often cut up sheets into dresses and underwear and dye clothes with candies like Skittles. Some show off their creations by walking through impromptu runways between beds, as other inmates cheer them on.

“We make the best of it,” said Dino Baglioni, an inmate. “But there’s a lot of sadness as well. Incarceration is just not easy on us at all.”

Read more on: http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/11/19/7246889/LGBT-LA-Central-Jail


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