The Huffington Post: Putting Prisons on the LGBT Agenda
This is a great article by Harper Jean Tobin of The National Center for Transgender Equality on how queers, and particularly trans* folk, have been an continue to be uniquely affected by the criminal justice system. As we at CSJ firmly believe, the mainstream gay advocates in power right now have ignored the horrifying ways that queers are criminalized for way too long. We need to change the conversation. Thankfully articles like this are trickling into the media.
A history of systemic bias, abuse, and profiling toward LGBT people by law enforcement has contributed to disproportionate contacts with the justice system. Moreover, while people may find themselves in jail or prison for many reasons, people who are poor are more likely to be imprisoned, and LGBT people are disproportionately poor. It’s therefore not surprising to find that LGBT people are more likely to end up behind bars. While an estimated 4-8 percent of youth are LGBT, a major study found that as many as 13-15 percent of youth in detention are LGBT. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 16 percent of transgender adults have been in a prison or jail for some reason. This compares with 2.7 percent of all U.S. adults who studies say have been in prison during their lives, and 10.2 percent of all U.S. adults who have ever been under any kind of criminal justice supervision, including probation. Transgender people, especially the poor and trans people of color, report facing harassment, discriminatory arrests, and assault by police at alarming rates.” (source)