I am perpetually amazed by the hypocrisy I find within the DoC. You’d think I’d get used to it, but no. Continually surprised.
Due to the PREA standards, female DoC employees that enter the living units of inmates are required to announce themselves by yelling something along the lines of “female on the tier” or having the booth officer make a similar announcement over the PA system.
Just to name it. This seems super degrading and never fails to illicit some disgusting comments from a few of the “men” in their cells.
Well, I noticed that none of the female unit counselors do this. Knowing that the unit manager is a rules stickler, I asked my counselor how she managed to get him to let her not do that (This was a little over a year ago).
She told me that she and her fellow counselors found a loophole. “Female identified” people have to announce themselves. Thus, by claiming to be gender nonconforming, she and her fellow counselors no longer have to listen to the sexual harassment of a bunch of gutter-slag boys.
To be perfectly clear, up to this point I’m on board with this. If a cisgender heterosexual woman wants to say she’s gender nonconforming to not be verbally abused, great! Welcome to the queer club, can I get you a rainbow pin?
However, the next part is where I begin to have a problem with this situation.
Every six months I have a trans housing review. The purpose of which is for myself and my counselor to fill out a bunch of paperwork that covers various topics that are relevant to my being a trans gal in a men’s prison. This is the time for me to break down problems I’m having that would otherwise fall through the cracks. Like showers, housing, pat-searches, sexual harassment, access to feminine hygiene items on store, clothing and property needs, et cetera and ad nausium. She types up a report based on what we discuss that, I assume, goes into my central file and is then never viewed by another human being for any reason, ever.
Well, my counselor does not see my complaint about the usage of proper pronouns to be valid and therefore does not record it. The closest thing I get to a concession on this point is her not using “he/him” pronouns in the report.
After it’s typed but before it’s submitted we go through it and make sure it’s accurate. During that process I will point out each usage of a “he/him” pronoun and she will then change it to my last name, Kim, because using “they/them” pronouns in the report is also off the table for no apparent reason.
At this point, I’m not okay with this. Just overall. Something is not right here. If a cisgender person is getting a benefit from the existence of queer categories like “gender nonconforming,” there is a reasonable expectation on the part of queer folks that the aforementioned cisgender person will give, at minimum, the people living a life that makes those categories a thing some measure of human dignity.
Just a thought. As always, I may be expecting a bit much of an oppressive patriarchal system. At least, that’s what my counselor tells me, that I “expect a little too much.”