The Bent Bars Collective has issued a statement in response to public discussion following the recent deaths of two transwomen in prison, Vicky Thompson and Joanne Latham.
We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Vicky Thompson in Leeds prison on 13th November 2015 and the death of Joanne Latham in Woodhill prison on 27th November 2015. These apparent suicides, at least one of which was in direct response to being incarcerated in a sexgender inappropriate prison, represent significant losses in our trans* communities. Although we were not in communication with Vicky or Joanne, their situations are familiar to us and have resonances with the experiences of many trans* and sexgender nonconforming people in prison who contact the Bent Bars Project.
We wish to extend our condolences to both Vicky’s and Joanne’s loved ones and to all those affected by their deaths. These are losses that have been felt and mourned across our broad communities.
We are heartened by the public response of concern in the aftermath of these women’s deaths. Too often, issues faced by prisoners are neglected, ignored or sensationalised in the media. So it is crucial that the wider public be made aware of what is happening in our prisons in order for these issues to be properly addressed. At the same time, we feel the focus of discussions needs to be widened to address larger issues surrounding the incarceration of trans* people specifically and the harms of imprisonment more generally...[To continue reading, please click here].
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Bent Bars collective member, Chryssy Hunter spoke at a public screening of the Award-winning film 'Out in the Night' - about the New Jersey Four.Photo from left to right: Gloria Morrison, Raju Rage, CampbellX, Chryssy Hunter, Stephanie Davis, Eddie Bruce-Jones.
About Bent Bars:
The Bent Bars Project is a letter-writing project for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, gender-variant, intersex, and queer prisoners in Britain. The project aims to develop stronger connections and build solidarity between LGBTQ communities outside and inside prison walls.
Although many overtly homophobic and transphobic laws have been recently overturned in Britain, the criminal justice system continues to target and criminalize queer, trans and gender non-conforming people. We don’t know exactly how many LGBTQ people are currently behind bars, but we do know queer, trans and gender non-conforming people, particularly those from poor backgrounds and communities of colour, are disproportionately funneled into the prison system as a result of systemic discrimination, inequality and social exclusion. We also know that queer, trans and gender non-conforming people are often subject to increased isolation, harassment, violence and assault when in prison.
Bent Bars aims to work in solidarity with prisoners by sharing resources, providing mutual support and drawing public attention to the struggles of queer and trans people behind bars.
Poster Design by A-K Pirata