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Transgender prisoner files complaint over alleged mistreatment

Patrick Kelleher May 3, 2019
Transgender prisoner files complaint over alleged mistreatment

Transgender prisoner Michelle Wiens has filed a human rights complaint over alleged mistreatment in a Canadian prison (Pexels)

A transgender woman in British Columbia, Canada, has filed a human rights complaint over alleged mistreatment from staff at Surrey’s pretrial jail.

Michelle Wiens claimed that staff denied her request to be transferred to a women’s prison after she told them about her gender identity.

She said they also housed her with a male roommate, according to CityNews1130.

Michelle Wiens said her application for women’s clothes was denied

Furthermore, Wiens claimed in her complaint that she was put in solitary confinement because she didn’t know she was allowed to apply for a transfer. Her application to be given women’s clothes was also allegedly denied.

She also alleged that she was denied privacy in bathrooms and showers and that staff insistently used the wrong pronouns when referring to her.

Her application to be given women’s clothes was allegedly denied.

However, staff at the prison say that Wiens did not make her gender identity clear when she arrived at the prison in November 2017.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will hear her case and make a judgement about whether her claims are accurate.

Another transgender inmate made a human rights complaint in Canada in March

There have been a number of high-profile cases across the world of transgender prisoners being imprisoned in institutions that are not in line with their gender identity.

In March, another Canadian transgender woman, Hayden Patterson, filed a human rights complaint after she claimed she was sexually assaulted and had her gender identity discarded by staff at Surrey pretrial jail.

Patterson was eventually transferred to a women’s prison, Alouette Correction Centre. She has also made a complaint about that institution, as she said they placed a series of “restrictions on how she may express her gender.”

Transgender prisoner files complaint over alleged mistreatment
Transgender prisoner Michelle Wiens has filed a human rights complaint over her alleged mistreatment (Pexels)

Meanwhile, a high-profile case in the US saw Strawberry Hampton allegedly sexually assaulted by both guards and fellow inmates in a men’s prison.

She was finally moved to a women’s prison last December, and told the Chicago Tribune at the time: “At the end of the day, I’m safe here, I feel good. I don’t have to worry about someone trying to attack me for being a woman.”

Connecticut’s government changed its laws to respect transgender inmates’ gender identities

Most countries still imprison people based on their legal gender or the gender they were assigned at birth—an experience that can be traumatising for transgender inmates and can put them in danger.

Last year, Connecticut’s government changed its laws to respect inmates’ gender identities. Inmates in that state are now housed in prisons that match their gender identity.

More: Americas, British Columbia, Canada, Canada, human rights complaint, michelle wiens, prisoner, Transgender prisoner

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