Vaginal Discourse

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[Trigger warning for transphobia and prisoner abuse]

Back in 2006, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 105, the “Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act”. [Good thing we had a Democratic governor at the time. Whoops!]

The act banned the state from providing trans* prisoners hormone therapy or surgery.

This happened at the exact same time I was struggling to secure medical care for myself. It was nice to know that three blocks away from my house, my bosses at The State of Wisconsin were willing to spend their time demonizing folks like me.

I thought about this a lot as I drove down the Northwest Tollway to Chicago, where the Chicago Cubs were graciously paying for my tits*, and the State of Illinois was patiently holding my semen.

After I spent a substantial amount of time, money, and emotional energy getting things squared away, I recall writing** state legislators:

Hey assholes,

I’ve given my life to eating jello salad, protecting your crops, and teaching your children, and you fuckers are having the people of Illinois subsidize my medical bills? Nice work.


PS: To hell with the Packers.

Needless to say, I had a car, and a job, and a studio apartment that was not a prison cell. So, unlike three trans* women that sued the state when the Department of Corrections took away their hormones, I had options.

A while back, a court sided with the trans* women in ruling Act 105 unconstitutional. Because the State of Wisconsin would rather spend bazillions of dollars defending its bigotry than actually shelling out a few thousand bucks a year on life and money saving drugs, the state appealed.

Today the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the earlier ruling in favor of current and future trans* inmates. Snippets from [TW] the ruling are below.

“Prison officials violate the Eighth Amendment’s pro-scription against cruel and unusual punishment when they display ‘deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners.’” Greeno v. Daley , 414 F.3d 645, 652-53(7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 104(1976)).

In this case, the district court held that plaintiffs suffered from a serious medical need, namely GID [Gender Identity Disorder], and that defendants acted with deliberate indifference in that defendants knew of the serious medical need but refused to provide hormone therapy because of Act 105.

Surely, had the Wisconsin legislature passed a law that DOC [Department of Corrections] inmates with cancer must be treated only with therapy and painkillers, this court would have no trouble concluding that the law was unconstitutional. Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no valid penological purpose and amounts to torture. [Emphasis mine]


*In that the Cubs are a major donor Howard Brown, the LGBT health center where I received my script. It’s not that Ron Santo took me shopping or anything.

**My memory’s not the greatest, so this is slightly paraphrased.

5| August 2011

I know this is a little off topic, but I haven’t been able to find the answer on Shakesville. What’s the reasoning behind the asterisk in trans*? All-inclusiveness?

5| August 2011

Yeah, basically. So a good explanation is to be found on Practical Androgyny:

To be honest, I *don’t* particularly like “trans*” but I also try to put footnotes in my writing that when I say “trans” I mean it in the widest sense & if I just mean “transsexual” I’ll just say “transsexual”.

18| August 2011

Thanks! I actually forgot I asked this question until just now. Will bookmark the link for later perusal. I’m going a little cross-eyed from internet reading right now.

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