From the Philadelphia Daily News:
[Jovanie] Saldana, 23, a transgender woman, spent the last 14 months incarcerated at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city’s only female prison.
The past tense is not because she’s been released, but because she’s now a sex toy for the occupants of the men’s facility.
Of course, she had already involuntarily become a sex toy for a man – a guard at the women’s facility. Interestingly, the authorities only discovered Saldana’s lack of SRS:
after launching an investigation into Saldana’s complaint of being forced into oral sex with a corrections officer, sources said. During that probe, investigators recorded Saldana’s phone conversations and overheard the inmate’s mother chiding Saldana into telling authorities the truth about Saldana’s gender, a source said.
Since then, Saldana, of Water Street near Venango, has been transferred to a male prison, prisons spokeswoman Shawn Hawes said.
Of course not – NOT.
Bear in mind, of course, everyone here is innocent until proven guilty – both the guard and Saldana (contrary to the Rick Perry’s Disease that spurs people who should have enough of an interest in the issue to think the matter further through than to reflexively respond with prattle like “cant do the time, dont do the crime” and “several felonies!!! yeh, good citizen,” Saldana is only currently charged with, not convicted of, the crimes.) But, some people in 21st Century Corporatist America are more presumed-innocent than others.
And, some media outlets in 21st Century Corporatist America are more apt to repeat bullshit as unchallengeable fact than others.
Take the Philadelphia Daily News, for example.
Lorenzo North, president of the union representing corrections officers, declined to discuss the officers’ failure to perform the required cavity searches.
I have no problem with that sentence.
“I don’t know how [Saldana] got through,” North said, adding that all inmates should be searched. “If you don’t strip-search somebody thoroughly, then you’re not 100 percent sure of getting whatever [contraband] that inmate has. He may have something up his butt.”
I have no problem with that sentence either.
But North claimed the goof proved that the officer whom Saldana accused of sexual abuse is innocent.
I guess that at the end of the day one might be able to look back on whatever investigation that occurs and say that one ultimately led to the other – with, hopefully, at least some minimal legitimate investigative steps in between.
But what exactly is the implication here?
Is it that while Saldana was presumed by the authorities to be a womyn-born-womyn, the charge against the guard was believable, but now that the authorities know her to be a pre-op transsexual (or – clutch your pearls! – merely ‘transgender’) it isn’t – perhaps, for example, because, hypothetically, the guard in question has a record of coercing oral sex only from people he knows not to possess a pee pee?
Is it shoddy editing on the part of PDN?
Or is it PDN not giving a shit about incarcerated trans women and/or whether someone who has merely been charged with but not convicted of a crime has any rights at all?
You be the judge based on this passage:
A source close to the prison system, who asked not to be identified, complained that the slip-up “jeopardized a lot of women over there [at Riverside],” adding that Saldana tallied at least two infractions for fighting with other inmates during Saldana’s stint in the female jail.
Because no non-trans woman has ever initiated (which, clearly, is what PDN wants the reader to believe is the case with Saldana) or been on the short end of (which, clearly, is what PDN wants the reader to believe could not possibly have been the case with Saldana) a fight, eh? And because no fight could possibly be non-sexual in nature, eh?
You also be the judge based on the opening paragraphs of the story:
GET NAKED, squat and cough.
That’s what inmates are supposed to do when they enter the Philadelphia prisons, at least those charged with felonies, or who are drunk or acting suspiciously.
The exercise expels whatever contraband they could be concealing up their keisters. In the rare cases in which authorities aren’t sure if they have a John or a Jane, it also would confirm the inmate’s gender.
But Jovanie Saldana, of Kensington, somehow suckered the system.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Suckered the system?
Now she’s getting to sucker a guard’s cock! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
PDN – keepin’ it classy.
Now, the big question….
We support the following definition of “gender identity – a person’s identification with the sex opposite her or his physiology or assigned sex at birth, which can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of a transsexual medical condition, or related condition, as deemed medically necessary by the American Medical Association.” Such a definition would protect the classification of sex, while simultaneously providing a cause of action for discriminatory practices on the basis of a persistent and documented “gender identity.” We welcome people who fit into this definition into space segregated by sex in recognition of their perceived need for access and in the fervent hope that we can achieve such protection for identifiably transgender or transsexual people without harming females.
I personally accept women of transgender and transsexual experience as women.
Would attorney Brennan and/or attorney Hungerford represent Saldana in an effort to remain in the women’s facility?
Oh, don’t be so quick to answer.
The transphobia – it can run deep.
Lets think back to Crystal Schwenk’s lawsuit against the Washington State Prison system – and, more importantly, the role that guard Robert Mitchell played in it.
Douglas (Crystal) Schwenk asserts that she is a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual who plans someday to obtain sex reassignment surgery. Schwenk testified that she realized that she was psychologically female by the age of 12, and that she used illegally-obtained female hormones prior to incarceration, although she never received any medical or psychiatric treatment for gender dysphoria, the technical diagnosis for transsexuality. According to Schwenk, she considers herself female and has been known as “Crystal Marie” since early adolescence.
Does that fall into: “including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of a transsexual medical condition”? Now, as for…
Entitlement to sex-segregated spaces on the basis of ‘gender identity’ discrimination refers specifically to civil rights causes of action. This may be a difficult distinction for the non-lawyer to make, however, we do not address criminal searches & seizures, aka ‘panty checks,’ per the Fourth Amendment–which applies to government actors.
Well, we’ve already learned that Hungerford either doesn’t give a shit about how nonsensical that statement is or she’s a dangerously incompetent attorney. But, even putting aside the Fourth…what about the Eighth, E?
Now, while you’re thinking about those two questions do keep something in mind: Unlike Saldana currently, Schwenk at the time of her case actually had been convicted of a crime (and, there’s no way around the reality that if she actually did what she was convicted of, then she ‘s not a particularly nice person – but, for the time being, lets resist the temptation to snort a big load of Brennan-Hungerford-amine to reinforce your conviction that no trans woman can ever be a nice person and that no non-trans woman can ever not be a nice person, and lets try to imagine an America in which forced sexual enslavement is not an accepted aspect of the penal system) and was in a men’s facility – though that classification was not what she was suing over. Rather, there are rudimentary similarities to Saldana’s complaint.
In June of 1993, Schwenk was incarcerated in the all-male Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. In September of 1994, she was transferred to the prison’s medium security Baker Unit, where Robert Mitchell was employed as a guard. Mitchell recalls that shortly after Schwenk arrived at Baker Unit, other inmates told him that Schwenk was homosexual. Mitchell admits that soon after that, Schwenk told him that she intended to have a sex change operation after her release from prison, and that she repeated this assertion to him “from time to time.” Schwenk testified that she also told other prison officials that she was transsexual. According to Schwenk, Mitchell referred to her as Crystal, not Douglas.
Schwenk alleges that shortly after she arrived in Baker Unit, Mitchell subjected her to an escalating series of unwelcome sexual advances and harassment that culminated in a sexual assault. This harassment began with “winking, performing explicit actions imitating oral sex, making obscene and threatening comments, watching Plaintiff in the shower while ‘grinding’ his hand on his crotch area, and repeatedly demanding that Plaintiff engage in sexual acts with him.” Then, in late 1994, Mitchell asked Schwenk to have sex with him in the staff bathroom, offering to bring her make-up and “girl stuff” in exchange for sex. When she refused and attempted to walk away, Mitchell grabbed her and groped her buttocks. Schwenk pushed him away and ran back to her cell crying. Later that day, Mitchell again approached Schwenk and told her that he had had oral sex with a former inmate and planned to have sex with his neighbor’s young son, who he claimed to be “grooming” for the experience. Schwenk, who testified that she was sexually abused as a child, became terrified of Mitchell and tried to avoid him as much as possible after that. She testified that:
Once Mitchell told me that I-I freaked. I just started trying to avoid Mitchell because I knew that-I had a feeling that he might be dangerous ․ that he could be personally dangerous to me. I live in a unit where this man controls my every day essential life. That’s why I was afraid to tell anybody, even the lieutenants or anybody that came into the unit because I didn’t know if word was going to get back to Mitchell.
Shortly thereafter, Schwenk says that Mitchell entered her cell, saw that they were alone, and demanded that Schwenk perform oral sex on him. Schwenk refused and told him to get out. Mitchell then turned and looked behind him to make sure no one was coming, unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis, and again demanded that Schwenk perform oral sex. She again rebuffed him and again told him to leave. Although Mitchell said he would leave, he did not. Instead, according to Schwenk, Mitchell closed the door to her cell, grabbed her, turned her around forcibly, pushed her against the bars, and began grinding his exposed penis into her buttocks. Schwenk testified that she told him to “get off me Mitchell, leave me alone, get out of my house. And he-he didn’t listen to me.” Schwenk alleges that Mitchell ignored her struggling and continued to forcibly rub his penis against her, saying “oh baby, I knew you’d be good.” The attack only stopped, according to Schwenk, when Mitchell, apparently fearing detection, abruptly pushed away from Schwenk, zipped up his pants, and left hastily.
Later that week, Mitchell again demanded sex from Schwenk, who again refused. Mitchell told her that if she did not submit, he would “cross [her] out and send [her] inside to seg, give [her] a new address.” Schwenk testified that she interpreted Mitchell’s threat to cross her out to mean that he would get her “infracted” and transferred out of the medium security Baker Unit into the main cell house, where she would be at high risk for sexual attack by other inmates. On January 11, 1995, this in fact happened. Schwenk’s cell was stripped, and an illegal tattoo gun made out of a ball-point pen was discovered. As a result, she lost some accumulated good time credit and was sent to segregation for 28 days. In addition, she was moved to a multi-man cell in the maximum security Unit 6 of the main institution, where she “live[d] in a constant state of fear and anxiety,” wondering whether she would be raped or otherwise assaulted.
The argument put forth as to why Mitchell (read: the prison system) should not even have to suffer the indignity of defending against Schwenk’s charges was that: “Schwenk’s allegations constitute at worst ‘same-sex sexual harassment’ and not sexual assault.”
I can only imagine how eager the Exterminationism Twins would be to jump into the Saldana case – just to emphasize the term “same-sex.”
I leave it to all of you to imagine which side of the case they’d jump in on.
After all, a woman assistant attorney general was listed as representing Mitchell and the other state actors in Schwenk’s case – and there’s no indication that anyone seemed to give a damn that if the rationale put forth in defense of Mitchell, namely that the acts described even if true were not sexual assault but merely sexual harassment, had succeeded then from that point forward anyone charged in the State of Washington with any degree of attempted sexual assault would have been able to make the legal claim that their actions were not covered under sexual assault statutes but, instead, were merely harassment.
The transphobia – it runs deep….
like currents in the Atlantic Ocean running from off the coast of Massachusetts to off the coast of Maryland….
and back again.