A female trans prisoner has written to the UK parliament stating she is mistreated in prison and suicidal.
It contains chilling echoes of the case of Vicky Thompson, found dead in prison on 13 November, just a week after this letter was published by the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into transgender issues.
It raises serious questions about the claim by Prisons Minister, Andrew Selous MP, that Britain’s Ministry of Justice has correct concern for the welfare of trans prisoners.
Selous’ insistence that trans prisoners are treated correctly is already in the spotlight following Thompson’s death, the case of trans woman Tara Hudson who was sent to a men’s jail last month and his own anti-LGBTI voting record.
This new letter has been published by the parliamentary inquiry into trans issues, as part of the evidence it received.
In it, an individual claiming to be in custody explains she has been advised by Trans support organization, Press for Change, to write to the inquiry – although she does not expect their letter to be read.
The inquiry withheld the name of the person who wrote the letter and details of the prison she is in – although she states it’s a male prison, despite her being ‘legally female’.
She makes alleges she has been the victim of rape, sexual assault and deliberate withholding of hormones while in a UK prison.
She also makes clear she is suicidal.
After explaining she has been blocked from access to all means to effect transition, including clothes, make-up and hormones, she writes: ‘My safety is constantly at risk.
‘I’m legally female, the equality governor [name withheld] is constantly out to hurt me and states I’m a freak, there are no equality reps or LGBT reps. I have no access to help or other transgender people.’
She adds: ‘I’m so close to ending my life. Now [name withheld] is so horrid, and even though I’ve been raped/sexually assaulted they put me on VP [vulnerable persons] sex offender’s wing, they are mad here.
‘I have gone through hell and have begged them to please move me to a female estate. If I had already been there I would not have been raped and assaulted, I’m so down and alone.’
Gay Star News has asked the following questions:
- Do members of the parliamentary inquiry responsible for taking evidence believe this letter is genuine?
- Are they aware of the identity of the letter writer and, given the clear suggestion that this person has considered committing suicide, have they alerted the Ministry of Justice?
And most serious of all:
- Was this letter written by Vicky Thompson who, as was revealed last week, was found dead in prison following publication of this letter?
- If this letter was written by Vicky Thompson, will they forward it to the relevant authorities now carrying out an inquiry into the circumstances of her death?
There is no way GSN can currently identify who wrote the letter or definitely link this letter with the death of Thompson. An inquest into her death is still to rule if it was suicide or another cause.
Gay Star News has raised all of the above with the relevant authorities and is awaiting a response.
In a statement to Gay Star News, a spokesperson for the Women and Equalities Committee said: ‘We do know the individual’s identity and are certain it is from a genuine prisoner, not Vicky Thompson.
‘While we are not able to take up individual cases, we take our responsibilities to witnesses very seriously and have put the individual in touch with people who can help her.
‘The individual is in contact with a support organization for trans people. The Ministry of Justice is also aware of the case and the prison Governor has spoken to her about her evidence to our Committee. We have also given the individual the details of her constituency MP.’