Spain – convicted trans woman transferred to women’s prison after 11 years

June 10, 2009

flag of SpainThis report (via Momento 24 and Typically Spanish) saddens and infuriates me in equal measure:

A transsexual who was sentenced in 1998 for raping a woman has now been transferred to the women’s section of Alhaurín de la Torre prison.

(Via Typically Spanish)

Spot the inconsistencies in the reporting there? “A transsexual”? I use the term transsexual as an adjective, not a noun, so straight away I’m seeing ungendering.

Diario Sur reports that the change in her cell was authorised by the Málaga Provincial Court, despite opposition from the prosecutors’ office, after it was verified that she figured as a woman in the civil registry.

In other words, it’s taken her 11 years to obtain the court’s recognition that she is legally a woman.

Also, the district attorney’s office contributes with “multiple medical reports” that reveal the repeated denial to submit him [sic] to an intervention of sex change after to be diagnosed with personality disorder in which “the alteration of the sexual identity is one more symptom and not a real transsexualism”.

(Via Momento 24)

Which seems to be saying that her assertion that she’s trans was rejected because the medical reports didn’t back it up. This is how medicine is used to define, pathologise and marginalise us.

Needless to say, the prosecution lawyers still don’t accept the decision:

The prosecutors’ office say the decision is ‘incoherent’ as the transsexual still has masculine genitals, and the victims of her crimes, a rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence, have always been women. They also note she has repeatedly refused to undergo a sex change operation.

(Via Typically Spanish)

I would argue that the incoherency arises from the way cis society views us, the nature/nurture dichotomy. The reference to her genitals I consider to be not only unnecessarily intrusive but also essentialist and fundamentally cissexist. In addition, there is a clear lack of understanding that trans people’s gender dissonance varies from person to person. Not all trans women consider surgery to be necessary to their successful management of their condition.

Note, also, the trans-misogynist implication that trans women are “really men”, and that only men carry out the crimes of which she has been convicted.

The Hearing argues that his [sic] genitals are “atrophic”, therefore he [sic] cannot be considering “an issue of danger”.

(Via Momento 24)

Interesting that the report quotes the word “atrophic”. I wonder if this is as a result of longer-term estrogen therapy. Note also the unspoken assumption that there is only penile rape.

The recluse, native of Línea de Concepcion, managed in 2008 to register himself [sic] with woman’s name and feminine sex in the Civil Record of San Fernando (Cadiz) and initiated the steps to obtain his [sic] transfer to the women’s jail.

(Via Momento 24)

So it took 10 years to obtain legal recognition of her gender identity – and a further year for the courts to reach their decision.

It’s deeply upsetting to learn that a trans woman has served 11 years in a cis men’s prison. I can’t even begin to imagine the damage that must have done to her. Apparently, for no other reason than that she’s trans, the authorities decided the statutory punishment wasn’t enough.

And it infuriates me that, in our so-called enlightened times, our politicians, law makers and enforcers are so ruled by their own irrational fears that they will happily subject trans women to such extremes of legitimised transphobic hatred and violence.

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