A Non-Trans Female Prisoner Segregated As Male
Simmering just out of media view for most of us news watchers outside of Washington DC is a story about Virginia Grace Soto. She’s a natal female, yet she was housed with male inmates for two days in a DC jail.
DC’s Metro Weekly reported this about the story:
Despite being strip searched and having female genitalia, Soto’s androgynous appearance led to assumptions that placed the 47-year-old in a male facility where she had to shower with four other men. Her pleas to be moved to a female facility were repeatedly ignored.
Anonymous government sources shared an internal report with The Washington Post last week, which reported that D.C. officials plan to fire three corrections officers involved in the mix up.
But that’s simply not enough, says local transgender activist Ruby Corado, who says she hears stories like Soto’s all the time.
”It’s the perfect example of how not having a plan on how to deal with individuals that do not fit in the binary gender of this society, of being male or female, creates [problems],” she says.
The Washington Post reported three were to be fired over the mix-up:
Virginia Grace Soto, 47, was arrested July 14 and thought to be a man despite her repeated protests otherwise, according to two internal reports by D.C. police and the Department of Corrections obtained by the Washington Post.
Although Soto came in contact with at least nine jail employees, only three are being terminated. Government sources wouldn’t disclose their names yesterday, but one was said to be a supervisor.
The corrections officers “failed to comply [with] standard intake search policies as mandated,” a 73 – page internal report by the Corrections Department says.
“We want to send a signal that this behavior will not be tolerated,” said a high-ranking D.C. government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the termination proceedings are underway. “They should have taken the right precautions to verify the sex of person. And she should have been treated with a lot more respect.”
It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine how this prisoner felt after being segregated into a facility for the wrong sex.
If it was bad for Virinia Grace Soto, imagine being a jailed pre-operative or non-operative transperson. Being segregated into the wrong facility is what happens to all pre-operative or non-operative transpeople whenever jailed or imprisoned.
Again, It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine how transgender prisoners feel after being segregated into a facility for the wrong sex; it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how many transpeople are treated by law enforcement in general.