If you have read the Alexis Giraldo story in San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter or the Bay Area Guardian article last year about extremely high rates of transwomen being incarcerated ( 1 in 3 according to the SF Dept of Public Health), then you have some idea of what transgender people endure in prison…and in leaving prison still retain the memories of cruelties. But very few people are even aware that the vast majority of transgender women go to prison for nonviolent crimes such as drug possession and prostitution. Even fewer people have the opportunity to hear from a transgender former prisoner herself.
To expand society’s views and definitions of “transgender issues” and to push for serious changes in how the so-called criminal justice system impacts transgender women, the Tran/Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project has initiated a digital media program that provides former prisoners who are transgender people of color the training and
means to telling their own stories. Collaborating with the women of color-run Third World Majority, TGIJP is hoping to have ten digital stories by the end of September.
Because this program provides an opportunity to transgender women of color to recount some of their traumatic experiences, it is also part of a healing process. Through story, one can reframe one’s perspective from being an object of others to being a self-reflective subjective voice. This is a key aspect of personal development and therefore also necessary in the process of developing a healthier community.
You can see why this program would have a critical impact not only on the types of conversations taking place around the effect of the prison system on transgender public health, but also the direct impact it would have on the lives of the project participants.
YOU can help to make this program happen. While TGIJP has already obtained the majority of necessary funding, we are still short a few thousand. Trainers at Third World Majority (cultureisaweapon.org) will be working with participants at the end of July. Expenses affiliated with the training constitute the majority of the shortfall. If you can make a contribution of $50 – $200, please mail a check made out to: TGIJP c/o Justice Now
And send it to this address:
1095 Market St. Suite 308
San Francisco, CA 94103
And please mention my blog in the comments area of your check while you’re at it.