Non-Trans Woman in Men’s Prison

Okay, I’ll admit it: I was entirely astonished to read the story of Virginia Grace Soto over on Autumn Sandeen’s blog. Ms. Sota was born and raised female, but due to her androgynous appearance, was housed with men, in the men’s jail, in DC. Again, Ms. Sota is NOT TRANS. From the DC-area MetroWeekly (where you can see a photo of Ms. Soto as well):

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.

There is no mention as to whether Soto is straight or gay, though I’m going to guess that the guards acted out of homophobia (on the assumption that all gender variant people are homosexual, which of course isn’t true at all). The good thing is that three of them will be fired over their misconduct, at least.

But the underlying issue of course is that we have no standards in place for people who are not obviously gendered male or female, or whose male appearance doesn’t correspond to their female genitalia, or vice versa. Sandeen quotes local trans activist Ruby Corado:

“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.

Exactly. Solutions? If anyone has any resources links of people who are working on prison issues concerning gender, please post them in the comments section.