Trans Texas Prisoners (Technically, Kind Of) Have Access to Hormone Therapy Now

Texas Trans Inmates Allowed Hormone Therapy

+ Transgender prisoners in Texas who didn’t start hormone therapy before they were incarcerated now have the opportunity to do so. Before the new policy took effect, prisoners who were already taking hormones when they were incarcerated were given access to medication.

The policy was updated in August after theAmerican Psychiatric Association updated its own manual to include gender dysphoria. Since the policy changed, more trans inmates have started hormone therapy. When the policy was updated, 212 Texas prisoners identified as trans and only 21 were receiving hormone therapy. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says trans inmates will only receive medication after they’ve gone through a rigorous process “that includes being reviewed by a gender dysphoria specialist, an endocrinologist, and having an affirmative diagnosis.”

Advocates say they’re worried the process will be too long and strenuous for inmates to get the hormone therapy they desperately need. Some inmates say they’ve waited weeks, months, and even years for their prescriptions.

“We’re hearing from people that, for example, if they’re not close to the point where they’re going to try to perform surgery on themselves, or commit suicide or something like that, that their needs for treatment are not being taken seriously,” said Demoya Gordon, an attorney at Lambda Legal, a national law firm that specializes in lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender issues.

“Texas seems to have, I don’t know, some sort of vested interest in not being seen as respecting the constitutional rights of transgender people,” Gordon said.

Debate Team

Republican Debate

I’m going to turn it over to Rachel, briefly, for her thoughts on the Republican Debate. You can watch the highlights here or read the full transcript here.

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+ If you didn’t spend your Saturday night watching the Republican debate, congrats! You did the right thing. And to be honest, you didn’t miss all that much! Highlights included Donald Trump getting booed by the crowd over his defense of eminent domain; he countered by saying that the only reason he was being booed was that the crowd was full of establishment conservatives and RNC bigwigs, which is unfortunately probably kind of true; there’s no real indication that the average Trump supporter is changing their mind. Jeb! basically said he’d be into a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea, and Ben Carson, an actual doctor, still managed to somehow bomb a question about the Zika virus. It was roundly reported that this was Rubio’s worst debate, and that he especially dropped the ball on defending why his position on immigration reform has changed so radically (it’s because he wants to be elected President). The candidates were asked a direct question about police brutality against Black Americans, but unfortunately Trump’s answer was essentially “I’m sure that sort of happens sometimes, but the families of people who are murdered can always just sue! Also, being a cop is very hard.” Rubio sounded similarly Orwellian when he said that while he didn’t support violence against Muslims, it doesn’t really ever happen and the people who really have it tough are American Christians. The debate in a word: yikes.

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Democratic Debate

Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

+ With Martin O’Malley out of the race, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton faced each other Thursday night in New Hampshire. The debate began with Sanders and Clinton sparring over what it meant to be a “progressive” candidate. Sanders has campaigned against Clinton, arguing she’s not progressive enough to represent the Democratic Party, citing her ties to Wall Street, how she voted for the Iraq War and how she’s in favor of the death penalty. Clinton took on the critique and said again that she’s a “progressive who gets things done” and basically said she’s the more pragmatic candidate vs. the “political revolution” that Sanders is calling for. Clinton also called out Sanders for running an “artful smear” campaign that paints Clinton as corrupt for accepting corporate money. Clinton was asked about criticism for accepting $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and said something about going to Wall Street before the crash. This was an opportunity for Sanders to blast corporations like Goldman Sachs and by association, Clinton. “Goldman Sachs was one of those companies whose illegal activity helped destroy our economy and ruin the lives of millions of Americans,” Sanders said. “But this is what a rigged economy and a corrupt campaign finance system and a broken criminal justice is about. These guys are so powerful that not one of the executives on Wall Street has been charged with anything after paying, in this case of Goldman Sachs, a $5 billion fine.” The two debated on foreign policy with Sanders saying he doesn’t have the experience Clinton does on foreign affairs but points out he does have better judgement based on past decisions, re: voting against the Iraq War. They also talked about the death penalty and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Here’s a transcript of the whole debate and here are some highlights. 

2016 Presidential Elections

+ Rick Santorum is out of the running for prez, and endorsed Marco Rubio on his way out. There’s still a whopping nine Republican candidates left in the race.

+ A gay man challenged Marco Rubio when the candidate was visiting a diner in New Hampshire.

+ Bernie Sanders told Bernie Bros to stop spewing sexist vitriol online. “We don’t want that crap,” he told CNN.

+ Bernie won the millennial vote in Iowa with a whopping 70 percent in his favor. His popularity with young people may be due to his views on corporate greed and student debt. Many millennials came of age during the worst economic times in US history and even now are still struggling financially.

+ Here are five things to watch in today’s New Hampshire primary.

Bills, Bills, Bills

+ A Michigan bill intended to punish people who abuse animals is bringing the state’s (unconstitutional) sodomy ban to the forefront. Sodomy bans, which outlaw anal and oral sex, among other sex acts between consenting adults, were found unconstitutional in the 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence vs. Texas. Most other states removed sodomy bans from the law, but Michigan is one of 12 states that kept the language intact. Senate Bill 291, which is part of Logan’s Law, named after a Siberian Husky who was killed by acid, would amend Michigan’s bestiality law to stop anyone convicted of having sex with an animal from owning a pet for five years. However, the state’s bestiality law also includes the state’s ban on sodomy, which could’ve been prevented if legislators removed some words from the statement “a person who commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal is guilty of a felony.” Basically the author of the bill, Sen. Rick Jones (R) said that no one wants to remove the words because it would derail the intent of the bill, which is to protect animals. This morning Equality Michigan, who have been pressuring lawmakers to change the wording, announced that SB291 will move forward without the sodomy ban language. 

+ Florida is considering an anti-discrimination bill for LGBT people and get this, it was backed by Republicans!

While the bill prohibits any discrimination against the LGBT community, supporters are focused on its economic impact. The bill is being called the “Competitive Workforce Act” and a group running a campaign to promote it is backed by AT&T, Wells Fargo, Marriott and Carnival Corporation. The argument is that Florida will be able to attract corporations that provide high-paying, high-skilled jobs and the workforce to fill them if it has clear anti-discrimination laws.

+ The District of Columbia, the governing body of Washington D.C., unanimously passed a bill — the LGBTQ Cultural Competency Continuing Education Amendment Act — that would require LGBTQ cultural competency training for health care providers. Once it’s signed into law, the bill will be the first of its kind in the nation.

+ A Washington state bill, a so-called “genital check” bill, advanced in the Senate last week. It’s another piece of legislation aimed at attacking trans people, especially trans women, for using the correct restrooms. Seattle PI reports:

SB 6548 is pretty explicit, and imposes a genitalia requirement on use of restrooms. It amends the state’s anti-discrimination statute to say: “Nothing in this chapter grants any right to a person to access a private facility segregated by gender, such as a bathroom, restroom, toilet, shower, locker room or sauna, of a public or private entity if the person is preoperative, nonoperative, or otherwise has genitalia of a different gender from that for which the facility is segregated.”

+ The Indiana Senate is considering passing hate crime bills that would require harsher punishments for those who commit crimes motivated by gender, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. IndyStar reports that Indiana has tried to pass a similar law for the past 15 years without success.

So what changed?

The spotlight on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people vaulted hate crime legislation to be a priority for some lawmakers, including Republicans who say implementing a hate crime law could prove Hoosiers are fair-minded and inclusive of a diverse population.

But the contention around LGBT rights, and the way that becomes entangled with hate crime discussions, also could hobble the legislation.

After all, it has before.

Principals’ Principles

+ A Georgia high school principal is back at his job after being suspended for a few weeks for posting hateful comments on Facebook about “welfare recipients, Planned Parenthood, Caitlyn Jenner, the LGBT community and Islamophobic slams on refugees.”

+ In Australia, Senator Janet Rice is praising a principal of a school for backing their anti-bullying program to support LGBT students, after a mother pulled her children out of the school in protest of the new program.

Grab Bag

+ A study now proves that voter ID laws are keeping people of color away from the polls. It’s a fact now.

kayden

+ Kayden Clarke, a 24-year-old trans man with Aspergers syndrome, was killed by Mesa, Arizona police after they went to his home to respond to a call that he was in danger of harming himself. Even though police had stun guns on hand, they chose to shoot him dead instead. This isn’t the first time police have killed people, especially people of color, who were neuroatypical or dealing with mental health issues. You might have seen Clarke and his service dog Samson in a viral video posted by Huffington Post last year.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 206 articles for us.

29 Comments

  1. I could be totally wrong on this, but armchair speculation (from me) on the new Texas policy is that 1. they wanted to save money on 8th amendment suits and 2. they were worried that if there was a successful suit the judge could have also ruled that gender-affirming surgery is also a right, and they really didn’t want that. I could be wrong, maybe this wasn’t super selfishly motivated.

    Also I was super confused why Lawrence vs. Texas hadn’t come up in regards to the Michigan bill, I’m glad it was here.

    I didn’t realize that Kayden Clarke was the guy from that video, so freaking sad.

  2. I was really, really sad and angry when I heard about Kayden Clarke. We clearly can’t trust the police to conduct welfare checks or answer suicide calls. Like when you answer a suicide call and SHOOT THE PERSON DEAD you are doing it wrong. And I just can’t stop thinking about his sweet dog. Ugh.

  3. Yes, I get it, AS supports Hillary Clinton. But not a single line about Gloria Steinem’s and Madeleine Albright’s comments?

    Gloria Steinem: “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”

    Madeleine Albright: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

    • There are a LOT of people calling out Bernie supporters for being anti-feminist, which really surprises me. I am feminist and atheist and queer and I support Bernie Sanders because I believe he has represented values that align with mine for many years, not just when they became politically expedient. Of course it is Hilary’s prerogative to change her mind on issues like marriage equality, but I’d rather vote for a person who didn’t need their mind changed in the first place, they were already there.

      And no, Gloria Steinem, I don’t support Bernie Sanders because men support him. I don’t personally know very many men who support Bernie, actually, but that’s kind of beside the point anyway. I don’t make my decisions based on how men make theirs.

      I hope we have a woman president. I hope we have her soon. But in a race between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, I choose Bernie, because the values professed in his voting record and platform are more in line with mine than Hilary’s are.

      • “But in a race between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, I choose Bernie, because the values professed in his voting record and platform are more in line with mine than Hilary’s are.”

        Exactly. That’s the way I choose my candidates.

        PD: I’m a bit scared about Hillary Clinton and her place in the world as President because she never found a war she didn’t like.

        PD2: I would have loved to see this debate if the other candidate wasn’t Bernie Sanders, but Elizabeth Warren.

      • Let’s not forget that if Bernie wins, he will be the first non-Christian president, which is kind of a big deal. Cause all have been Christian(with Kennedy being the only Catholic, cause we also have a bit of bias against Catholics).

      • Yes, I did read that post and it was very clear. But the thing is that the sentiments of that post are not actually reflected in the posts about the Democrat primaries (a little example: in late January 22 emails were censored by the State Department, concerning HRC email-gate, for containing “top secret” information. Not a single line was posted about this).

        Maybe somebody can say that my feelings about this are perceptions, a matter of interpretation, that I’m a big nasty Republican or let’s just say that English is not my native language and I’m reading all this the wrong way. No problem, I’m totally willing to play that game.

    • For me, personally, I also think it’s so important to discuss the full context of Steinem’s quotes when you’re talking about this: “Men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women tend to get more radical because they lose power as they age,” Steinem said. “It’s not fair to measure most women by the standard of most men, because they’re gonna get more activist as they grow older, and when you’re young, you’re thinking, Where are the boys, the boys are with Bernie.”

      And to note that Madeline Albright said that thing so long ago that Taylor Swift quoted it in a feud with Nicki Minaj or Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry or someone a year ago.

    • Rodham Clinton is talked about because she’s a woman making major waves for other women. Like her or not, doesn’t really matter, she’s going farther than women have been able to go before. The fact that a woman is a viable candidate for presidency is huge. So of course it makes sense for AS to mention Rodham Clinton as a feminist website. They can do that without announcing their political support of her–which they’ve done.
      Bernie’s an old white man. Nothing new there.
      I’d really like it if Bernie supporters could stop being misogynistic, microaggressive in particularly, while heralding themselves and him as the knight in shining armor for women. The irony.

      • I agree with what you said. But, here is the thing, while Bernie is an old man, but he only has conditional white privilege seeing as he is Jewish(even if he’s non-practicing). It’s already a big question how the world may see us if he become president seeing as 50-60% of hate crimes against a religious group are Jews. If he was more Jewish, or was photographed/filmed doing an activity, like celebrating a Jewish holiday, his poll number probably would go down. This is where the new is, a non-Christian polling well for President.

        • Yeah, I will acknowledge that his being Jewish is something new, but I maintain he is still an old white man, like the 43 old white men before him. I think the fact that he’s Jewish is still a fundamentally different situation than a woman running, for many, many reasons, and in the case of the presidency, he still has way more privilege. Just look at how the media and other candidates (Dem and GOP) talk about Hillary vs Bernie. The difference is pretty significant.

          • That’s all true, but again his white privileged as was mentioned is only there if he doesn’t show he is jewish. Then again they both may have issues when it comes to certain countries because of systematic prejudices against women and jewish folks. In fact if he was truly white the KKK wouldn’t be against him. But, they are pro Ted Cruz(who as you know is Cuban decent on his fathers side), which is odd. And of course Trump who there is some evidence his dad may have been one too.

            Sadly this country isn’t ready for a president who isn’t Christian and I doubt Bernie will win because of that. Clinton will probably win, cause she is Christian(and because her husband is ex president during a time we assumed was good).

        • Re: Clinton having a greater chance than Bernie based on her religion vs his…no. Not that antisemitism isn’t a thing, but if you look at the voting population: Bernie is doing very well in the polls, and his opponents on both sides are NOT heaping antisemitic comments on him like they are with misogynistic comments on Hillary. Not only that, Hillary’s not making antisemitic comments whereas Bernie’s been plenty microaggressive. So there’s that.
          And, if you look at the GOP, beyond the KKK, protestant Christians are by and large hardcore Zionists. They have a weird fetish thing going on for the Jewish community right now, while in contrast, many protestant Christians STRONGLY believe that women should not be in leadership roles, especially over men. That women are biologically subordinate. I’ve seen a lot of tea party blogs calling out antisemitism and on the next page spewing sexist shit at Hillary. These are just the realities of this particular situation right now, not antisemitism vs misogyny in general.
          Based on the GOP’s rallying behind Romney, I actually think conservatives are becoming less and less obsessed with a protestant Christian background for their presidents. Protestant Christians by and large DO NOT believe that Mormons are at all related to them, and many have some strong beliefs about it. But they voted for him. I mean, I haven’t heard conservatives rant about Bernie’s religious beliefs near as much as they did about Obama’s…and Obama is a self-identified Christian. Telling. Very, very telling.
          But I digress. I won’t argue this more.

  4. *autism. Kayden Clarke had autism. I get that people with Asperger’s cling fiercely to that label (I was one of those people), but now that I work in autism assessment, it’s become clear to me the importance of acknowledging and embracing the DSM-V’s dismissal of Asperger’s (and PDD-NOS) and that the reason for the clinging to the label of Asperger’s is rooted in ableism.
    To see news reports about Clarke shy away from calling his diagnosis what it is–autism–is dangerous. And, Clarke’s death proves the research that went into the dismissal of Asperger’s–people previously diagnosed with Asperger’s do not have better outcomes than those that were diagnosed with straight up autism. The differentiation was pretty arbitrary as it stands, anyway. Autism is autism. Of course, autism is a spectrum–everything is a spectrum. Depression is a spectrum. Down Syndrome is a spectrum. Intelligence, etc, all a spectrum, because every human being is different. No autistic person will be the same as the next, but categorizing people based on out-dated ideas of what “good autism” is (Sheldon Cooper) versus “bad autism” (nonverbal, self-harming, 45 IQ, just sits in the corner rocking and banging their head against a wall)?No good. It’s harmful. On the one hand, girls are less likely to be identified because the idea of autism is bound by stereotypes. On the other, autistic people are more likely to die in really crappy ways, be it the elopers who drown, or, like Clarke, as a consequence of dealing with additional mental illnesses, and knowledge/education/prevention of this won’t happen.
    Sorry, the coverage of this tragedy has really hit a sore spot in more ways than one. Focusing on an archaic diagnosis versus the reality of the situation harms the people who need acknowledgement of the prevalence of similar tragedies the most–people with autism.
    Just say the word. Autism.

    • Trying to come up with something meaningful to say, but ASD or just autism all the way.
      Humanity is spectrum experience, not a series of neat little boxes and why oh why can’t people remember that applies to all of us.

    • K’idazq’eni: I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, but my understanding is that a number of people who are on the spectrum were diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and never officially received a diagnosis for autism – which caused problems when the support they were receiving for Asperger’s Syndrome was cut off when the DSM-V removed Asperger’s as an official disorder. (Also, some countries do not use the DSM, but use the British equivalent, apparently, which still acknowledges Asperger’s as a legitimate condition? That’s what I was told, anyway.)

      I was interested to read your comment on clinging to Asperger’s as a label being rooted in ableism, because I’ve never seen that mentioned anywhere, before. I think a lot of the stereotypes about Asperger’s were definitely harmful, though: there was a persistent trivialisation of the difficulties people with Asperger’s faced, and a perception that they were able to function ‘better’ than other people on the spectrum and therefore didn’t need support – something which was not necessarily true.
      Then there’s that idea that’s taken root in popular culture that Asperger’s means ‘someone who’s a little weird, but doesn’t have a serious condition’ – which is so untrue, because I know there are people who were diagnosed with Asperger’s whose entire lives have been affected by the difficulties they face, which are never really acknowledged in pop-culture portrayals…

    • I absolutely agree with you in general about the distinction between autism and Aspergers being arbitrary and not useful at best and creating an ableist artificial hierarchy of how close to NT people are at worst, but in his Youtube videos Kayden Clarke referred to his diagnosis as Aspergers, so I feel that in this case using that terminology is respecting how he identified himself.

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