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baltimoresun.com

Prisons must address transgender realities

2:00 PM EDT, May 24, 2013

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In Kevin Rector's blog posting, "LGBT inmates report sexual victimization at much higher percentages" (May 20), he assumes that "other" sexual orientation is transgender. Sexual orientation refers to one's inclination in sexual and romantic partners; gender identity refers to whether one identifies as a man, woman, or other gender.

This distinction isn't just a matter of semantics; transgender women face a significantly higher risk of assault, in prison and outside of it, than their cisgender LGB peers, who in turn are at higher risk than their straight cisgender counterparts. A 2009 Center for Evidence-Based Corrections study shows that transgender women in men's prison were 13 times as likely to be abused as other inmates. The author is spot-on in writing that the corrections department should take LGBT inmates into account when trying to stop power-based sexual activity in prisons, but to succeed it needs to recognize the specific abuse focused on transgender individuals.

Rachel Metz, Takoma Park