If you’ve been following the Transgender woman in all-male prison story, then you know all about the struggle Tara Hudson and her mother Jackie had to go through in order to surpass an outdated legal system. If you haven’t, it’s time to catch up.
Tara Hudson is a 26-year old transgender woman who has undergone a six year long process of gender reassignment, including gender reconstruction surgery and hormone treatment, and has been living as a woman her entire adult life.
Tara Hudson is also a woman who was supposed to spend her sentence in an all-male prison, exposed to abuse, violence and serious risk of both physical and mental harm, only because of the gender stated in her personal documents.
In the end, Tara Hudson is a symbol representing victory of equality, tolerance and diversity above traditional norms and rigid laws.
Tara’s mother, Jackie, started a petition and a social campaign in an effort to help her daughter. The campaign went viral and after the court hearing a couple of weeks back, Tara was allowed to be transferred to a female prison.
And that is where we are today. Obviously, the Equality Act from 2010 has some way to go, getting into all the nooks and crannies of the British legal system, but nevertheless, amending the sentence was a step forward towards a truly equal society.
It’s not only that the legal system needs a bit of a nudge in the right direction – the process of changing your documents to follow the gender reassignment process is mildly put, complicated. It requires significant funds, lots of time and effort to understand the complex procedure entirely, and last but not the least, working with a medical professional that will confirm the change in gender. For majority of people, this process presents a daunting task that often causes many other issues, such as the one from the headline of this article.
When thinking about this issue, it is important to mention some scary data showing the psychological problems many transgenders are facing. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Centre for Transgender Equality, almost every other transgender person (46% of men and 42% of women) have attempted suicide. This number goes up to 65% for those with a “mental condition that substantially affects a major life activity”. In addition, 78% of respondents reported they have suffered physical or sexual violence at school, 57% have been rejected by their families and over 50% have experienced discrimination at their work place.
The report from The Guardian from July 2004 is showing similar findings – over 40% of transgenders have attempted suicide and every fifth patient regrets having the sex change surgery.
The question is how long it will take us as a society to recognise the serious difficulties many amongst us are facing every day in our families, at our workplace or in school. The initiatives like this one deserve our attention and support on a quest to create an environment of understanding and accepting our differences, or better yet – to stop paying attention to our differences and put our focus on all the things that are universal for us as human beings, regardless of our race, age, gender or sexuality.
Featured photo: + | Esra Erben | CC