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What Transgender Means
Transgender Immigrants in ICE Detention
Now what role does this play in immigration? It is believed that, on any given night, there are 75 transgender immigrants in ICE detention. While this is a very small percentage of all of those detained, this group tends to be at a very high risk for mistreatment. 1 in 5 cases of sexual abuse reported by those in ICE detention is committed against a member of the transgender community. It has also been shown that transgender detainees spend longer stints in solitary confinement, transphobia, and denial of both medication and hormones.
ICE has made attempts to change this recently, releasing a memo that announced several changes to its policies. The first statement the memo made was to announce that discrimination or harassment of any kind based on a detainee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is strictly prohibited. But talk can be cheap right? The physical changes that the memo announces are better accommodations, and special liaisons to promote better awareness of LGBT issues. The accommodation changes are based primarily on forming separate housing blocks, meaning transgender individuals may choose whether they would like to be housed with the men or the women. The liaisons are meant to ensure that the needs of the LGBT detainees are heard, and also that awareness of this community is spread.
However, a lot of LGBT advocates are claiming that this is simply not enough. They are claiming that there is still a stigma with regards to not just transgender immigrants, but the LGBT community as a whole. With regards to immigration, however, this memo and these changes are a step in the right direction. The thing with taking a step in the right direction though is that you still have to walk the rest of the path.