Sunday, November 9, 2008

Policy Creation: Transgender's involved

In previous blogs, we have been focusing on the repressive and tyrannical nature of law and policy. Policies that claim to protect the lives of the transgender inmate; however, does nothing more than permeate the radical environment in which they find themselves trapped. There are far too many institutional, economic, political, social and cultural dynamics of hierarchy, power and privilege that dominate policy creation. This conveniently guards against any sort of movement building from the individuals whose lives are negatively impacted by the policy.

There is a growing need to challenge these systems of oppression and our goal is to have transgender individuals become involved in the creation of policy. This is by no means simple or straight forward and requires various principles and objectives. We need to create uniform policy that is fair and consistent and accommodates to the unique needs of the transgender inmate. In addition, prison staff must be trained and coached by transgender individuals themselves so they are capable of functioning efficiently with their distinct population.

Various recommendations can be made in carrying through with this process. The first step could be to create awareness of the various discriminatory regulations in place that unfairly restrict the freedom of the transgender inmate. Similarly, ignorance has perpetuated the problem and this atmosphere breeds more oppression. We all need to be participants in some form of social action, challenge it actively, and create a safe space for the transgender inmate. The greater the number of voices means the louder the voice and the greater chance of being heard. Consequently, face-to-face meetings with policy makers are possible. This is going to require the collaboration, cooperation and solidarity of current policy makers. It is necessary that they provide skills, education and resources in order create effective, long standing and operational policy. Similarly, policy makers can take the time to learn from the transgender community and build meaningful relationships that make a difference.

It may be difficult to change oppressive organizational structure and personal behaviors or even erase the grievances of previous marginalized inmates but there is no reason why transgender individuals should not live an oppression-free existence whether it is in prison or elsewhere.

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