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Worries about "transphobic" system intensify

Thu 20 Dec 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

File photo The Queer Avengers are frustrated at the lack of Government engagement on transgender issues, after a transgender woman has been sent to a men’s prison in Northland. Glen Cooper has been sentenced to two years and one month in jail after she earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to injure. During an argument with a man at a Whangarei home, she punched him in the face, threw things at him, and then hit him over the head with an unopened bottle of sparkling wine. Despite a bid from her lawyer for her to be sentenced to a term which would allow home detention, a suitable address couldn’t be arranged. It continues to be Government-directed Corrections policy to house transgender inmates based on their sex at birth, if they have not had surgery. “This issue is indicative of transphobia in New Zealand,” says Queer Avenger, Sara Fraser. She says the lack of engagement with transgender issues by Justice Minister Judith Collins, and the government as a whole, is unacceptable. "This government has made repeatedly clear that social need is low on their priority list," Fraser adds. "They will only budge on trans and other rights if we push them.” Fraser says Queer Avengers members want to know how transgender people are expected to feel safe when MPs refuse to engage with the wider issue? Fraser has a direct question for Judith Collins, who has refused to comment: “Are you prepared to have blood on your hands if this woman loses her life as a result of abuse and stress, from being imprisoned in a male prison?” Queer Avengers say the problem needs to addressed urgently to prevent further loss of life.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 20th December 2012 - 12:22pm

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