The Trump administration has removed protections for transgender prison inmates, forcing all prisoners to be assigned to the housing and bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex at birth, Buzzfeed Newsreports.
The Bureau of Prisons is reversing Obama-era steps made to protect trans inmates, and write in the new Transgender Offender Manual that "The designation to a facility of the inmate's identified gender would be appropriate only in rare cases."
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Trump's administration's decision puts trans inmates in severe danger of increased abuse or rape.
The adjustment in policy comes after four Evangelical Christian women in a Texas prison sued to challenge Obama's policies because they felt unsafe sharing cell blocks with trans women, worrying that their presence "creates a situation that incessantly violates the privacy of female inmates; endangers the physical and mental health of the female Plaintiffs and others, including prison staff; [and] increases the potential for rape."
The new manual also appears to threaten trans inmates' access to hormone therapy and medical treatment. Nancy Ayers, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons, toldBuzzfeed News: "The manual now addresses and articulates the balance of safety needs of transgender inmates as well as other inmates, including those with histories of trauma, privacy concerns, etc., on a case-by-case basis."