ALWAYS support incarcerated trans women of colour
August 23, 2014
the internet is apparently in a tizzy over Laverne Cox reading a letter by Synthia China Blast.
now, bc the ppl i follow on tumblr are awesome, i”m mainly seeing ppl defending Laverne and clarifying the facts about Synthia”s crimes and why she is in prison.
this is all well and good, but i find that it somewhat misses the point. almost two years ago, talking about a different incarcerated trans woman, i wrote this statement:
Either we are all human and worthy or none of us are
yes, it is incredibly important to counter the trope/myth of the trans woman rapist wherever and whenever it arises. but BUT, we are letting radfems and other transmisogynists frame the discussion when we focus on the crimes that Synthia was or was not convicted of. it doesn”t matter what she was convicted of. and for a few different reasons:
- we all know that the current justice system is corrupt and designed to do everything BUT bring justice for trans Latinas like Synthia China Blast. thus, taking the system”s word for ANYTHING is bound to lead you astray.
- support her right to humane treatment while she is incarcerated does not endorse or excuse what harm she has done
when you look at the sylvia rivera law project petition, where Synthia”s story is mentioned and Laverne”s video used to be, you”ll note that this is about more than just Synthia. you”ll also note that this is the demands being made by the petition:
Synthia has been placed in isolation for over a decade, for her own “protection.” But this isolation has negatively affected her mental health. Isolation has NOT protected her from prison guards who have assaulted her and destroyed her personal property on numerous occasions. Isolation has prevented her from accessing programming, from interacting with other people, from healing. Synthia fears she will not mentally or physically survive the constant physical assaults, verbal harassment and isolation. Rather than be confined to the concrete walls of her cage-like cell, she wants to prepare for her parole board hearing in four years by obtaining her GED and to complete other programs that will help her to heal from the trauma of her childhood and her time in prison. However, being forced to remain in isolation means that she will not be allowed access to any of these opportunities. Demand that DOCCS take immediate measures to ensure a safer placement for Synthia and allow her access to educational and mental health programs that she needs!
is anyone seeing anything in this paragraph asking ppl to excuse and endorse her crimes? anyone seeing anything saying that she should be freed and all charges forgiven? anyone seeing anything, for that matter, even asking that she be placed in a woman”s prison?
don”t let transmisogynists frame this discussion. this petition, this story, this everything is about ensuring that incarcerated trans women are treated like HUMAN BEINGS within the prison system1.
this isn”t asking for special treatment or anything. just that Synthia and ALL OTHER INCARCERATED TRANS WOMEN, be treated like other incarcerated people (ie, given the same opportunity to access programs and health care). asking that the gov”t live up to its promise to reduce rape in prison. live up to its RESPONSIBILITY to humanely treat incarcerated people (inclusive of safe housing and access to medical care).
Synthia China Blast is a human being. she is a trans Latina and 100% deserving of our support bc she is a HUMAN BEING. whatever crimes she has been convicted of are irrelevant. if u think that certain crimes mean that incarcerated people like Synthia DESERVE to be exposed to rape, assault, kept in isolation, and all other inhumane treatment, u do not actually care about prison reform or abolition. this also means that u don”t actually care about some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
don”t get confused regarding what this is all about. and don”t think that arguing over whether or not Synthia China Blast is a human being shows that ur better than the transmisogynists who”ve already shown that they think she isn”t.