The Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA, was enacted on a federal level in an effort to, as the name says, eliminate rape in prison. Sounds like a great idea to me. I am not a fan of being raped. As a trans person, I am at the second highest risk for rape in prison by both staff and inmates, statistically speaking, second only to trans women of color. PREA mandates a reporting mechanism and reaction by the prison. Mandatory reporting of rape. Again, I am pro that.

What I am not for is the inability to give consent. Under no circumstances can two inmates have consensual encounters together because the belief is that homosexual activity MUST have a victim (who is apparently straight or a feeble minded homosexual) who was predatorized by a violent homosexual. Consensuality is not even an option.

This bill was passed in 2003 and while its name sounds altruistic enough, it is far from it. First, there should be no federal mandate that pays states to report rape. The prison administration should be voluntarily working to end that on their own morality. Second, if rape is the sole target of elimination then why is consensual intercourse punished and reported in precisely the same manner under PREA? This is so blatantly bigoted that I am shocked it still exists, no doubt it would have been called out, much like the eugenic pseudoscience of the early 1900’s, by human rights organizations, had ANY of them ever been incarcerated.

This is what happens when folks on the outside negotiate. Okay, you want rape stopped, well, we want homosexuality stopped, how about we compromise? Voila! PREA. This is so blatantly the mindset that has festered in the minds of prisons that even the doctor in charge of my hormone requests has stated outright that homosexuality is “bred in prison” and that it is a “choice”. I wonder what he thinks about me being trans? Oh, that’s right, he refuses to call me she or document me as a she in his reports and also refuses to diagnose me as Gender Dysphoric to get HRT. Why? Because of “consent” and the morality of it. However, I would like to point out that the state had no problem allowing me to consent to Life in prison, now did they. Sign your life away, no problem, grow boobs…um, no.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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