Whit worked with incarcerated transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals to address the issues they face in prison, specifically access to hormones and other medical needs, access to gender-affirming clothing, and reporting sexual assault.
TGNC people in custody (PIC) are eight times more likely than the general inmate population to experience sexual abuse by a staff member, and are 12 times more likely to experience sexual abuse by another inmate. Further, TGNC PIC are often denied access to medical needs, which leaves them thirty times more likely to attempt suicide. My project works with TGNC PIC to ensure that they are safe, able to access remedies when they experience sexual assault, and able to gain access to life-saving medical treatment.
During their Fellowship, Whit sent over 400 letters to TGNC people in prisons and jails in 26 different states in the US. Whit fully represented four individuals in advocating for their rights in facilities. Whit also developed advocacy letter templates that have been successfully used by other advocates in the field and conducted 18 for lawyers and coalition partners. The project was written about twice in national publications, and Whit’s work was spotlighted at the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Law Conference.
Whit plans to continue volunteering with the project to ensure that this work advocating on behalf of those in need continues. Whit is also consulting with the National Center for Transgender Equality while they wait for their next full-time opportunity.