Whit Washington

  • Hosted by The Project on Addressing Prison Rape
  • Sponsored by Littler Mendelson PC, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school American University, Washington College of Law
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Whit works 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. Whit’s 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.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Whit has:

  • Received and responded to letters from 80 TGNC PIC
  • Filed third party grievances with facilities on behalf of five individuals
  • Successfully advocated on behalf of a prisoner, resulting in a Prison Rape Elimination Coordinator (PREA) Coordinator personally checking on the client
  • Prepared training materials for and conducted five volunteer trainings, including two at Uber, Inc., recruiting 40 attorneys and law students to respond to letters from TGNC PIC
  • Built connections with local and national organizations across 16 states

What’s Next

During the remained of the Fellowship period, Whit plans to:

  • Continue to respond to letters and file grievances on behalf of TGNC PIC
  • Continue to train and engage volunteers in responding to letters
  • Prepare a shadow report to supplement the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ official report
  • Draft a pro se packet to assist TGNC PIC advocating on their own behalf
  • Continue build connections with legal and national organizations


40 Under 40: Queer Women of Washington

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