So “the system” conspires to lose us another sister

Vicky Thompson

Vicky Thompson

Following on from the much publicised case of transgender Tara Hudson being initially sent to an all male prison we now hear of the apparent suicide of Vicky Thompson. My heart goes out to all those who knew her.

The BBC reports that, despite pleas from her solicitor that she be treated with due respect and housed in a woman’s prison, she was sent to the all male Armley jail, Leeds prison, where she was found unresponsive and subsequently died on Friday 13th November. Vicky had, apparently, told friends that if she were to be sent to an all male prison then she would kill herself.

As can be seen from H.M. Prisons rules regarding The Care and Management of Transsexual Prisoners this whole area, as with transgender issues as a whole, is complicated. A summary of some of the most relevant points is contained in this post on the BBC website.

A review of the regulations regarding the treatment of transgender prisoners is urgently needed and a more sensible and considerate approach, especially in the initial “processing phase”, is certainly called for.

I could discuss these matters ad nauseum in this post but it would achieve little.

What I would say though is, (and this applies to everyone, not just those with criminal records or those who may find themselves on the wrong side of the law in the future), if you are, or consider yourself to be, transgender then I believe it is in your best interest to work toward getting a diagnosis of gender dysphoria placed on your medical records.

Even if you go no further than that because of the way your life is at the moment, the fact that you may want to continue to “hide” the fact from those around you, or for whatever reason you can come up with, just do it!

Here in the UK it is a lengthy process due to the horrendously long waiting lists for appointments, currently averaging 8 – 10 months for initial appointment at a Gender Identity Clinic, so the sooner you get a referral from your GP the better. Once you attend that first GIC appointment how long it takes to get a diagnosis will obviously depend on individual cases, but I was pleasantly surprised (if not a little shocked) that I got mine on my second appointment some 3 months later.

You may ask why am I advocating this so strongly? The answer is simple. None of us knows what is around the corner. We cannot predict the future, and we have no idea where life will lead us.

One of my greatest fears is that one day a child may suddenly run out in front of my car and that I will no chance of avoiding them. To be in any way involved in the death of another human being would be devastating for me. But, careful as I am as a driver, what if circumstances prevailed which resulted in me being prosecuted and jailed for something as a result of that? Would I wish to be housed in an all male jail?

What if I’m attacked one day and end up defending myself “too strongly” and my attacker suffers some serious injury, or dies, as a result of my defending myself? Jail? It can happen.

What if one day I require hospitalisation and I’m not able to advocate for my own needs, maybe due to an accident or a stroke? I would want information relating to my situation to be available to the hospital staff so that I could be treated with due dignity and respect. Thankfully I now have that. Do you?

You may feel that I’m scaremongering, but we all take out insurance for our possessions, property, finances and things even though we hope not to have to make a claim.

So let your diagnosis be the insurance policy you take out for your future well being, just in case.

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