You can’t sit with us

http://www.womeninprison.org.uk/research/key-facts.php
http://inquest.org.uk/statistics/deaths-of-women-in-prison
http://www.open.edu/openlearn/society/the-law/criminology/doing-prison-experiences-women-the-uk-prison-system
http://www.poverty.org.uk/87/index.shtml

You’ll find a few links above. Before engaging with what I tell you please read at your leisure. I know what I’m speaking to be truth. I also know so many won’t accept truth unless “objective”. That usually means it comes from someone they believe to personify objectivity. I don’t jump through those hoops but you can keep reading till you feel ready to listen.

So women’s space. Sex segregated space. Single sex services. It’s easy to portray feminists concerned about females, as mean girls obsessed with where trans people pee when you frame a debate on women’s space as a bathroom panic. Funnily enough I don’t know a single working class woman who hasn’t seen a man having a piss. The dirty buggers do it anywhere they want after enough to drink. This isn’t hysteria about a penis hidden in a cubicle privately urinating. We’re genuinely not sat clutching pearls at the idea of non-op transwomen having a whizz and leaving after washing their hands. Sex segregated spaces and services extend beyond public bathrooms, even if most are fortunate enough to never need to use many of them.

The sex segregated spaces most likely to be used by women who are working class, and vulnerable because of male violence, are prisons. And we need to talk about prisons.

Women in prison are more likely to have experienced domestic violence, childhood emotional, sexual or physical abuse and/or to have been through the care system than women in the general population. These women are most likely imprisoned for non violent offences (84% of all women in prison are not there for violent offences). We’re talking about women having been through terrible trauma, trying to heal from abuse and being imprisoned for committing offences, that are not violent, while trying to survive. These are the women who are expected to make concessions and forgo sex segregated space for the comfort of male offenders undergoing transition. And these are the women being ignored while left wing men shout about nasty women being bigots and creating a bathroom panic.

Are you fucking kidding me? The women these left wing men made a living off telling their stories to demonstrate their right on credentials. The women used to show who is hurt by inequality, picked up to strengthen a socialist argument as if their lives are nothing more than compelling filler to sit between statistics, then dropped when no longer useful. These very women, working class, lone parents, benefit claimants, survivors of poverty, abuse, the care system and domestic violence. The women on the front line of the war on the working class. These women still need to give more. To concede, to give way, to accommodate and to comfort transgender offenders wanting access to women’s space.

And if they don’t give way, and if the women arguing they shouldn’t have to don’t give way then transgender prisoners will kill themselves.

Well fuck that. I’m done being told women’s boundaries are responsible for other people’s suicide. That’s abusive, coercive bullshit. It should not even be entertained. It especially cannot be entertained in the context of females already experiencing disproportionate levels of mental health struggles in prison. When suicide attempts are at a rate twice that of men in prison and seven times that of the general population. When deaths of women in prison are at their highest levels in 20 years. No.

We can do more to care about women dying in prison. Women born female, raised as girls and living as women shouldn’t be dying in prison anymore than men or trans offenders. Women matter. We are not a barrier to overcome, a nuisance to talk over and responsible for everyone else’s comfort and safety. Women can fight for women.

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One thought on “You can’t sit with us

  1. Pingback: You can’t sit with us | The Gerasites

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