A RALLY in Brisbane this week aims to raise awareness around the high rates of incarceration experienced among the trans community and the lack of representation and support available to trans prisoners.

Organised by the Trans Prisoner Allies collective, the rally also aims to highlight the higher risks of incarceration and abuse suffered by trans people while in prison compared to other demographic groups.

“This international day aims to raise awareness of the atrocious treatment and over criminalisation of trans and gender diverse people in prison,”rally organisers said in a statement.

Taking into consideration the disproportionate rates of incarceration already experienced by minorities in the US – one in six trans people over there were found to have been in prison at one stage in their lives according to Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Leading Brisbane LGBTI community advocate Dr Wendell Rosevear said discriminatory treatment of trans prisoners was still present in Australia and that this may cause “significant harm”.

In Queensland, trans women are assigned places within male prisons and also denied access to medical treatment and support.

“It is time for corrective services to lift the ban on transgender persons commencing treatment for gender dysphoria in prison,” Rosevear said.

“To maintain the ban is discriminatory, not consistent with community or medical standards and damages individuals.

“It does not make society safer to continue the ban. All inmates deserve the same standard of medical care that one expects in the community.”

Rosevear added that respect lies at the key of equal and fair treatment for all.

“Society will be safer if we ‘treat people how we would like to be treated’ and that is with respect,” he told the Star Observer.

Particular attention is being drawn to Indigenous sistergirls and brotherboys who, as with the rest of the Indigenous community, face higher rates of abuse and incarceration.

“We act with care for transgender prisoners. We particularly note Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sistergirls and brotherboys who face disproportionate criminalisation,” rally organiser Jakes Davies said.

“The collective in Brisbane and others around the world are aiming to build a long-term letter writing campaign between trans people inside prison and communities outside to challenge abhorrent prison conditions, break isolation and build strong connections and support.”

Along with support and help from other prison advocacy organisations, the rally and seminar will be held this Friday, January 22 at Kurilpa Hall in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.

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