Transforming Tasmania has called for reform after a mum spoke out about her daughter’s alleged rape while being housed in a men’s prison.
Rosemary Harwood spoke out about her daughter Marjorie, whom she referred to using male pronouns.
Harwood said Marjorie passed away last month after a life spent in and out of jail after struggling with substance abuse and becoming involved with crime following extensive bullying.
“And I used to say to the magistrate ‘can you please put him somewhere safe. But people say I can’t blame the magistrate, it’s not up to the magistrate to say where he goes,” Harwood said.
Marjorie was placed in a male prison population, according to Harwood, and once told her mum she was alleged raped while incarcerated.
“He said ‘Mum, they raped me. Five of them,” Harwood said.
The alleged rape led to Marjorie being hospitalised and requiring the use of a colostomy bag.
“When the magistrate used to sentence him he would sing out ‘Mum, help me’. I would feel helpless,” said Harwood.
“I have been thinking to myself lately that he would have been lying there bleeding and crying and thinking ‘Mum, help me’. I wasn’t there.”
Marjorie never reported the alleged rape, and died last month at 38 after living with kidney disease since she was a child.
“The doctor offered him dialysis numerous times. [Marjorie said] ‘no I don’t want dialysis mum I want to die’. That is hard for a mother to accept,” Harwood said.
“Subject to the security of the prison, transgender, transsexual and intersex prisoners are housed in a correctional facility appropriate to their gender identification,” a spokesperson for the Tasmania Police Service told the ABC.
“The TPS has no record that the individual in question identified as female.”
Trans advocate Martine Delaney said Marjorie “was a lot braver than I and she was attempting to be herself back in the early 1980s.”
“That caused her a lot of trouble and a lot of grief that went on for most of her life.
“I wonder why a prison system which provides protective custody for people accused of child sex offences didn’t provide that same protection for a transgender person being placed in a male prison,” Delaney said.
Writing for the Star Observer last month, Delaney called for “full equality of sex and gender diverse Australians.”
“Meetings of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people across the state have resolved that we should ask for most, not least, and as a community we have been working on our lobbying and advocacy skills to make that happen.”