A Trans Travesty

FEMALE KILLER IMPRISONED IN MAN’S BODY.

Katherine Johnson wants her johnson gone- because that’s the only way she’ll be allowed to transfer to a woman’s prison.

The above was the headline on this morning’s Province in Vancouver. I am stymied as to why the editors of the Province think that it was ok to further humiliate and denigrate Katherine Johnson (unfortunately, I have not been able to find a link to this story as of yet).

Here is the synopsis. Katherine seems to have always had gender identity disorder. She has been involved in criminal activities for most of her life. It would seem that many of her struggles with law have been rooted in her untreated medical condition. She has had her testicles removed and she remains desperate to have her penis removed. She has been assessed by two psychiatrists who have deemed this procedure a medical necessity. She has tried to remove her penis several times herself.

So why hasn’t this procedure been done? It seems that Corrections Canada would rather see her suffer in a male prison than give her medically necessary treatment so that she can transfer to a somewhat safer female environment. The descriptions in the article stated that Katherine spends most of her time in her cell, does not shower and barely eats. Could it be that she is depressed? According to the article she has been attacked several times in prison and been forced to have sex with other inmates to gain personal protection. It is up to Corrections Canada to protect her. She needs to have the surgery and be moved to a womens’ prison. If a prisoner needed any other kind of surgery it would be performed. There is no excuse for allowing her to languish, depressed and untreated in a men’s prison.

Now, on to the headline. I was rendered speechless when I read this headline. It is completely transphobic and sadly some redneck will likely read it and have his/her beliefs validated. Unfortunately the story may also generate pressure on Corrections Canada to not give Katherine the medical treatment she needs. The politically conservative climate does not help this situation as I am sure that Corrections Canada is getting their direction from their political masters in situations like this one. I can only hope that saner heads prevail and Corrections Canada steps up and allows her to have her surgery. What a travesty.

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Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 9:09 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve got to say I was pretty shocked to see this headline on The Province in an office waiting room today. I’m really surprised and appalled that the Province editors would show so much disrespect to our trans population. It could have been such a good opportunity for public education on the transgender experience. Instead it’s just an opportunity to make all the rednecks howl with laughter. Disgraceful!

  2. I agree, that’s horrific. There’s a time and place for punning in headlines but this isn’t it, and there’s nothing remotely amusing about the situation. I hope Corrections comes to the right decision on this.

  3. Katherine also stated that she felt she only has a few more years to live. Is this woman going to be subjected to a what amounts to a life sentence imprisoned spiritually, emotionally and physically not only in a small cell, but her own body?

  4. There’s absolutely no reason not to let Katherine have the surgery–it’s not even a money issue: this surgery is normally covered by MSP, in prison or no.

    Today one of my students was saying how liberal Canada’s justice system is, but this story just proves how very far we still have to go.


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