Detention and deportations are a harm the entire community, and this is especially true for those who fall under the Risk Classification Assessment (RCA), which include pregnant women, HIV+ people, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, and chronic illness.
1. Detention Placement
The protocol to consider housing for detainees is not decided on self assessed gender, but instead on physical anatomy or legal documentation. This causes for our Transgender community to be at risk of physical and psychological abuse when placed in all male or female facilities that do not reflect their gender identity nor choice and do not respect the individual’s preferred gender pronoun.
2. Political Asylum Seekers
In more than 77 countries, it is criminalized to be LGBT. The U.S. does allow for LGBTQ folks to claim political asylum, but the process is extremely difficult. Political asylees spend an average of 102.4 days in detention before being released and only 3 percent of those without legal representation win some sort of relief.
3. Solitary Confinement
We know that 15 days or more in such custody may lead to irreversible psychological damage, yet the misuse of such harsh tactics in detention facilities towards LGBTQ detainees is a recurring problem. Each day, nearly 300 individuals are placed in solitary confinement, many of whom are LGBTQ individuals under the claims of “protective” custody.
4. Sexual Assault
LGBTQ detainees are 15 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their heterosexual, non-transgender counterparts. Most incidents of sexual assault against LGBT detainees are by fellow detainees and by guards employed by detention facilities.
5. Healthcare Access
LGBTQ and HIV+ individuals are particularly at risk of lacking access to treatment. On multiple occasions, the denial of hormone treatment for transgender individuals has been documented as well as care for HIV+ individuals has caused deaths in detention centers.
Cristian Reyes is a Transgender Man from Honduras who fled life threatening persecutions and filed for political asylum. He was then detained in an all female facility and was held in custody for more than 6 months. The Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, in collaboration with Immigration Equality, worked together to release Cristian from detention, so he may be reunited with his family in New York.