I appreciated Monica Hesse’s gentle pushback in her March 6 Style column, “Listening to Rowling’s podcast is exhausting,” on some of J.K. Rowling’s more breathless assertions about transgender women and prisons, but more needs to be said.
Nearly 30 years on, the Bureau of Prisons continues to house transgender women among men with a history of violence. Ms. Farmer alleged that her male cellmate violently beat and raped her. In this, she is not alone. A 2007 study from the University of California at Irvine found that incarcerated transgender people were 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a random sample of incarcerated men. Fifty-nine percent of transgender prisoners reported having been sexually assaulted within a California correctional facility compared with just 4.4 percent of the incarcerated population as a whole.
The Supreme Court is correct: Transgender women are not safe behind bars when housed with violent male offenders. That does not mean reflexively housing them with other women, though this might be the best choice for nonviolent offenders. All transgender women deserve to be safe.
Ms. Hesse was right. No woman should have to share a cell with a rapist — including transgender women.
Charlotte Achelois Scherer, Alexandria