“Clearly this is a sensitive topic and accordingly many people have a reluctance to talk about it. But we felt that given what was at stake is so important—namely, the physical safety of women—that we had to explore it,” said Aaron Wudrick, MLI’s director of domestic policy, in an email to The Epoch Times.
“Reconciling inclusivity for transgender people and safety concerns for women cannot simply mean staying silent about the latter to satisfy the former,” Wudrick said.
The poll also asked specifically about male-bodied inmates who self-identify as women being housed in female prisons (separate from other categories, such as female-bodied inmates being housed in male prisons). About 80 percent of those polled also said they don’t support or are unsure about allowing this.
In a recent high-profile case in Scotland, a male-bodied prisoner was housed at the Corton Vale women’s prison but transferred back to a male facility after public outcry. Isla Bryson was convicted of raping two women while known as a man called Adam Graham.
Alleged Sexual AssaultsCases have been reported internationally of transgender inmates allegedly raping female inmates. Five inmates at a women’s prison in California filed a lawsuit last year after an alleged rape.
She described one of the two transgender prisoners allegedly involved in the rape of a fellow inmate: “M.C.H. is gigantic, tall, physically scary-looking, non-feminine, bizarre, creepy. His hair is a masculine haircut, but wild and unkempt. When I first saw him walking on the main yard, I knew he was a man right away. … Since he does not look or act anything like a woman, I assumed he was one of the pretenders.”
From 2018 to 2020, Correctional Service Canada reports 99 gender diverse offenders in custody, with 62 percent of them being “trans-women.” About 20 percent are “trans-men” and 17 percent are “other.”
The Epoch Times asked Correctional Service Canada (CSC) whether any incidents of sexual assault involving transgender inmates occurred in Canadian prisons.
A spokesperson did not directly answer, but outlined CSC’s policies on how to prevent sexual violence in prison and ensure inmates have avenues to report it.
Human Rights ComplaintAdvocates for transgender inmates have said they are at risk of sexual assault in male prisons.
The complaint said that transgender inmates “are most likely to be considered ‘protective custody’ prisoners due to their vulnerable status as women with male biology. … These women are required to live in prison with the most violent male sex offenders in Canada and puts them at great risk of sexual violence while incarcerated.”
The group also said that inmates were denied “medically necessary” gender-affirming surgery.
According to MLI’s poll, half of Canadians believe male-bodied inmates who identify as women must be accommodated in some way, though less than a third believe they should be in female prisons. Female respondents were slightly more likely to say they should be in female prisons (35 percent of female respondents versus 20 percent of male respondents).
MLI said there was agreement on these matters “across regions, income, and education levels.” However, Canadians 35 and older were more opposed to male-bodied inmates being housed with female inmates.
MLI will release a full report on the subject of transgender people in Canadian prisons next week.