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Letters from Trans Prisoners Reveal Violence and Courage Behind Bars



“I am a transgender woman living in hiding.”


“I am unable to use the internet and have no outside help.”


“Please is there anything you can do?”


Almost every day, the National Center for Transgender Equality receives a small stack of envelopes. These letters come from transgender people who are incarcerated in prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers across the country. Each contains a plea for some kind of help: protection from violence and abuse, access to medical care, or simply assurance that they are not alone.

The numbers are damning. Transgender people are incarcerated at over three times the rate of the general population in the United States. The reality for trans people of color is even more harrowing: 25% of Latino/a trans people, 30% of American Indian trans people, and 47% of Black trans people are incarcerated at some point in their lives.

NCTE has worked tirelessly alongside advocates around the country, including formerly incarcerated activists, to protect the safety and dignity of incarcerated trans people. While NCTE’s work focuses largely on changing regulations, laws, and policies, we partner with many organizations who provide both legal representation and other forms of direct help for those who are incarcerated.

Read more at NCTE's Medium page.

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