Filed under: Announcement, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Queer, US
Amazon, a transfemale from Gender Anarky in prison in California, began a hunger strike the morning of October 7, 2015 for transfer to a women’s prison. Amazon is legally a female. In January 2015, Amazon’s birth certificate was amended by the Office of Vital Records in Sacramento to record her sex as “female.” Under a new law signed by the governor, transexuals no longer need full sex-reassignment surgery to amend their vital records, but instead a doctor’s declaration of transition to reflect their current gender. Amazon accomplished this. She then applied for a transfer to a women’s prison. The prison required Amazon to present her new birth certificate. However, prison rules prohibit inmates from possessing birth certificates and Amazon asked the prison to verify the document with the Office of Vital Records. The prison refused to do so. Amazon then attempted to file a grievance over the issue, but she was again required to produce her birth certificate to pursue a grievance. This is an example of the notorious mind games that prison officials play on inmates to suppress legitimate issues and prevent them from seeking an administrative resolution of the problem.
Without other speedy recourse and thoroughly frustrated with the system, Amazon began a hunger strike. She has been trying since January to transfer and has been prevented unrealistically every step of the way by prison officials out of plain cruelty. She is under tremendous pressure, has anguished and cried. Almost daily she is mistreated by prison guards and inmates because of her female presentation, including sexual mistreatment. She remains determined and steadfast and will not stop her efforts and resistance, whatever it takes. Amazon is now 61 years of age and the stress and strain of hunger strike will be on her more than during her previous strike years ago. However, the last straw has given way and she is determined to stick it out and not begin eating again until she is issued paperwork for a transfer to a women’s prison. She will endure force-feeding if necessary, but this is her position.
Contact the warden of Kern Valley State Prison, Martin Biter, to inquire why he is keeping a legal female in a men’s prison against her will and why he won’t verify her legal gender on her birth certificate with the Office of Vital Records in Sacramento, and demand that Amazon be transferred to a women’s prison immediately. The phone number for Kern Valley State Prison is (661) 721-6300.
Send the same message to the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Jeffrey Beard, at department headquarters in Sacramento. He can be contacted at (916) 323-6001.
Contact Amazon at:
Eva Contreraz #C45857
P.O. Box 5103
Delano, CA 93216