Everyday Injustice Podcast Episode 131: The Life of an Incarcerated Transgender Woman

This week on Everyday Injustice, we talk with Angie Gordon.  Angie is a 39-year-old trans woman serving a 48-years-to-life sentence in the state of California.

She was convicted of multiple violent felonies in 2009; so, in April of 2024 she will have served 15 years of her sentence.

Before coming to prison, Angie was a high school dropout, but since her incarceration, she has devoted her time to furthering her education. She received her GED in 2013, completed multiple associate degrees in 2019, and in 2022 was part of the first graduating class in the Transforming Outcomes Project at Sacramento State, a bachelor’s level program in communication studies offered to incarcerated students in California prisons.

Despite the limited degree tracks available to incarcerated students, Angie also pursued an autodidactic trajectory in post-graduate level scholarship, focusing her attention on transgender studies, corrections, and queer criminology.

A Department of Justice study found that, nationally, trans individuals report having been the victims of sexual assault while incarcerated at a rate 10 times higher than non-trans prisoners.

A study conducted in California prisons found that trans women housed in male-designated facilities report having been the victims of sexual assault while incarcerated at a rate 13 times higher than male prisoners.

A congressional study found that prison rape often goes unreported, and that “most prison staff are not adequately trained or prepared to prevent, report or treat sexual assaults.”

In 2013, Carman Guerrero, a trans woman incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison, was murdered by her cellmate only nine hours after she was forced into the cell with her killer by prison staff against her will

In 2017 at Valley State Prison, an incarcerated trans woman was found dead in her cell, a pencil lodged into her ear and neck; subsequently, the local district attorney’s office declined to pursue the case as a murder, claiming a lack of sufficient evidence.

Listen as Angie Gordon explains why she chose to transition and why she chose to remain at a male prison.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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