This morning, SC Equality and Palmetto State citizens gathered in front of the state Senate Corrections and Penology Committee to testify against S. 1062, a bill that would prohibit the state’s department of corrections from providing hormone therapy to transgender inmates.
SC Equality Executive Director Christine Johnson updated her Facebook followers to express the organization’s position on the bill, writing that the legislation is “both unconstitutional and pointless.”
[The bill is] Unconstitutional because like Wisconsin’s bill, this one will be found in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendment. Pointless, because when SC Equality contacted the SCDOC to request the number of transgender inmates, they replied that they knew of NONE!
A later updated from Johnson exposed the sheer arrogance of South Carolina’s Republican majority (emphasis added):
The bill was amended “to address Ms. Johnson’s concerns” so that inmates who are already on hormone therapy cannot be denied therapy while in prison. It is still unconstitutional and will no doubt face a court challenge. When the potential court challenge was brought up, the sponsor and committee members laughed aloud blaming liberal activists judges for the problems.
Johnson wasn’t the only Palmetto politico speaking out on the measure this morning.
A spokesperson from the transgender community testified at the hearing this morning with the arguments of cruel and unusual punishment and the unconstitutionality of s.1062.
Simply put, the cruelty would be on the taxpayer footing the bill for theses procedures costing 10’s of thousands of dollars. Also, I’ve never been one to check with the local liberal activist judge for permission on every piece of legislation.
If we were to start paying for “Dan” to become “Danielle”, were would we house the inmate? How can we protect the scarce funds of the already least funded department in the U.S.?
Respect for the law and Constitution? Nada. Respect for human dignity? Nada. Respect for equal access to legitimate healthcare? Nada. Respect for the American judicial system and its purpose? Nada. Nada. Nada.
What exactly is it that Republicans stand for again?
Surely, the “Party of Lincoln” hasn’t become this heartless and disrespectful. Scratch that — Yes, they have.
For the past few issues, my day job publication has been publishing a series of writings from a gay prisoner. The “Lockdown” column by Joseph Urbaniak details his experiences and life as a gay man in prison. Back in 2007, Urbaniak filed a lawsuit against the N.C. Department of Corrections, seeking the right of LGBT prisoners to receive non-sexual, LGBT-themed publications such as The Advocate and OUT and newspapers like the old Front Page and Q-Notes; much in the same way that straight prisoners can receive mainstream, non-sexual news and entertainment magazines and newspapers.
But, as with all things, this hasn’t come without its own share of controversy.
In the Jan. 10 issue, we’ve published a guest commentary from a Charlotte community member who feels we should stop publishing the column. An opposing opinion column by me was also published, and we’ve got this issue’s QPoll dedicated to the question of whether we should keep the prisoner’s column or junk it.
I invite my readers at InterstateQ.com to head over to Q-Notes‘ website and read both the columns.
Editor’s Note (Matt Comer): Prisoner is just the messenger, try to see the message instead
Guest Commentary (Kevin Scott): Stop publishing writings from prisoner