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Washington Moves Trans Woman Back To Men’s Prison In Unprecedented Act

Washington state’s prison officials forcibly removed a transgender woman from the women’s prison where she had lived for three and a half years and transferred her to a men’s facility last week, marking the first time the agency has removed a transgender person from gender-affirming housing.

Last Friday afternoon, Amber Kim was removed from her cell at the Washington Corrections Center for Women and placed in waist restraints. When her requests to see paperwork authorizing the transfer and to speak to her lawyer were denied, she refused to continue walking, Kim told HuffPost.

Guards slammed her to the ground, she said, tied her ankles and wrists together and threw her in the back of an SUV, and drove her to Monroe Correctional Complex, a men’s prison about 70 miles away. There, she was placed in solitary confinement as punishment for “refusing transfer,” she said.

Kim has been on a hunger strike since last Friday, she said, demanding to be transferred back to WCCW, the women’s prison.

Speaking from solitary confinement in the men’s prison earlier this week, Kim expressed fear and desperation. “I’m just scared it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Kim was previously the subject of a HuffPost story about her 15-year fight for gender-affirming health care and housing in prison , an environment in which the state exercises near-total control over the people in its custody. The story documented Kim’s struggle to access a legal name change, hormone therapy — and finally, a housing placement among other women. After multiple denials, some of which relied on transphobic rationale, Washington’s Department of Corrections finally allowed Kim to move to a women’s prison in 2021.

Last October, the DOC reached a

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