This article from Human Rights Watch documents abuse faced by transgender women in the United States, focusing on their experiences in detention centers. People who identify as transgender are already at a higher risk of being sexually abused, and their vulnerability is even greater as immigrants. As the article points out, the United States does very little to protect this group. Over half of the detained are placed in men’s facilities, half experience solitary confinement, and many are denied hormones. It is not uncommon for prisoners and guards assault transgender individuals, and if the abuse is not physical, profound distress is often caused verbally.
Human Rights Watch did well to make this story personal; they had multiple detailed accounts from transgender women. Each tell a unique story which connects experiences in their home country to those in the USA, and each give chilling accounts of the abuse they faced. These stories, coupled with the statistics Human Rights Watch gathered in what is a well-crafted nut graph, provide a compelling argument for the article’s ultimate message; the US government must protect trans women from abuse and provide adequate medical care. For a richer article, I would have liked to see some statistics on what countries these women are coming from. I am also left curious how this issue has changed over time, especially as it relates to policy. Additionally, I wonder if Human Rights Watch tried to contact government officials, guards, or other prisoners, because having one of their accounts, even if indirect, could add an important perspective to the story.
How do you think this article could make a more compelling argument for better treatment of trans people in detention facilities? How could Human Rights Watch further connect this issue to the broader US population?