Trans Women Assaulted, Abused By Authorities in Kuwait—And The U.S.?

From Gay Middle East comes disturbing news of the torture and sexual abuse of trans women in the nation of Kuwait, which passed a law making “imitating the opposite sex” a crime back in 2007.

GME reports:

Following the introduction of Amendment to article 198 of the Kuwaiti Penal Code police have been given a free hand to “determine” whether a person’s appearance constitutes “imitating the opposite sex” without any specific criteria. Reports by Human Rights Watch and Gay Middle East reveal how transgender women… .suffer daily persecution, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse both at the hands of the police and the public at large.

Speaking with Gay Middle East, a transgender Kuwaiti activist pleaded: “the situation in Kuwait is horrible for us, just intolerable. There are at least thirteen transgender women in jail right now.”  Her friends have been abused physically, emotionally and at times sexually.  She also noted that blackmail for sex and money was commonplace.

Even trans women dressed as men have been arrested, reports Human Rights—once detained, they’re forced to don women’s clothing by police, who then claim they were dressed that way when arrested.

In a tragic catch-22, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health actually recognizes gender-identity disorder as a legitimate medical condition.

Meanwhile, closer to home, LGBT Asylum News reports on Tanya Guzman-Martinez, a trans woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a guard while incarcerated at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona.

An illegal immigrant, Guzman-Martinez was held at EDC from 2009 to 2010 while she awaited a ruling on her application for asylum. While there, she says, she was sexually assaulted by detention officer Justin Manford, who threatened to deport her back to Mexico if she didn’t submit.

Among the claims made in a case filed on behalf of Guzman-Martinez by the ACLU:

* Officer Manford forced Guzman-Martinez to watch him masturbate into a white Styrofoam cup and then demanded that she ingest his semen.

* A detention officer told other detainees they could “have” her for three soup packets.

* Guzman-Martinez was subjected to repeated harassment by male detainees and detention officers who called her “dog,” “faggot,” and “boy”

* Despite the fact that she was taking hormones in anticipation of gender-reassignment surgery, Guzman-Martinez was placed in the men’s area where she “suffered further abuse including another sexual assault.”

According to LGBT Asylum News, court records indicate Manford was charged with ‘attempted unlawful sexual contact’ but was only sentenced to two days, with time served.

Two days? We’re surprised his buddies didn’t throw him a party.