A transgender prisoner has gone on hunger strike because the Government does not recognise her gender, and has told friends she does not ‘want to be alive anymore’.
Marie Dean, who has gender dysmorphia, has been imprisoned at HMP Preston, a male prison in Lancashire.
The 50-year-old transgender woman wrote to her friends and told them of her plan to go on a hunger strike.
‘I don’t want to be alive anymore’: 50-year-old Marie Dean wrote a letter to friends which states she is going on hunger strike because the Government do not accept her gender. Ms Dean is currently imprisoned in HMP Preston, a male prison in Lancashire (pictured: HMP Preston)
She said in the letter: ‘I decided yesterday that I don’t want to be alive anymore. I stopped eating and drinking and should die in about three, maybe four weeks.
‘I remember Bobby Sands years ago, not eating and drinking until he died. His belief drove him to succeed,’ reports The Observer.
Ms Dean also says she is not given makeup, hair straighteners or an epilator.
She is serving a sentence of indeterminate length at the all male prison, for public protection (IPP) after being convicted of repeated burglary.
A petition has been started in order to have Ms Dean moved to an all female prison and to be given her clothes and makeup.
The petition said: ‘The truth is it appears that the Ministry of Justice are unwilling to give up judging for themselves what gender a person is regardless as to how long the person has lived in their chosen gender.
‘In Marie Dean’s case her harrowing ordeal has been both long and traumatising, she has now given up and wants to die and it’s not surprising.
‘She had served many years behind bars as a transgender woman, forced to reside in the male estate, exposed to physical and mental abuse whilst serving a sentence with no end date.’
However, MailOnline understand that Marie Dean was given allowances for her transgender status – for example she was able to wear female clothing.
An MoJ spokesperson said: ‘The welfare of those in our custody is a top priority. There are stringent procedures in place to ensure transgender prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law.
‘We have robust safeguards in place to ensure that the system is not abused.’
The care of transgender prisoners was reviewed last year and arrangements were implemented in January 2017.
A Gender Recognition Certificate is proof of legal gender, but the absence of it does not automatically prevent a prisoner being located in the part of the estate consistent with the gender they identify with.
Where a transgender offender expresses a view of prison location that is not consistent with their legally recognised gender, the offender must provide evidence of living in the gender with which they identify.
This evidence is then considered by a Transgender Case Board together with all known risk factors before a decision is made.
Whilst that process takes place, transgender prisoners are able to live in the gender they identify.