News & Politics

#justice4jane

janedoe

PHOTO CREDIT: JUSTICE4JANE

Last month, US District Judge Barbara Cobb struck down the marriage ban in my supremely divided state. Queers in our urban areas (Madison and Milwaukee) spent the weekend getting hitched; marriage was slower to come to the LGBTQIA families in other areas of the state, and it didn’t last. A stay has been issued, pending more law-wrangling that is all but guaranteed to fail.

And for those of us who take issue with the obsession our culture has created with the right to marry, it was a tumultuous weekend – emotional teary moments watching our neighbors and friends get married, and the cold, grounding realization that we have so much work left to do.

I could write about that but I already have and there are plenty of smarter people talking about it, too. And I don’t want to discount the positive change that marriage equality is bringing to the greater queer family around the world.

So instead, I’m going to tell you about one of those things we should be thinking about, something at least equal in importance to marriage equality.

Jane Doe is a 16-year-old Latina transgender girl who was held in solitary confinement in the state of Connecticut for seventy-seven days. She has never been charged with a crime or convicted of one though even if she was, the United Nations has deemed solitary confinement torture and “called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible, with an absolute prohibition in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities.” (Emphasis mine.)

Jane Doe herself writes:

 “I am suffering in here. I’m having trouble sleeping and I’m not eating much. I cry in bed every night. I can’t be myself in this place. I feel forgotten and thrown away. As you probably know, these feeling are not new for me. This is the way my life has been going since I was a little kid.”

A child should not be in solitary confinement. A child should not be raised by an already deeply flawed prison system. She’s out of solitary (thank god and the amazing forces of all of the people who have been working so hard to get her out) and now Jane is being held in a secure psychiatric facility. This is definitely a step up, but it’s not enough. Jane needs a family, stability, and to live life like a normal 16-year-old girl. She was interviewed in the New York Times, and I urge you all to read the summary there.

So while we’re wondering what the next same-sex marriage ruling has in store for us, let’s help Jane out, alright? Alright? You should:

  • Check out the Justice4Jane facebook page and the twitter feed.
  • Write a letter to Jane to show your support. Jane needs to know that folks care about her and are standing behind her, and you can get a letter to Jane by sending an email to justice4janedoe@gmail.com.
  • Share Jane’s story, posts like this and the one above, and try to help find a better situation for Jane.

In the comments on her Facebook page, the Justice4Jane group writes,

“Right now, what people can do is look for (preferably trans) people who want to adopt and foster her in the CT area. We will be putting together instructions to take action on her behalf in these next phases in the near future.”

We are slowly toppling the marriage inequalities in our states. Imagine what we could do if we used that power to help our LGBTQIA children – act now! 

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: REPEAL HYDE ART PROJECT

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for taking the time to write about this. How awful! I hope that she is getting the care (and the justice) that she deserves.

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