Press Release: Federal Prison Approves Treatment for Transgender Prisoner Marius Mason

DATE 8/16/2016
For immediate release

Federal Prison Approves Treatment for Transgender Prisoner Marius Mason
Long-Awaited Decision Clears the Way for Hormone Therapy

Fort Worth, Texas—In a long-awaited decision by administrators at FMC Carswell, a federal correctional institution, Marius Mason has been approved to begin hormone treatment for medical gender transition. Mason, who was assigned female at birth, is an environmental activist, sentenced in 2009 to 22 years in federal prison for the 1999 sabotage of a Monsanto laboratory on the Michigan State University campus. Marius was diagnosed with Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID) around 2013, and came out as trans to friends, family and supporters in 2014. Since then he has been seeking gender-affirming health care, including hormone treatment, or “T” that will cause him to develop male secondary sex characteristics. It is believed that he will be the first trans masculine person to obtain transition-related health care after coming into federal custody.

Although he uses masculine pronouns and the name Marius, the states of Texas and Michigan, where he could be said legally to reside, forbid name changes for incarcerated people. Experts in the treatment of trans people, however, insist that respect for a patient’s identity, including a gender-appropriate name and pronouns, constitute medically necessary care. Prisons are required to provide medically necessary care.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has had a policy on the care of individuals with GID since at least 2011, but despite Marius’ 2013 GID diagnosis, it was not until an independent expert review of Marius’ medical records that administrators and staff at FMC Carswell agreed to administer hormone treatment. The facility is now much closer to compliance with federal policy on gender-affirming care, and it is hoped that they will acknowledge the use of gender-affirming names and pronouns as a medical necessity.

Estimates of the number of transgender people in the population at large is difficult to estimate, both because the Census Bureau does not track this demographic, and because continued discrimination deters many people from coming out. As a result of transphobia, transgender people are disproportionately forced out of homes and the workforce, and are as a group over-represented in carceral settings. The decision of FMC Carswell to come into compliance with the Bureau of Prisons directive on GID promises to have positive effects for many other incarcerated trans persons.

For more information about transgender people in prisons, see http://www.blackandpink.org/

For more information about Marius Mason, see https://supportmariusmason.org

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It’s Like Aesop Said (an Election Year Cautionary Tale) Poem by Marius

It’s Like Aesop Said (an Election Year Cautionary Tale)

Oh these silly frogs, all day long they cry

God tossed back His head, annoyed, with a sigh

They pray for a King and don’t want to be free

What shall I do for them, why can’t they see?

A King is a dangerous thing

To have or to be

An idea came to Him then, with a smile

Alright,alright, He shouted down to them, just wait a while

I’ll make you a ‘leader’, let this praying be shushed!

Now get out of the way, or else you’ll be crushed

From the high vaults of heaven, dropped the prodigious log

Crashing into the waters of the little frogs’ bog

It settled, all sturdy, a place in the sun

And the frogs all jumped up to sit, one by one

An evil-eyed pike cruised the shadows and pouted

I can’t get you up there, not at all, he shouted

With a flick of his tail, he swam away fast

The little frogs sighed, safe and happy at last

But quickly grew bored, as little frogs do

Oh this log is no King! It can’t say what to do!

Their cries rose to Heaven and managed to reach

God’s angry ears, and a lesson He’d teach

Oh very well, I will send you a King

One made in Hell, I guess that’s the thing!

Enough of your whining, your foolishness dooms you

Here comes your King, you deserve him to rule you!

A black silhouette blocks the sun and the glade

And the frogs all look up from their place in the shade

An imperious heron, a beak sharp as a blade

Feathered pompadour floating, with tons of pomade

Has come to be King of the frogs