First-self-Kalki-Subramaniam, Transitions, Abolition Now!
Art by: Transgender artivist Kalki Subramaniam

by Suyakami of the 3-6 Movement

I arrived at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in early 2021 from a men’s prison on order of the California Supreme Court (not under SB 132), because my birth certificate assigns my sex as female. I was housed in the Reception Center, an intake and orientation unit, with three other trans women (SB 132s) who came from other prisons. 

In the ensuing days, we were given orientation materials, met with a case worker and appeared before a classification committee. Due to Covid, the unit was being cell-fed, but we otherwise went to the yard and dayroom, had daily showers, used the phones and kiosks and related program activities. We had the opportunity to interact with natal women. Our interaction was positive; the women were receptive and sharing. 

Second-Self-Kalki-Subramaniam, Transitions, Abolition Now!
“In being in women’s prisons now, we are in a new reality unlike any we have heretofore experienced. This is the real thing, not something printed on paper that we have been reading and writing about for years. It is a transitional experience we could never have in the men’s prisons, being among women now, learning directly from them about womanhood, what it is like being a woman. It is the highest stage of our transition, the subjective transition, the subjective component, more fundamental even than SRS could ever be. This is our golden opportunity. Do not squander it. Transition.” – Suyakami  Art by: Transgender artivist Kalki Subramaniam 

In my talks with the natal women, I was told that some women don’t want transwomen here and are going to make efforts to have us removed, but that there are also those who are not antagonistic to our trans status and are friendly and welcome us. 

I will add that there are also those who are attracted to us. These are the three universal reactions to us, in prisons, in societies: attraction, repulsion, neutrality. 

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I didn’t experience hate in the Reception Center, but rather welcome, and women introducing themselves, asking how I like it here and giving me things. A couple of them came on to me. 

After two weeks, two of us were moved to general population housing, units with eight-bed rooms. 

There were five natal women of different races in my assigned room. I was welcomed, but regarded with uncertainty. I was asked what prison I came from and if I’ve had SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery). I explained that my genitals are private. 

One roommate asked if I was capable of getting her pregnant. I advised that that was not going to happen, nor anything else of a sexual nature. Within a few hours, they became more relaxed. I settled in. 

Some days later, one of my roommates made a false accusation against me under PREA, the Prison Rape Prevention Act, that I came on to her. Pursuant to PREA, she was put in a segregation unit on non-disciplinary status. Although I was surprised, I wasn’t thrown off balance because I was on alert that such things would happen. I wasn’t questioned. 

The next day, she confessed to the sergeant that she had lied and was issued a rules violation report and sanctioned for filing a false report. She was later let back into the room and apologized to me. I bore her no ill will and accepted her apology. 

Ironically, after she began to really get to know me, we developed a good rapport. We have since been in different housing; But now, whenever we meet, she has a big smile and open arms and a hug and makes sure I’m all right. 

Another woman, who I later met on a different yard and who was outspoken against transwomen and opposed to our presence at CCWF, had a change of feeling, thought and perspective on the subject per se after we’d spent some days in dialogue and is now an advocate on my behalf, though she remains wary of other transwomen here, those who have demonstrated behavior that the women deem threatening, harmful and offensive to them, and which brings them fear. 

These and other transmitters of poison must be actively countered with the union of all oppressed LGBT people and their allies. Let the haters beware that their evil intent will not come to fruition.

There have been incidents of violence by transwomen against natal women at this prison, at least two that I am aware of, and bravado that transwomen are going to take over. This is totally inappropriate and irresponsible and is outside the scope of the transition model. 

While in the Reception Center, we agreed that transwomen should not assault the natal women even if attacked, but should step back and avoid. It is not appropriate for us to hit the natal women and we remain steadfast in this principle and reiterate it here: Do not hit the women. Do not threaten them.

The violence incidents occurred before we got here. We have put our position out to the other transwomen here. In addition to it being inappropriate under the circumstances, it feeds into the hate and into the narrative that we should not be here. Swallow your pride. Integrate. Transition. 

There is a distinctive element of extreme haters of transwomen working together in and out of this prison, who are on an all-out offensive to have transwomen removed from women’s prisons in California. Outside, they go by the Women’s Liberation Front (WOLF) and Woman II Woman. 

Their leaders are Lauren Adams and Amie Ichikawa, who espouse the most virulent antitranswomen hate propaganda, full of misinformation, a truly viscious brew of antitranssexual genocide-by-word, persecution and sexism, in the same sexist fashion that they complain natal women are portrayed by the patriarchy – hypocrites to the letter. 

These and other transmitters of poison must be actively countered with the union of all oppressed LGBT people and their allies. Let the haters beware that their evil intent will not come to fruition. (See Postscript.) 

There has been a lot of goodness towards me, women just being friendly and positive, providing me with things I need without me asking, greeting me with handshakes, waves and smiles, complete strangers. There has been some flirting with me, but like the hate, it’s expected and I take it in stride, respectfully avoiding entanglements. 

Once, when I was moved on a routine room shuffle, my roommates protested that they wanted me to stay, but the fix was in. They surrounded me in a hug-huddle as we prayed together before I left. They told me to try to come back. 

Since being here, I have helped some of the women file administrative complaints and court litigation against unlawful prison conditions that adversely affect them. As a formally trained paralegal, trained by an attorney at law, and long-time jailhouse lawyer, this is what I do. 

I wrote a grievance for a transman to be issued condoms. Men’s prisons in California issue condoms for safe-sex health practice, despite a rule prohibiting sex among inmates. But when this inmate asked for condoms for the same purpose, he was told that they are not issued in women’s prisons, and to refrain from sex to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases. Imagine that! 

Prison officials allow inmates in men’s prisons an opportunity to have safe sex with each other, indeed provide them with the means of doing so, but do not likewise allow or provide for inmates in women’s prisons to have safe sex and thereby be free of sexually-transmitted diseases. 

Sex, after all, is a natural and necessary human function and expression, and it is inhumane to separate the sexes – denying them sex with each other – for years and decades as a means of punishment. It’s cruel. This presents issues of sex and gender discrimination and equal protection of the law – constitutional issues worthy of litigation, and there will be litigation.  

I am working with another woman in her pro se litigation for medical treatment, critical surgery recommended by prison doctors that the prison is unwilling to provide. The most frequent request I get for legal help is to fight the wide scale practice of issuing separation chronos, documentation prohibiting suspected lovers from living in the same room or unit or yard, an arbitrary practice that is abused without oversight. 

There is no rule against inmates being in love with each other. This practice is all the more strange considering that prison officials are willing to accommodate the inevitability of inmates having sex with each other in men’s prisons by providing them with condoms to do it safely, even though there continues to be a long-standing rule against having sex, yet punish women inmates who succumb to the inevitability of falling in love with each other under the circumstances. 

I’ve heard many stories of those who were separated on the flimsiest pretext, saw the pain in their faces, read their chronos. I am helping one such couple file a lawsuit to defeat this cruel and unjust practice. 

We are in a total women’s world. There is an entirely different cultural metabolism here.

Some of the women are jailhouse lawyers keen on the law, studious and serious about their law practice. They have made me a member of their Legal Support Group, which helps inmates litigate their issues within the prison grievance system and in the courts. 

I consult with a woman who was a practicing lawyer before her imprisonment, and who just had her murder conviction overturned. I am teaching a transman how to litigate, at his request. 

I participate in the Native women’s circle on the yard, which meets once a week, where we talk, drum, sing and pray together. I am designated as the grounds keeper of the Sacred Sweat Lodge. 

I attend Computer and Related Technology classes and am an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) worker, taking wheelchair-bound inmates to their appointments. 

I have been on every yard, from A to D, on administrative or convenience moves, have been in different rooms and met hundreds of women. There is much to speak about of life here that cannot be conveyed in a single stroke of the pen. 

The most important thing I wish to impart is that transwomen respect the natal women and the woman culture and traditions within the penal environment. We want to integrate into them as part of the transition process, an environment that has not been previously spoken to with the phenomenon of transitioning from male to female – uncharted waters, with the exception of Nikki Diamond, who wrote a book of her experience at California Institution for Women and others who prefer their trans status remain unknown. It is up to us to make this transition work or to make it a failure and let the haters win. 

We are not living under a men’s culture any more as in the men’s prisons, or even a trans culture. We are in a total women’s world. There is an entirely different cultural metabolism here. There are different ways of thinking and perceiving and doing things and even a different language. For transwomen in prison, this is the ultimate real life experience. At least two transwomen were so overcome by the all-women environment that they voluntarily returned to men’s prisons. 

Like it or not, we are guests here, until we earn our mettle, which is to say, channel our temperament and disposition in rhythm with the woman culture. 

In being in women’s prisons now, we are in a new reality unlike any we have heretofore experienced. This is the real thing, not something printed on paper that we have been reading and writing about for years. 

It is a transitional experience we could never have in the men’s prisons, being among women now, learning directly from them about womanhood, what it is like being a woman. It is the highest stage of our transition, the subjective transition, the subjective component, more fundamental even than SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery) could ever be. This is our golden opportunity. Do not squander it. Transition. 

This is not to say that we should not speak out against the injustice of the haters, but rather to at all times maintain the moral high ground in how we do so, in our thought, disposition, conduct and speech. 

Suyakami, of the Kupanga People, has been imprisoned for 40 years. A decades-long transspiritual political activist, she is serving a life sentence and is age 68. 

Postscript: The Feminist Inquisition 

A political offensive is underway against the transwomen community by an assortment of extreme haters. These individuals are an ilk of American feminists and their allies who are extreme haters of transwomen. They have been indoctrinated and spew a type of Nazi ideology, a subtle blend of racial White feminism, a poisonous American feminism that has been imprinted on the Third World of color and is meant to strip it of its color – its culture, its history, its spiritual base – an ideology that is rooted in the putrid morality of the hate-mongering patriarchy, the anatomical imperative of keeping gender/body in a “proper” pigeon hole. 

Theirs is the reactionary feminism of the West – colorless, the feminism of oppression, a type of feminism that oppresses the Third World, materialist feminism encapsulated within the psyche of the West; American-style feminism that suppresses Third World color and culture; the 1st World feminism of the physical body that suppresses the Third World spiritual body, Third World spirituality, which is to say the phenomenon of transspiritualism that is deemed in the West “transsexualism.” 

Within the Third World, transspiritualism has Divine origins: Transspiritual people have been touched by the Divine, are holy, sacred. In the Third World, “transsexualism” is not a phenomenon of the body or the mind but of the spirit. Outer manifestation (gender/sex) is incidental to the inner, spiritual matrix, in this instance, where the individual is imbued with female spirit directly from the Divine Feminine, dislodging the male spirit in the process. In this supreme process, the body is a conduit to a higher plane. 

In its persecution of transwomen, WOLF speaks of violence at the prison, insinuating a nexus.

“We have now heard from seven different people inside CCWF that at least one woman, possibly more, is now pregnant after being housed with a male felon who was transferred to the women’s prison.” This statement by WOLF appeared on Twitter in early 2021. 

To be sure, consensual sex takes place between transwomen and natal women at the prison. Why shouldn’t it? Is WOLF the sex Gestapo? It is natural. It is expected. The same is so when natal women have sex with each other at the prison. 

It is a fact that many natal women are attracted to transwomen and vice versa. New circumstances birth new consciousness. The hate-mongering antitranswomen element call such relationships “heterosexual,” echoing the patriarchy. Transsexual lesbianism is a reality, the relationship homosexual. Apparently, WOLF and its ilk are stuck in primitive and reactionary consciousness. 

Haters of transwomen at the prison complain that some transwomen there have a penis and get erections. Again, the sexualization, the genitalization, the degradation of people into sex organs, is the very same way that these women of hate and evil complain of being regarded as cunts. This is the nature of hate. 

In its persecution of transwomen, WOLF speaks of violence at the prison, insinuating a nexus. To be sure, there is violence at CCWF (Central California Women’s Facility). Less than 0.01 percent of that violence is by transwomen. The remainder is woman-on-woman violence or transman-on-woman violence, recorded and unrecorded. That is the real at CCWF. 

WOLF’s reportage is intentionally misleading. It is hate journalism. It is fear-mongering. 

The free world doesn’t know life within CCWF, and the haters exploit this fact to mislead people. Intelligent people fact check. 

CCWF is said to be the largest women’s prison in the world. There are thousands of women in the prison. “Seven different people inside CCWF” do not represent the totality of the reality on the ground among so many women of varying inclinations. Hundreds of women at CCWF can tell anyone that the portrait WOLF presents to the public is highly exaggerated tabloid reportage. 

For being a feminist organization, WOLF degrades and sexualizes women. For WOLF, it is all about sex and pregnancies. But what about love? Certainly, love relationships exist between some transwomen and natal women at the prison. 

WOLF insinuates that any sex or pregnancies that occur at the prison are the result of rape or unwanted sex on the woman’s part. If not rape, then WOLF degrades natal women at the prison as just having animalistic sex with transwomen, with each other, sex just for the sake of sensual gratification, without emotion or love involved. If there are pregnant women at CCWF, were they in love with the person who impregnated them and vice versa? WOLF doesn’t say, doesn’t know. 

Feminist hate organizations like WOLF and its ilk are deficient in consciousness and credibility, and no notice should be taken of such rabble and shady elements, hatemongers, persecutors of transwomen.

Like Western medicine, Western feminism locates transsexualism in the realm of the mind, associates it with the corporeal body, which is antithetical to Third World medicine that locates it in the spirit, and thus its associated religous sacredness in Third World societies. 

Western White feminism, in this instance especially anti-transsexualism, is an attack on Third World cultural and religious values. The stale, White hegemonic, anti-Third World American feminist ideology of the 20th century that festers in the dark minds of the likes of Janice Raymond, Lauren Adams and Amie Ichikawa must be identified, purged and replaced with the New Thinking and New Global Consciousness of the 21st century Third World LGBT Movement to reclaim and to assert our history, our cultural values, our spirituality and our rightful place in the world today. 

In the light of a rabid Feminist Inquisition that is hell-bent on doing genocide-by-other-means to the lot of transsexual women, a united LGBT must step to the fore in a cyber, print and direct political action counteroffensive. 

Let our resistance be implacable and zealous to a fault, forging ever forward and taking not one step backward. 

Send our sister some love and light: Eva Reeves, WB1126, CCWF 512-3-3L, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla, CA 93610.