In 2013, various newspapers wrongly reported that Baker had received gender confirmation surgery paid for by the NHS – sensationalist and transphobic coverage that Baker challenges in her book.Instead, she says that a gender identity clinic denied her both a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and any treatment while she is in prison.
Baker writes that she was told that she must first live in her affirmed gender for two years outside of prison and, since she is serving a life sentence, this could be a number of years and depends on when she gets parole.
Ministry of Justice guidance on the care of transgender prisoners states that: “The prison GP must refer all applications for gender reassignment surgery to a consultant specialising in gender dysphoria and will ordinarily accept advice from the consultant about whether gender reassignment surgery is considered appropriate in a particular case.” Having lived openly as a woman for five years in prison, Baker says in the book that in early 2017 she resorted to removing her own testicles with a razor in her prison cell.
She explains that this “self-administered medical procedure” felt like her only option, given her longstanding and ongoing inability to access any treatment via official channels.
In my own correspondence with her, Baker told me that she later went to hospital, and needed two operations.
He also challenged the department's contention that Hampton is a greater risk to women because she hasn't had sex reassignment surgery, saying such a view "conflicts with all reliable medical literature." He added Hampton's low testosterone levels due to previous hormone treatments meant she was "functionally chemically castrated." A decision on the transfer request isn't expected for several weeks.
During the past 18 months, three openly transgender women have taken their own lives in custody in England: Vikki Thompson, Joanne Latham and Jenny Swift.Having a court decide where to send Hampton and other transgender inmates "would directly interfere with the operations of the (department) in a situation where Plaintiff is merely attempting to manipulate the system," Illinois Department of Corrections lawyers argued in a filing.The same state filing casts doubt, not only on Hampton's accounts of abuse by guards, but on her gender identity — alleging that Hampton in initial sessions with prison health workers never claimed to be transgender and, in the words of the filing, "was ok with being male." But a key witness for Hampton, clinical psychiatrist George Brown, said in a declaration to the court before Friday's hearing that Hampton shows all the features of someone convinced of their identity as a female, saying Hampton has identified as female since the age of five.Baker’s personal story of life behind bars is shared in the book’s postscript.She describes in detail the discrimination, verbal, physical and sexual abuse that she has experienced since coming out as trans while in prison. Complaints she has made about her treatment have fallen on deaf ears.In her new book, Transgender Behind Prison Walls, Sarah Baker has added her voice to this conversation.