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Trans woman put into men’s jail for transmitting HIV and denied hormones

Trans woman put into men's jail for transmitting HIV and denied hormones

CJ Palmer is a trans woman who was thrown into a men’s prison. | Photo: Out In Perth

A trans sex worker was sentenced to six years in jail after she was accused of transmitting HIV.

CJ Palmer was charged with causing Grievous Bodily Harm and sentenced last month.

She had already served nine months in a maximum security men’s prison in the Australian state of Western Australia (WA).

Palmer was kept in solitary confinement, denied access to her hormone medication and appropriate clothing.

But in his sentencing, Presiding Judge Stevenson at the WA District Court said he expected the prison will receive a copy of the hearing’s transcript to ensure her needs are met.

‘We welcome the indication from Judge Stevenson that this extremely heavy sentence is basically on the condition that she will keep receiving her hormone treatments,’ The Institute of Many’s co-founder Nic Holas told OUTinPerth.

‘That is the only silver lining on what is a very dark day for every single person living with HIV in this country, as well as the transgender and sex worker communities.’

End criminalization of HIV

A coalition of sex worker and HIV advocacy groups came together to issue a statement condemning Palmer’s sentence.

They argued that criminal law should not be used in cases of alleged non-intentional HIV transmission. Doing so has the potential to undermine public health objectives and increase HIV diagnoses, the coalition said.

Jules Kim is the CEO of Scarlet Alliance the Australian Sex Work Alliance. She said a lot of the conversation around Palmer’s case was sensationalized and that reinforced a perception that people living with HIV were criminals (PLHIV).

‘This unfairly reinforces discrimination against sex workers and people living with HIV, which is already pervasive in the broader community,’ Kim said.

‘HIV prevention is extremely effective for sexual contact and HIV transmission risk is not increased by the exchange of money for sex.

‘In Australia sex workers have maintained incredibly low rates of HIV.

‘Sex workers living with HIV can routinely exchange sex for money without putting themselves, or their clients, at risk.’

Helping CJ

Palmer is not coping well in solitary confinement, according to the Scarlet Alliance.

So the group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to make sure Palmer’s has plenty of money on her prison commissary account and phone card.

‘Showing that she is not alone is important more now than ever before,’ Scarlet Alliance wrote on the crowdfunding page.

‘CJ would also appreciate any letters.’

The prison will read the letters and may also censor them if deemed to ‘jeopardise the security and good order of the prison or is of a threatening or harassing nature’.

If you would like to send a message of support to CJ you can write to her at:

Clayton Palmer

Casuarina Prison

Locked Bag No 1

Kwinana Post Office



If you would like to donate to the CJ’s commissary account, you can do so here.

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