Thousands are rallying behind a British transgender woman who was sentenced to three months in a male prison.
Tara Hudson, 26, has lived the majority of her adult life as a woman, but when she pleaded guilty to a December 2014 assault, officials in Bath, England, sentenced her to 12 weeks in HM Prison Bristol – an all-men’s facility in Horfield, according to the BBC.
The BBC reports that she began serving the sentence on Friday.
Even though she has reportedly undergone six years of gender reconstruction surgery, authorities assigned Hudson to the male prison because she does not have a Gender Recognition Certificate providing proof of gender transition and legally recognizing a person’s changed sex, The Bath Chronicle reports.
“We think it’s totally outrageous. I don’t think she will cope well at all,” Hudson’s mother, Jackie Brooklyn, said, per the Chronicle. “I just feel the men are going to go after her.”
Hudson’s supporters have started a petition, urging Bath officials to transfer the woman to a female prison. So far, the petition has 56,218 signatures. The goal is 75,000.
In addition to the petition, a Twitter campaign kicked off on Tuesday using hashtags like “ISeeTara and #TransInquiry.
Her supporters hold that assigning Hudson to the men’s prison places her in “extreme danger of abuse, sexual violence, and even death,” according to the petition.
The Bath Gender Equality Network is campaigning for Hudson to be transferred. Ceri Jenkins, the network’s co-founder, said both the organization and the Bath Feminist Network want to help fight “such a clear injustice,” the Chronicle reports.
A prison spokesperson said that it is policy to place prisoners according to their legally recognized gender, the BBC reports.
“These are strict rules in place to ensure transsexual prisoners are managed safely in accordance with the law,” the spokesperson said.
The decision to place Hudson in the men’s prison is being appealed and Bristol court will hear a bid to overturn the decision on Friday, Oct. 30, the Chronicle reports.