A 53 year old women was sentenced to three years imprisonment. The charges against here were related to distribution of child pornography online. Even thought she is a transgender women, she is forced to carry out her sentence in the men penal colony. Se has applied for an appeal but the verdict still remains a mystery. As her hormonal therapy is still on going, she is still legally a male. Her friends and family are afraid that here three year sentence could turn into a death sentence.
Lets get to know more about Michelle.
Michelle is a 53 year old women. And she is a transgender living in Russia. She worked as an epidemiologist at a local clinic in Russia. Michelle is going through hormonal therapy. She is looking to transform completely. Even so, the Russian law still considers her to be a male. She was accused of distributing child pornography on social media. Hentai is sexual drawings that feature naked characters form Japanese cartoons. Michelle posted these drawings on social media in 2013 and 2014. The police started investigation on 2018. They arrested here immediately.
The law enforcement called for an expert to study the drawings. The witness determined that the drawing depicted children under 14 years of age. The authorities took Michelle into custody. She remains in solitary until her case is up for appeal. The case is kept behind closed door because it surrounds child pornography. Most of the documents remain undisclosed under the Russian laws to protect underage victims.
A trans blogger named Lada Preobrazhenskaya has been assisting Michelle in her legal proceedings. She mentions that it is not possible to know the age of these characters as they are only cartoon.
“They are cartoon characters, how can one really establish how old they are?” she told CBS News.
She is fighting for her trans rights.
Along with the help of Lada, Michelle appointed a public defender to take up her case. They started raising the money to hire the Moscow lawyer to appeal her case. Currently, Michelle is in custody in her hometown of Bryansk (a small city that is located about 200 miles southwest of Moscow). This is where she is waiting for her case to come to court. Michele will be sent to prison if the court denies her appeal. Where she will have to carry out her sentence in a male colony.
Because of the criminal case she lost her job as an epidemiologist. To top it off, she is also a survivor of bladder cancer. As a transgender women, she has to face a lot of problems in and out of prison.
It is not easy for a transgender women to survive in a mans cell block. There is a lot of problems she might face. Things could get brutal and sexual for Michelle. Her friends and family worry about the consequences she might face in a mens penal colony. It is almost as good as a death sentence for Michelle at this point.
“such a blatant disregard for her gender identity leaves Michelle extremely vulnerable to abuse by both male detainees and guards.”- Human Rights Watch.
Michells might faces many issues if appeal is denied
Michelle also had the LGBTQ community helping her fight the case. Maria Chaschilova, a lawyer at the Community Center advised Michelle to use her male name and behave like a man. It was her only chance to survive the three years sentence that she had.
“She will be either killed or heavily beaten there,” Preobrazhenskaya predicted.
Another issue Michelle would have to face could have more serious effects on her health in the later run. Maria Chaschilova states Michelle should continue her hormonal therapy. They are not sure if the officials would allow for the treatment to continue. According to The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, anyone who do not continue the treatment have a high likelihood of negative outcomes. They might develop depression, dysphoria or even suicidal. It is not the best thing to suddenly stop treatment. But in Michelles case, there is nothing much she can do.
LGBTQ people have to face many problems when it comes to the law. Some laws are in favor of them while others blatantly disregard their sexuality. There are communities that provide lawyers to fight cases for them but to reach a fair verdict, they have to face many issues.
What do you think about Michelles story? It is going to be a long wait for Michelle to know the verdict. Will the verdict be in her favor? Will she be allowed to move to a women facility? This and more are the questions that could be running in her mind. All she can do is wait and find out.