The raising of the Pride and Transgender flags signal the start of Pride Week in Victoria, running from July 1 to 9. Morgan Cross/Black Press News Services

Transgender inmate in B.C. wins right to move to a federal prison for women

VANCOUVER — A transgender inmate in British Columbia has won a years-long battle to serve the remainder of her sentence for first-degree murder at a women’s prison.

Fallon Aubee is one of the first federal prisoners to relocate under policy changes at Correctional Services Canada that allow inmates to transfer facilities based on gender identity and not physical anatomy, said Jennifer Metcalfe, a spokeswoman for the West Coast Prison Justice Society.

“It’s a really big deal,” she said.

Metcalfe is a lawyer who heads the organization’s legal-aid clinic that advocates for transgender inmates.

“I’ve had a number of transgender women prisoner clients who have been held in men’s prisons and who faced a lot of day-to-day discrimination, such as name calling and harassment from both correctional staff and other prisoners.”

Transgender women living in men’s prisons are also particularly vulnerable to sexual assault, she said, adding that the transfer would take place on Tuesday.

Aubee, whose first name was Jean Paul, was convicted in 2003 for a gang-related killing that took place in Saskatchewan about 10 years earlier.

Aubee’s ex-wife told police in 1997 that Aubee and a man had killed Gordon Spears.

However, officers laid charges only after staging an undercover sting operation entangling Aubee in a supposed crime syndicate.

Metcalfe said Aubee has been working for at least 10 years to transfer to a women’s prison.

“We’re just really happy to finally see it happening federally,” she said, adding that similar policies are already in place for provincial institutions in Ontario and British Columbia.

The West Coast Prison Justice Society is still advocating for private shower and washroom facilities for transgender inmates held in prisons that don’t match their gender.

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