Our pal Chad at Cake or Death? has an interesting post today about plans at the Rikers Island prison to replace its “gay dorm” with a new “system that will protect any inmate who feels threatened.” While a number of left-wing groups, two of them gay, protested, this seems like a good plan to me. I always thought that the goal of the gay and lesbian movement should be to integrate us into society rather than create separate institutions where we would live apart from our straight peers.
Provided that the safety concerns of gay and lesbian inmates are met, shouldn’t prisons treat gay and lesbian convicts the same as straight prisoners? The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force think otherwise. These groups have written Department of Correction Commissioner Martin Horn asking him to “reconsider” his plan to shut down the prison’s dormitory for gay and transgender prisoners.
If some gay and lesbian people really do want to live in their separate enclaves, they should, of course, be allowed to do so. But, before breaking the law, these inmates should have considered that their behavior would likely deprive them of that option.
Now that I’ve whet your appetite, make sure you read Chad’s post for his take on the matter and a taste of his wit and wisdom.