… in a Virginia Prison.

Virginia’s largest women’s correctional facility allegedly segregated inmates on the basis of actual or assumed sexual orientation over the past year. Women presumed to be gay were housed in a separate wing, 5D, referred to as the “little boys wing” or “butch wing” by guards at Fluvanna Correctional Women’s Facility, reported the Advocate. The inmates housed in wing 5D were allegedly placed there because they were assumed to be lesbians or who were classified as “butch” based on clothing, hair, and/or demeanor.

One witness claims the following being said by a prison manager: “We’re going to break up some of these relationships, start a boys wing, and we’re going to take all these studs and put them together and see how they like looking at nothing but each other all day instead of their girlfriends.”

Once allegations of this practice came out, they stopped, apparently. Details here.


  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    June 22, 2009

    That isn’t even “just” discrimination on the basis of orientation — it’s based on PERCEIVED orientation. As though being heavyset or having short hair or wearing boyish clothes automatically makes you gay.

    And yes, I know, my irritation at that fact misses the point that they shouldn’t be discriminated against in any way, shape or form.

  2. #2 marilove
    June 22, 2009

    So, I guess they don’t realize that super femme women can also be gay?

  3. #3 Stephanie Z
    June 22, 2009

    Of course they can, marilove, but only with a really butch woman dominating them. You know, since they can’t get a guy in the prison. [/galling snark]

  4. #4 Katherine
    June 22, 2009

    When I read a snippet out of a biography of a woman that had been in prison, she told of her relationship with a woman in prison, EVEN THOUGH she was happily straight and married (to a man who was also in prison, miles away). So despite your comment Stephanie, it does seem like at least in this one case, it is entirely plausible.

    I mean don’t perfectly straight men rape other men in prison, because they can’t get a woman? But obviously segregation of ‘obvious gays’ wouldn’t stop that either.

    This story is pretty ridiculous.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    June 22, 2009

    “There is no such thing as straight or gay. There is only a matter of what kind of prison you live in.”