A transgender woman was allegedly refused access to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and put in a men's prison after being arrested in East London.
The woman, who was arrested on 4 February, spent a night in police custody where friends said she was unable to access the HRT they brought her, and was then remanded in HM Thameside Prison in Greenwich, a men's facility, while her magistrates' court hearing was postponed.
In a petition on Change.org entitled 'Trans Woman of Colour housed in men's prison and denied HRT in custody', the author, Ginger Farbrother, wrote: "A young trans woman of colour was arrested in East London on the evening of Thursday 4 February and held in custody at a local police station until her court hearing on Saturday 6 February, which took place at Thames Magistrates Court in Bow.
"While she was held in custody, friends attempted to take her prescribed HRT medication to her, and were assured that this would be passed on. However, we have reason to believe that it was withheld from her.
"At the hearing, the solicitor called to adjourn the proceedings until Monday 8 February on the grounds that he did not have sufficient information from her to provide her with representation. In the interim, she has been remanded in custody, which will be served at HM Thameside Prison, which is a private men's prison in Greenwich, south east London.
"Placing her in a prison facility which is not gender-appropriate is completely unacceptable and a violation of her human and civil rights (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 1999); moreover, gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010."
More than 2,700 people have signed the petition calling on the woman to be placed in a gender-appropriate facility, although it is believed she was released from custody on 8 February.
The Ministry of Justice's 2011 guidelines on accommodating transgender people specifies that prisoners should be 'located according to the gender that would be recognised under UK law', but also makes allowances for the fact that there should be discussions to consider 'the most appropriate' accommodation.
Acknowledging this, the petition added: "The requirements for this are fully satisfied by this woman's having lived in her gender role for over two years, and having commenced hormonal therapy one year ago. However, as she does not have a gender recognition certificate, an Equalities Impact Assessment will need to be made in order to ensure that she is treated appropriately.
"We, the undersigned, therefore call on Thames Magistrates Court, Director John Biggin of HM Thameside Prison, Tower Hamlets MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali, and the British judicial system as a whole to: provide this young woman immediate access to her HRT medication, rehouse her in a women's prison, and carry out an Equalities Impact Assessment in order to ensure that she is appropriately cared for."
The petition was later updated to state that Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse Jim Fitzpatrick had said he would contact the prison.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: "We are reviewing our guidelines to see what improvements can be made to the way we manage the safety and wellbeing of transgender prisoners.
"The revised guidelines will be published in due course."