Their deaths speak of the difficulties that transgender people face behind bars.
The ongoing inquest into Thompson’s death sheds some light onto those experiences.
Having a court decide where to send Hampton and other transgender inmates "would directly interfere with the operations of the (department) in a situation where Plaintiff is merely attempting to manipulate the system," Illinois Department of Corrections lawyers argued in a filing.
The same state filing casts doubt, not only on Hampton's accounts of abuse by guards, but on her gender identity — alleging that Hampton in initial sessions with prison health workers never claimed to be transgender and, in the words of the filing, "was ok with being male." But a key witness for Hampton, clinical psychiatrist George Brown, said in a declaration to the court before Friday's hearing that Hampton shows all the features of someone convinced of their identity as a female, saying Hampton has identified as female since the age of five.
In 2013, various newspapers wrongly reported that Baker had received gender confirmation surgery paid for by the NHS – sensationalist and transphobic coverage that Baker challenges in her book.