Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming
Incarceration Support

un·der·ground e·con·o·my (noun)

Also known as Black Market or Shadow Economy,the Underground Economy refers to illegal economic activity. Work in the underground economy is illegal because the good or service being traded is itself illegal This type of work can include drugs, prostitution, fraud, robbery, etc.

Our Mission

To uplift Trans & Gender Non-Conforming Prisoners through "Free-World" Community Support.

16% of Trans and Gender Non-conforming people have served time in jail or prison*. Of those who have been incarcerated, an overwhelming 41% have reported harassment, neglect, physical abuse or sexual assault. In Georgia, the recidivism rate for the Trans community has reached an alarming 57%.

Freedom Overground's mission is to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of the trans community during and after incarceration. We are currently serving the Georgia prison population, but are hoping to create a benchmark for national change. Our initiatives and programs ensure that the medical and therapeutic needs of trans incarcerated people are met by state facilities, thereby improving their livelihood upon release and reducing recidivism.

The Problem

There are many challenges facing the transgender community. Nearly all of these issues stem from family abandonment and discrimination in the areas of housing and employment. Inability to obtain employment often results in chronic homelessness.  Georgia homeless shelters and halfway houses do not accept anyone who identifies as transgender. This forces the transgender community to seek out sources of survival in the same underground economy (sex work, drugs, theft, etc). When a transgender person is incarcerated, they are often denied access to gender-affirming care, hormones. Due to lack of re-entry and post-incarceration programs that accept transgender parolees, many people return to working in the underground economy that was likely the source of their original incarceration. As a result, the transgender community has an exceptionally high recidivism rate in the state of Georgia. By creating programs to assist the incarcerated transgender community with counseling, resources and medical care during incarceration, we help to improve their chances for success in post incarceration recovery.  

The issues that we hope to address with our programs include;

  • Basic respect for identity 
  • Access to gender affirming clothing
  • Access to programs, jobs, and recreational opportunities
  • Lack of competent medical care
  • The use of solitary housing to “Protect” trans inmates
  • Retaliation for complaints
  • Sexual Violence
  • Coercion
  • Access to PTSD or trauma therapy
  • Harassment
  • Suicide

Our Vision

To live in a world where our services are no longer necessary.

Our History

Freedom Overground grew from one individual, Ky Peterson's campaign for trans related medical care in 2014. In the years that have followed, our initiatives have become a pilot for change in Trans prisoner support. Our organizers are fighting for changes in policy that will improve the quality of life for all Trans prisoners.

In 2015 the Federal courts demanded that Georgia enforce their policies regarding the treatment of trans inmates however, the prison administrations insisted on remaining non-compliant. When it comes to state policy, if the state provides a service for one, they must provide it for all. Our public organizing campaigns target the state of Georgia and force them to comply with their own policies. From hormones to undergarments to gender-affirming hygiene products... every victory we have achieved sets a new standard of care for every Trans and GNC prisoner in need.

As word of our organizing spread through the prisons, the demand for transitional support and assistance began to grow. Over time, Freedom Overground began assisting Trans and GNC peoples in several Georgia facilities. In the summer of 2017, Freedom Overground Corp. partnered with TRANScending Barriers Atlanta for the development of several new programs designed to create safer environments for incarcerated peoples and continuation of support. upon their release.