Those prisons who fail to abide by the edict could face jail time.
The new guidelines from the British Ministry of Justice instruct that all prisoners legally recognized as female are entitled to places in women's prison and add,
An establishment must permit prisoners who consider themselves transsexual and wish to begin gender reassignment to live permanently in their acquired gender. Transsexual people, particularly those who have not undergone surgery or extended hormone therapy, may use various items to assist with their presentation in their acquired gender. These can range from sophisticated prostheses to padded bras. Regardless of their level of sophistication, access to them can only be restricted in exceptional circumstances. These items may only be prohibited when it can be demonstrated that they present a security risk which cannot be reasonably mitigated....Both male-to-female and female-to-male transsexual people may use make-up to present more convincingly in their acquired gender. Make-up that is vital to presenting in the acquired gender, such as foundation to cover up beard growth, may not be restricted."
On a day when one writer describes the NHS sexual-reassignment process as a needlessly-long "endurance test," this is indeed a sign of a real shift in the perception of the transgendered. It's yet another acknowledgment that this is not a "choice" but a reality — and one society is slowly coming to understand.