A transgender woman claims she suffered 14 sexual assaults after being made to serve out a jail term in a men’s prison.
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Ashley Diamond, 42, says the abuse included four sex attacks over three days by multiple male inmates, and sexual harassment carried out by a prison employee.
Diamond, who is now suing the Georgia Department of Corrections, says one officer called a dormitory-wide meeting at the men’s maximum-security prison where he is said to have disclosed Diamond’s private medical information, and described her as ‘a freak’, ‘he’ and ‘it.’
Diamond says she was then assaulted shortly after arriving at the prison, and claims to have suffered 48 straight hours of sexual harassment by a worker who locked her in his office two days in a row.
The trans rights campaigner said:
Being a woman in a men’s prison is a nightmare. I’ve been stripped of my identity. I never feel safe. Never. I experience sexual harassment on a daily basis, and the fear of sexual assault is always a looming thought.
I’m bringing this lawsuit to bring about change on behalf of a community that deserves the inherent dignity to simply exist.
She told Atlanta Daily World that her stints in men’s prisons (she was previously incarcerated in 2015) have ‘devastated’ her mental health, given her PTSD and let her to attempt suicide.
My hope is that the future is brighter for people like me.
I hope this lawsuit forever changes the way transgender people in Georgia are treated. This fight is not just my fight, it’s our fight.
Whether transgender prisoners can be placed in a facility that aligns with their gender identity rather than biological sex varies from state to state, but obviously it’s a complex issue that could be best reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
For example, if you’re transgender but have been convicted for, or had a history of, violence or abuse against a certain gender then you probably shouldn’t be housed with them regardless of your gender identity. However, if you’re in there for something unrelated or minor then maybe it wouldn’t be such a high risk issue? Like I said – it’s complicated. What if you identify as ‘non-binary’? What prison do you get sent to then?
There doesn’t seem to be any mention of what Diamond was jailed for aside from parole violation (the second time), so jury’s out on this one. In any case, there’s no excuse or justification for what she went through during her time in prison. That’s obviously true whether you’re a man, woman or trans, and unfortunately sexual abuse is something that can happen in any prison environment. We’ll have to see what the Georgia courts make of Diamond’s testimony.
While we’re on topic, did you know the kid from ‘Scared Straight’ is now dating the transgender inmate he met in prison? Holy shit.