Trans woman forced to stay in male prison ‘despite repeated rapes’
A trans woman is being forced to stay in a male prison, despite being repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted.
Lambda Legal had filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Texas trans woman Passion Star, who has been housed in a number of all-male facilities across the state.
Star alleges that while in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, she has “been raped, forced to submit to undesired sexual acts to escape violence, and/or threatened with sexual assault”.
The prisoner was denied parole last month by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles – despite her white transgender co-defendant’s release two years ago.
Star was handed a 20-year sentence for ‘aggravated kidnapping’ as a teen, after her boyfriend refused to return the used car they were test driving to the dealership, instead driving for several hours with the car salesman in the passenger seat and Star in the back.
Lambda Legal, says the disparity between the pair illustrates “the injustice that runs throughout the criminal system”, and continues to pursue legal action on behalf of Star, who claims she prison officers have failed to protect her from sexual victimization.
She said previously: “Somebody, somehow, needs to shed light on what is taking place here in Texas prisons.
“TDCJ officials get away with so much and disregard so many legitimate threats to people’s safety, and it needs to stop somewhere.
“I fight for my life every day in here. Safety from rape and assault is not a privilege. It’s a right, and I hope that this lawsuit will help make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
The federal Prison Rape Elimination Act requires states to “take measures to eliminate sexual abuse of people in custody” – but Lambda Legal says former Texas Governor Rick Perry declined funding under the law.
The UK has repeatedly faced questions in recent weeks about the housing of trans women in male prisons.