Trans woman sues over alleged sexual harassment in men’s prison
A transgender woman is suing after she was placed in a male prison, and over allegations that she was groped and taunted by male staff and prisoners.
The 52-year-old is suing the Massachusetts Department of Correction with a view to being moved to an all-female facility.
The prisoner has lived for 40 years as female and has been on hormone treatment for that time.
But she was incarcerated at MCI-Norfolk, a men’s facility.
Masachusetts, like many other US states, assigns prisoners based on their sex assigned at birth, not their gender identity.
She hopes to be moved to MCI-Framlington after she said she was groped by correctional officers and other prisoners who she alleges have harassed her.
The prisoner’s lawsuit asks for officials to treat trans women as they would any woman.
This would include using her proper name, and relocating her meaning she would no longer be strip-searched by male correctional officers.
She also complains about being physically exposed to men on regular occasions.
The prisoner is sentenced to a 3 or 4 year sentence for a nonviolent drug charge.
Officials were told that she is a trans woman when they moved her to MCI-Norfolk last October.
She says she has been told she will only be moved to the women’s facility after she has undergone gender affirmation surgery.
The prisoner says she is forced to shower, sleep and use the bathroom with male prisoners.
She also says correctional officers often refer to her and other trans inmates as “wannabe women”.
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The Department has refused to comment on the lawsuit, which says the woman is being discriminated against because she is trans.
It alleges that the discrimination is in violation of her constitutional right to equal protection.
The lawsuit also cites the Americans with Disabilities Act saying she is being dicriminated against by the refusal to move her to a women’s prison.
The prisoner is only named as Jane Doe, the lawsuit says to protect her from further harm.