VICTORY: Georgia changes policy on trans prisoners’ hormone treatment

ashley-diamondA Georgia trans woman in state prison will finally be able to continue hormone treatments, thanks to pressure from the U.S. Justice Department who sided with her lawsuit against prison authorities.

From Gay Star News:

According to the lawsuit, officials refused Diamond to continue her hormone treatment; she was also placed in unsafe facilities with violent men, according to health24.

Diamond, who was convicted of burglary and other charges in 2012, had been receiving hormone treatment for 17 years before she went to prison, according to reports.

Georgia’s Department of Corrections initially refused her request for hormone treatment despite Diamond attempting suicide and self-castration; a prison psychologist also urged the department to continue her treatment.

The Department of Justice called denying prisoners their hormone treatment a ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ as it inflicts physical pain and leads to muscle spasms and a loss of breast mass.

Her lawsuit was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery against Valdosta State Prison. Diamond, who is 36 and had taken hormone therapy for 17 years, was sent to prison in 2012 on a non-violent theft charge, after which she was denied treatment by prison staff. Among the mistreatments documented by the SPLC in their lawsuit (bolding is mine):

Diamond endured a painful physical transformation after her hormone therapy was terminated by corrections staff. Her facial hair started growing and her body reverted to a masculine state. She even attempted suicide and self-castration.

The Georgia Department of Corrections blatantly disregarded her health and mental state, insisting that she simply adapt. When she entered Valdosta State Prison, officials told her that they didn’t have the means to protect transgender prisoners. Staff instructed her to “guard your booty” and be prepared to fight, according to the lawsuit. Officials placed Diamond in solitary confinement for “pretending to be a woman.” She also was placed in solitary for 10 days after meeting with SPLC attorneys.

Some prison officials ridiculed Diamond. The lawsuit describes how a Valdosta State Prison official referred to Diamond as a “he-she-thing” in front of inmates and personnel. Staffers were encouraged to ridicule Diamond for her gender expression and to instruct her to act and appear male. When Diamond filed a complaint about this treatment, it was rejected by prison officials on the grounds that Diamond was “clearly a man, not a woman.”

The SPLC’s case “describes how denying this medically necessary care resulted in grave physical and mental harm to Diamond, including mental anguish and bodily harm, in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”

via Georgia changes policy on trans prisoners’ hormone treatment | Gay Star News.

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