Monday, April 6, 2015

Transgender Woman Cites Attacks and Abuse in Men's Prisons

(Left) Ashley Diamond before prison
(Right) Diamond after 3 years in prison

Ashley Diamond is a transgender woman jailed in a male prison. Although Diamond has been on hormones for 17 years and had a female body at the time of her arrest, she was stripped alongside other men, denied hormone therapy, and placed in a facility where she was raped 7 times, beaten to the point of losing consciousness, and repeatedly harassed by prison officials. She asked to be transferred to a safer institution more than once. Due to the absence of proper medical treatment, she has gone through physical changes severely affecting her appearance, as well as emotional and mental changes. On multiple occasions, Diamond has confessed of having suicidal thoughts due to the unfair treatment in the prison. 

Diamond recently filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Correction, with the U.S. Justice Department declaring their support of the inmate. In a statement by Vanita Gupta, Civil Rights Division, "Prison officials have the obligation to assess and treat gender dysphoria just as they would any other medical or mental health condition." Denying hormonal therapy to Diamond classifies as "cruel and unusual punishment", and goes against the rights given in the 8th Amendment. 

There is no doubt in my mind of the unconstitutionality of the treatment Ashley Diamond received at the hands of the Georgia's prison. In seeking legal action, Diamond has become a sort of spokesperson for the transgender minority. The transgender community is often discriminated against, and the abuse is only amplified in a prison setting. By bringing attention towards the issue in prison, Diamond is fighting for the rights of transgender people everywhere. The rights of the transgender community should not be ignored. 

Do you think Diamond is justified in seeking legal action against the GDC? What do you think would be the result of Ms. Diamond's lawsuit, and how would it affect policies regarding transgender people? 


Zaneta Lai said...

I am not that surprised that such an issue would arise in Georgia, but that discussion is not really the point here.

I believe that Ms. Diamond is more than justified in seeking legal action. She should at least be compensated for what she went through both physically and emotionally during her time in prison--but something as simple as compensation still would not bring justice for Diamond. I am glad that she is seeking legal action but sadly, I do not believe in the state of Georgia to rule in favor or support of Ms. Diamond or the trans community.

Ms. Diamond's lawsuit brings attention to the issue of how trans individuals are treated--but it will only do that. After a couple months, chances are that her lawsuit and her suffering will be long forgotten and the issue of trans rights will be forgotten once again.

Jeremiah Rondeau said...

How many "don't drop the soap" jokes are made in mainstream comedy? SPONGEBOB had one for crying out loud. The majority of rapes in the United States are against men, and it gets treated like a huge joke. It's sad that it takes a prisoner deciding he's a woman for everybody to get up in arms.

Of course the prison system needs to be much safer. Safer for EVERYBODY. The prison safety portion of the lawsuit is perfectly legitimate, as rape should never be par for the course-- even among criminals.

The hormone therapy portion on the other hand, is completely illegitimate. "Denying hormone therapy" could be rephrased (more accurately) as "not mandating hormone therapy." Diamond is suing for free sex-change materials. Should tax payers be coerced out of their hard earned money when the scum of society (Diamond is locked up for burglary) decides to switch genders? Of course not.