The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a federal lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections on behalf of a transgender inmate who attorneys allege has been denied medical treatment and has been sexually assaulted by other inmates at her men’s prison.
The SPLC says prison officials have denied Ashley Diamond the female hormones she had been receiving for the previous 17 years since she entered the prison three years ago for a nonviolent offense. The attorneys also claim prison officials have ignored please for Diamond’s safety and that she has been the victim of multiple sexual assaults by prisoners.
“Ashley Diamond was not sentenced to sexual assault and a gender change when she was imprisoned for a parole violation,” said Chinyere Ezie, SPLC staff attorney, in a statement. “Tragically, the state of Georgia is forcing Ashley to transition from female to male by denying her the protection and medical care she needs. Transgender inmates like Ashley have a right to be kept safe and to receive medically necessary treatment, including hormones.”
The attorneys claim Diamond’s facial hair has started growing and her body is reverting to a masculine state, and that the issue has led her to attempt suicide and self-castration.
“It is amazing how a minor brush with the law has turned into a death sentence,” Diamond said. “This is about more than just hormone treatment. This is about gross human rights violations. Three years of torture is enough.”
The lawsuit also claims that Valdosta State Prison official referred to Diamond as a “he-she-thing” in front of inmates and prison personnel. When Diamond filed a complaint, it was allegedly rejected by prison system officials on the grounds that Diamond was “clearly a man, not a woman.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Middle District of Georgia, demands that prison officials provide safe placement and hormone therapy. The suit also seeks an end to prison policies that deny transgender inmates such medical treatment.