Ashley DiamondPhoto: SPLC
Ashley Diamond, a Black transgender woman, is suing the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) for failing to keep her safe during incarceration, saying she was sexually assaulted over a dozen times in the past year.
And it’s not the first time Diamond has been forced to sue the state for violating her civil rights. Both times she was incarcerated in a men’s prison.
Diamond sued the first time when prison medical officials cut off her hormone treatment she’d been on for half of her life. She also alleged she had been sexually assaulted by both inmates and guards.
The GDC settled the lawsuit, paroling Diamond in 2015 and instituting policies that forbade medical personnel from withholding hormone therapy from transgender prisoners. In 2019 she returned to prison after a parole violation.
A federal lawsuit filed on her behalf by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center alleges officials’ “failure to protect her from sexual assault and provide her with adequate healthcare while incarcerated” violated her civil rights “because she is transgender.”
“Being a woman in a men’s prison is a nightmare,” Diamond said in a statement. “I’ve been stripped of my identity. I never feel safe. Never. I experience sexual harassment on a daily basis, and the fear of sexual assault is always a looming thought.”
“I’m bringing this lawsuit to bring about change on behalf of a community that deserves the inherent dignity to simply exist.”
In 2017, a 52-year-old inmate in Massachusetts sued, alleging she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by prisoners and guards in a men’s prison. In 2018, an Illinois woman sued, saying she was used as a sex slave in a men’s prison.