Ashley will never go on the straight and narrow.
Via Mother Jones
In December 2013, Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman locked up at a men’s state prison in Georgia, found herself in solitary confinement. Rutledge State Prison warden Shay Hatcher, she says, put her there for “pretending to be a woman.” The 36-year-old Diamond, who was first diagnosed with gender dysphoria as a teenager, had been denied hormone therapy since entering the prison system in 2012. She still identified as a woman, even as her body was becoming more masculine, causing her extreme anxiety and physical pain.
Later that month, Diamond claims, Hatcher sent her to solitary for a second time after she met with lawyers. About six days later, still in isolation, Diamond told him that she was not pretending, but rather had serious medical needs requiring treatment—and that she was suicidal due to her lack of care. That same day, Diamond tried to cut off her penis with a razor and kill herself; she was hospitalized on an emergency basis. She then received a letter from the medical director of the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), saying that the officials who had confiscated her women’s clothes and refused to provide her with hormone therapy had handled matters “appropriately.”
Now, Diamond is taking her grievances to court. Earlier this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center initiated a lawsuit on her behalf that accuses eight current and former GDC employees of wrongfully denying her hormone therapy against the recommendations of doctors, and of failing to protect her from at least seven cases of sexual assault. Court documents, including copies of correspondences between Diamond and prison authorities, allege numerous incidents in which officials mistreated and outright harassed her. (The GDC declined to comment.)[…]
In April 2012, Diamond was imprisoned due to a parole violation for an earlier theft. She had been taking estrogen treatments, progestin creams, testosterone blockers, and anti-androgen medications for 17 years. Even so, prison authorities terminated her hormone therapy and assigned her to a close-security facility for adult male felons and other inmates with histories of assault and gang affiliation. Less than one month later, six gang members sexually assaulted her, according to court documents. After she complained, she says she was transferred in May 2012 to another close-security facility housing male felons, where she claims she was again sexually assaulted.[…]
In a February letter to GDC Commissioner Brian Owens, requesting her transfer from Valdosta State Prison, Diamond wrote, “I am not trying to be difficult or make my way hard. I just want to do my time safely and go home.” In her video statement, she added, “This is more than just about hormone care. This is about gross human rights violations. Three years of torture is enough.”