Lawsuit: Transgender inmate threatened for reporting assault

A Georgia transgender prisoner is asking a federal judge for a hearing to assess “ongoing threats” against her because of her sexual identity.

Ashley Diamond, 36 of Rome, said she received a letter threatening retaliation for reporting an alleged sexual assault earlier this month despite assurances by prison officials she is being protected, lawyers for the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a filing Monday. The lawsuit contains a copy of the letter.

Diamond, a male who identifies as a female, filed a lawsuit in February against the Georgia prison system in U.S. District Court in Macon. She contended the prison unlawfully stopped her from receiving female hormone shots and also did not protect her from sexual assault in the state’s male prisons.

U.S.District Judge Marc Treadwell in April denied a request to order the prison system to adopt better security measures after officials outlined measures taken to better protect Diamond. This month Diamond’s lawyers filed another complaint alleging she had been sexually assaulted again.

The lawsuit claims state officials denied hormonal shots to suppress her male characteristics despite Diamond’s taking the treatment for 17 years before being imprisoned in 2012 for burglary and theft in Floyd County.

Guards warned that Diamond would have to “learn to fight” to survive in the prison system and that she had lost her right to be female, the lawsuit contends.

Diamond produced a YouTube video explaining her dilemma while in prison. She suffers from “gender dysphoria,” a recognized psychiatric condition in which an individual’s gender identification differs from the gender assigned at birth, causing significant distress, the lawsuit said.

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