Massachusetts transgender inmate sues because prison won’t let him get a mammogram

By Grace Carr

A transgender inmate is suing a Massachusetts state prison because the prison he’s currently kept in won’t offer him female services like mammograms and tampons or house him with other female inmates.

The anonymous inmate at Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Norfolk filed his complaint in a Boston federal court Wednesday against the prison, requesting that he be transferred to a nearby women’s prison, according to the Boston Herald. The transgender inmate is serving four years for a drug-related crime.

“There are other transgender women who are housed in men’s facilities who face daily harassment, abuse, and diminishment as women,” Jennifer L. Levi, the director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the inmate’s attorney, told the Herald. “It’s important for people to be recognized as who they are. … She’s serving time for the underlying conviction, she shouldn’t be punished for being transgender.”

“They have traumatized her by forcing her to live in a male correctional facility, subjecting her to strip searches by male correctional officers, forcing her to shower in view of male prisoners … and refusing to address or refer to her using female pronouns,” the lawsuit reads.

The transgender inmate is also suing the corrections commissioner, the prison superintendent, an Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator and the assistant deputy commissioner of clinical services.

Another transgender inmate recently sued the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner because the jail he’s housed in won’t provide him with hormone therapy to facilitate his gender transition, arguing that the denial constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, according to the Indy Star.

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