Transgender Woman in Men’s Prison Seeks Preliminary Relief


BOSTON—Lawyers for a transgender woman incarcerated in a Massachusetts men’s prison filed a motion for preliminary injunction on Friday, seeking her immediate transfer to a women’s facility. The case, Jane Doe v. Massachusetts Department of Correction, was first filed by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Prisoners’ Legal Services, and Goodwin Procter LLP in October 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Jane Doe has suffered extreme psychological harm and is at daily risk for physical and sexual violence and harassment as a woman improperly housed in a men’s prison. Ms. Doe is regularly subjected to strip searches and groping by male correctional officers at MCI-Norfolk. She is forced to shower in view of male prisoners who harass her. Correctional officers and other staff at the facility refuse to address or refer to her using her correct name and female pronouns.

“Incarcerating a transgender woman in a men’s prison makes no sense. Being in prison is the sentence for her crime. She should not be doubly punished or uniquely subjected to sexual harassment and violence just for being transgender,” said Jennifer L. Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project. “The Department of Correction refuses to acknowledge the reality of who our plaintiff is, a woman, despite the fact that she transitioned nearly 40 years ago.”

Doe was diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria and underwent gender transition as a teenager. She is currently serving a sentence for a non-violent drug offense.

In addition to the motion for preliminary injunction, Ms. Doe’s attorneys have also filed an opposition to the Department of Correction’s motion to dismiss her case.  More information on Doe v. Massachusetts Department of Correction can be found at this link.

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

[From a News Release]


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