Massachusetts transgender woman sues over placement in male prison

A transgender inmate in Massachusetts, who identifies as a woman, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the prison alleging that she was unjustly housed at the male facility and has suffered harassment from guards and prisoners during her time there, a report said.

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections is being sued by the unidentified 52-year-old inmate who currently is housed in the MCI-Norfolk all-male prison and wants to be moved to MCI-Framingham, the women’s prison, the Boston Globe reported.

The lawsuit, which was reportedly filed with the U.S. District Court in Boston, claimed that despite telling officials that she was a woman when reporting to prison in October 2016, she was placed in the male facility and told she couldn’t be moved unless she had sex reassignment surgery.

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The inmate, listed as “Jane Doe” in the documents, is serving a three to four year sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, according to the Globe. She reportedly has been taking hormones and living as a woman for the past 40 years.

As a result of her placement, the prisoner said she suffered at the hands of guards and other inmates, who the lawsuit said have groped and harassed her because she identifies as a female.

The lawsuit claims that the prisoner is often referred to by guards as a “wannabe woman” and that when she showers or is strip-searched, several other inmates and guards watch her and make inappropriate sexual comments, the Boston Globe reported.

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The report said she wants to be treated like any other female inmate and as such should not have to be strip-searched by male guards, live in the male facility or be addressed by anything other than her female name.

A representative for the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders confirmed that they were representing the inmate and, according to the Globe, claim in the lawsuit that the prison is violating the inmate's right to equal protection because she is transgender. They also allege that refusing to house her in the women’s facility - which they claim is necessary for her treatment - is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Chris Fallon, a representative for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, told Fox News that they are aware of the lawsuit but have not yet been officially served. He also said that the department does not comment on pending litigation.