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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Federal Lawsuit Filed Alleging Violation of Transgender Rights at Northwest Adult Detention Center

Written by: Sam Orlando

WINCHESTER, VA - Citing the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which prohibits a range of offenses against inmates from harassment to sexual assault, Lacy Shirleyn Ferguson, a transwoman currently housed in a correctional facility, has initiated legal proceedings against multiple defendants. Filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, the lawsuit names Clay Corbin, Tana Jones, and Lt. Taylor as defendants. Ferguson is prosecuting the lawsuit pro se, meaning she is representing herself.

Ferguson, who identifies as female and has this gender recognized on her driver's license according to her complaint, alleges ongoing harassment and violation of her civil rights at the correctional facility. Despite clearly communicating her gender identity to the staff, Ferguson claims she continues to be addressed with male pronouns and housed with male inmates.

In her complaint, Ferguson states, "The staff response is you have a penis between your legs, you are a man, you are not a woman, you are housed with men." She contends that this constitutes sexual harassment under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

The complaint further alleges denial of rights concerning appropriate clothing. Ferguson claims that, despite a ruling from the Department of Corrections allowing transgender inmates to wear undergarments that align with their identity, the facility compels her to wear male underwear.

The plaintiff asserts that the persistent misgendering and refusal to recognize her identity have drastically impacted her self-esteem and mental health, undoing years of therapy.

This lawsuit draws attention to the treatment of transgender individuals in correctional facilities, a pressing issue often overlooked in the broader discussion of prison reform. The defendants' responses to these allegations will undoubtedly be closely monitored, with potential implications for the rights of transgender individuals in the penal system.

The Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center has not yet responded to the allegations contained in Ferguson's lawsuit. Check back with Breaking Through for more information about the allegations in this lawsuit.

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