Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
Sunday Hinton is suing a D.C. jail for failing to acknowledge her as a transgender woman by keeping her in the men’s detention unit.
Per MSN, Hinton has been in custody at D.C. Jail since April 26, charged with unarmed burglary with the intent to steal $20. According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of D.C. and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, “despite informing DOC (Department of Corrections) officials of her gender identity and requesting to be transferred to the women’s unit, she remains incarcerated in a men’s unit more than two weeks later.”
That constitutes a “clear violation of her rights under the Constitution and the D.C. Human Rights Act,” ACLU-DC said in a statement.
“DOC’s policy of focusing on anatomy rather than gender identity is both discriminatory and dangerous,” said Megan Yan, an attorney with ACLU-DC. “It forces trans individuals, particularly trans women, to choose between a heightened risk of sexual violence and a near-certain mental health crisis.”
The organization claims that when Hinton asked to be moved to the women’s unit, she was told by jailhouse officials that she could either be housed in a men’s facility or remain under protective custody, according to the report.
“In effect, DOC’s policy subjects Ms. Hinton and all transgender individuals in their custody to an impossible choice: be held in a unit inconsistent with their gender identity, or be held in solitary confinement,” the group said.
“By housing Sunday Hinton in the men’s unit, DOC has effectively erased her identity as a woman,” said Rachel Cicurel, an attorney with D.C.’s Public Defender. “This is unconscionable and must be rectified immediately.”
Hinton believes she should be housed with women since she identifies as a woman. According to reports, she is currently being housed in a single-occupancy quarantine for 14 days, following current COVID-19 protocols, NBC Washington reported.
She will ultimately go before the Transgender Housing Committee (THC), to determine her housing “based on safety needs, housing availability and gender identity,” said Keena Blackmon, a spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Corrections. According to the lawsuit, the THC has not met since January 2020.