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ACLU demands transgender woman be moved to women’s prison

Kanautica Zayre-Brown

The ACLU of North Carolina is demanding a transgender woman be transferred from where she is held among male prisoners at Harnett Correctional Institution in Lillington.

Kanautica Zayre-Brown is a 37-year-old transgender woman serving a sentence for insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretenses. She and her husband Dionne Brown have been trying to get her moved out of confinement with male prisoners due to concerns she will be assaulted.

Though many transgender people elect not to have any surgical procedures related to their transition, Zayre-Brown has had her breasts augmented and genitals altered as part of gender confirmation surgery.

The state has not thus-far recognized her gender change and continues to use her male name, which she has had legally changed.

“Every day she is housed among men, forced to shower in group showers for men, and subjected to the constant indignities and threats to her health and safety that come with being stripped of her core identity,” wrote Sneha Shah, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, in a letter to the Department of Public Safety on Tuesday.

Zayre-Brown’s requests to be transferred have so far been denied. She was also initially denied hormone hormone treatment.

“These gross violations of Mrs. Zayre-Brown’s constitutional rights are putting her at great risk of serious harm,” Shah wrote.

The ACLU is promising legal action if discussions to resolve the current situation do not begin by April 1.

Department of Public Safety officials say they have received and are reviewing the letter.

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