Seven transgender women who are inmates in Colorado men’s state prisons have filed a class action lawsuit against multiple government defendants, alleging that abuse occurring in those prisons violates state anti-discrimination law, and that state prison officials are discriminating against them on the basis of gender identity. The case was filed on behalf of an estimated 170 transgender women, and alleges that they are being held in unsafe conditions which have led to systemic violence, rape, and harassment.
Reports indicate that transgender women experience much higher rates of sexual abuse while in prison, but the state prison system in Colorado still reportedly has a policy of placing new inmates in facilities based on the gender they were assigned at birth in most cases. Transgender inmates often experience severe depression and self harm due to gender dysphoria that is intensified by the fact that they are routinely denied access to necessary, transition-related medical and mental health care, which the lawsuit also demands that the plaintiffs be given access to in this case.
“These women are targets”: Transgender women fight for their rights in Colorado’s prisons, CBS News, December 9, 2019
Complaint, Raven, et al. v. Polis, et al., filed November 22, 2019
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Dan Henson