Abused trans Georgia inmate Ashley Diamond has been denied a request to be transferred to a lower-security prison for her own safety, reports the New York Times.
Earlier this month it was reported that Diamond has been denied access to her hormones, assaulted and raped at least seven times by other inmates. She filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) in February after years of unsuccessfully trying to convince officials to provide her proper medical treatment and protection.
In a federal court appearance yesterday, Diamond said that she has come to blame herself for being a victim.
Addressing Judge Marc T. Treadwell, she said:
“If I wasn’t so feminine, maybe if I didn’t talk the way I talked or move the way I moved, I would be less of a victim that way. I also feel a little less human because when I did report things, the very people I wanted help from, Your Honor, would tell me things like, ‘You brought this on yourself.’”
The hearing only addressed Diamond’s transfer request. Allegations that corrections authorities had failed to protect her from serious harm were not considered.
Treadwell said that the state had made a persuasive argument that Diamond had been transferred to Georgia State as a “positive” reaction to her lawsuit. She is housed in the system’s smallest unit which offers supported living for rape victims and for inmates with special mental health needs.
However, Diamond said she had been sexually harassed and forced to pay protection money since her arrival. She added that when she declined to be put in protective custody, prison officials coerced her into signing affidavits saying she was doing well, a claim which has been denied.
It was also stated that the prison’s psychologist did not appear in court because he had told Diamond he could lose his job if he testified “truthfully.” Treadwell admitted that this gave him cause for “lingering concerns.”
Earlier this month, Elton John and Michael Stipe issued a joint statement calling on the GDC to ensure Diamond's safety and provide her with hormone therapy.
Watch a Southern Poverty Law Center report on Diamond, AFTER THE JUMP...