A Maryland inmate named Neon Brown–who prefers to be known now as Sandy–just won a key legal victory that will give her some new special privileges in the screening system.
Brown was sent to the state prison in Patuxent, Maryland, in February 2014–where she was placed in solitary confinement for 66 days, even though the warden had ordered staff not to segregate her.
Brown claims that, during that time, guards made fun of her while she showered and, at one point, even told her to commit suicide.
“She told me I should kill myself, that I’m not a woman, that I’ll never be heard,” Brown said, about the corrections officer she claims harassed her.
Brown adds that she was called “it” and “some kind of animal” by other guards, as well.
The judged who ruled on Brown’s case, Denise Oakes Shaffer, ruled that Brown’s treatment violated the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and she ordered the prison to “effectively and professionally communicate transgender inmates.”
So far, Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correction Services, says there’s been a “total shift in agency thinking” since Brown’s ordeal, and that it won’t happen again.
Brown’s fight is just another in the nationwide push for more recognition and respect for transgender Americans–who have become increasingly visible in 2015.