A transgender woman detained in a Minnesota men’s prison has filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination and a breach of state human rights legislation by the state Corrections Department.
Christina Lusk, a 56-year-old woman serving a sentence at the Moose Lake Correctional Facility for drug possession, is “socially, medically, and legally” female but is not recognized as such by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, according to a lawsuit filed on her behalf by advocacy group Gender Justice. Lusk has informed prison officials that her location in the jail’s dormitory accommodation puts her in “direct line of fire for violence” and makes her feel uncomfortable.
Despite the fact that the state of Minnesota recognized Lusk as a woman, the state Corrections Department placed her in a men’s jail, subjecting her to harassment and discrimination, according to the lawsuit. Lusk’s request to be transferred to a women’s jail in Shakopee was denied, according to Gender Justice, since the Corrections Department made the decision primarily on genitalia rather than legal or medical factors.
“Denial of health treatment, failing to lodge transgender persons in proper institutions, and misgendering transgender people in state custody are all humiliating and degrading,” Gender Justice stated in a statement released Monday.
According to the lawsuit, Lusk was born male and began hormone replacement therapy after coming out as transgender in 2008. Around the time of her arrest in 2019, she had changed her name and was consulting with doctors about gender-affirming surgery.
She should be placed in single-cell or dormitory living at Moose Lake and be permitted to shower alone, according to the Corrections Department’s transgender committee. According to the lawsuit, she was housed with as many as seven males at times. In the year 2020, she filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
According to the lawsuit, Lusk has requested gender-affirming surgery while jailed, but prisons authorities have refused her request, despite the fact that physicians had authorized her for the treatment before she went to prison. The film Lusk will be released in 2024.
The Minnesota Human Rights Act is violated by the Corrections Department deciding where to imprison Lusk and rejecting her gender-affirming surgery, according to Gender Justice’s lawsuit, which demands damages and for Lusk to be treated as a woman by the state prison system.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections said in a statement that it is “dedicated to safeguarding the safety and well-being of transgender imprisoned persons” and that it evaluates transgender prisoner accommodations on a case-by-case basis. According to the government, transgender people are screened for sexual assault susceptibility, as well as physical and mental health difficulties, when they enter the prison system. The government declined to comment on Lusk’s case specifically.