The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group specializing in civil rights, filed a lawsuit Friday against Georgia’s Department of Corrections on behalf of 36-year-old transgender inmate Ashley Diamond, the New York Daily News reports. The suit seeks to have Diamond’s hormone therapy restored.
According to the Daily News, Diamond, a Georgia native, has been living as a woman since she was a child and taking a “hormone regimen” since she was 17. That treatment ended in 2012 when she was incarcerated and then subsequently sentenced to 11 years for burglary and theft.
Photos showing Diamond as a young woman are drastically different from a booking photo she took in 2014. The recent photo shows how the ordeal of not being able to take hormones has affected Diamond’s appearance, the Daily News reports. Diamond’s lawyer told the Daily News that it’s proof that Diamond has not been receiving the treatment she’s accustomed to in order to maintain her gender orientation.
“Ashley sees photos like that as proof of her lack of medical care, but it’s a painful reminder,” Chinyere Ezie, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Daily News.
Diamond released a statement from prison and described how the changes she has undergone have been torturous. “This is [for] more than just hormone treatment,” Diamond said. “This is about gross human rights violations. Three years of torture is enough.”
The denial of hormones has resulted in the restoration of Diamond’s facial hair and deep voice, a voice she says “she had never known,” the Daily News reports.
According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, federal prisons have to provide transgender inmates with any relevant medical treatments, but only a handful of state prisons are obliged to do so.
In the suit, Diamond also said that she’s been subjected to sexual assaults by other inmates and was told “to act like a man” by prison guards.
Prison officials told the Daily News that they will not comment on a pending lawsuit.
Read more at the New York Daily News.