Putting trans people in prisons that go against their preferred gender is dangerous


Asher Hagan

No person should be put in a prison that could put them in physical or mental danger. This includes transgender people.

Asher Hagan, Arts/Graphics Editor

If there is one thing Florida is infamous for it is their bigotry. From a teaching initiative passed so that kids dont feel “guilty” about American history to a Flordia GOP candidate saying the Constitution doesn’t have pronouns over to the successful passing of the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ and all the way to Ron DeSantos existing, it is needless to say that Flordia is horrible when it comes to their treatment of minority communities. So, it is no surprise to me when I found out that when popular trans beauty influencer Nikita Dragun was arrested in Florida, she was put in a men’s cell block.

Nikita Dragun is a YouTuber and influencer that focuses on cosmetics and beauty products. She is also openly trans. The cops were first called on Dragun for walking around a hotel pool naked. At this time she was told by police to stop and go back to her room. Later when police came to her room for a wellness check, she yelled and threw water bottles at them. She was arrested with the charges of felony battery on a police officer, misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and misdemeanor battery.

The prison put out a statement after Dragun’s release after she made bail on a $5,000 bond. The prison stated that Dragun was kept in a separate holding cell due to her “high profile status” and was escorted by an LBGT officer during her time in the prison. I don’t know how true this is because the jail could just be lying to cover themselves of any blame. Either way it makes no sense why Nikita Dragun was put in that prison in the first place. No person should be put in a prison that could put them in physical or mental danger. This includes transgender people.

I am not the biggest fan of Nikita Dragun and personally don’t enjoy her content. But I truly do not care if you like Nikita Dragun or not, it is a problem that someone who was legally a woman is put in a men’s prison. In 2015, The US Department of Justice reported that 34% of transgender individuals in the prison system have been victims of things like harassment and sexual assault. Not only is putting a trans woman in a men’s prison just plain disrespectful and extremely invalidating, but it is also very dangerous. Not only is it physically dangerous for a woman, trans or not, to be put in a men’s prison, but it is also mentally dangerous.

Suicide rates among the transgender community are some of the highest in the world. According to the National Library of Medicine, 82% of trans individuals have contemplated suicide and about half the number have acually attempted it. This high rate of suicide is commonly attributed to the constant attacks on the community. It says something when something a community of people can bond over is suicide. My point is that it is difficult enough being trans in today’s society. This feeling of being alienated in your own skin is exasperated when you are misgendered not only by those around you but by the government itself. What’s even worse is this is not the first time this has happened. 

The prison Dragun was put in was the Miami-Dade County Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, and beyond having a stupidly long name, it has a history for mistreating transgender individuals. In 2021 alone, the prison had three separate complaints lodged against it because they locked up three other trans women and misgendered them. These people, who were arrested separately for participating in a Black Lives Matters protest, claimed that the prison treated them unfairly and called them slurs during their stay. Two of the three also claim that guards at the prison strip searched them in order to determine their gender, something that is illegal under federal law. This means that the mistreatment of trans individuals in the prison system is a pattern, and not a good one.

If you don’t think that this is a serious issue I implore you to use google. Look up the stories of trans people who have committed suicide or been horrible mistreated in prision after being put in the wrong gendered prison. I understand that some people may think that because they are trans it would be more dangerous to put trans individuals in a prison that corresponds with their preferred gender, but if someone is legally one gender why should they be put in a prison that does not correspond with the gender that is legally associated with them. Regardless, I ask you to look at the facts. I ask you to look at the fact that trans people, specifically trans people of color, have a statistically higher chance of going through certain hardships in the prison system.

I don’t care if you hate trans people for whatever reason, but if you think that someone should be put in a jail that is meant for the opposite gender than the gender they legally are, then there is something wrong. You wouldn’t put a cisgender man in a woman’s prison and you wouldn’t put a cisgender woman in a men’s prison. It doesn’t make sense to do that just like it doesn’t make sense to put a transgender woman who is legally a woman in a men’s prison. Luckily, steps are being taken in the right direction.

Back when the Obama administration was in charge they released orders for federal prisons to incarcerate trans people based on their current name and gender, not the one they were born with. Under the Trump administration this order was repealed, but, in early 2022, Biden reinstated these guidelines. This means that any trans person sent to a federal prison not only gets to go by their preferred name, but also gets assigned a prison based on their preferred gender. This does not change guidelines for state prisons but is a step in the direction we need.