Texas Prisons Agrees To Train Staff And Settles Suit With Transgender ‘Passion Star’ Prisoner

Grace Carr | Reporter

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice agreed to better train its staff and pay a hefty sum to a former transgender prisoner who alleges that he was raped and beaten in prison.

“For years, I was raped and beaten in prison and when I asked for help I was ignored,” transgender prisoner Passion Star recounted, according to the San Antonio Current. Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in October 2014 on Star’s behalf, positing the prison guards ignored the state’s policies on transgender treatment and that it purposefully disregard evidence that Star’s physical and mental wellbeing was in jeopardy. The suit charged the prison had documented evidence that Star endured continued abuse, but didn’t intervene because Star is transgender.

Star is a biological male but identifies as a female. He explained prison guards refused to protect him from the taunts and physical attacks of other prison mates, and that they would not honor his multiple requests to be housed in a female prison.

The now 34-year-old pled guilty to aggravated kidnapping when he was a teen, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The prison paroled Star in December 2016 and released him in June 2017.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is working to craft and implement more comprehensive LGBTQ policies so that transgender inmates don’t suffer in the future, department spokesman Jeremy Desel said, the San Antonio Current reported.

“We are pleased with the resolution reached with prison officials. We are hopeful that this sends a strong message to prison officials: Sexual assault and violence against LGBT people who are incarcerated will not be swept under the rug,” Lambda Legal said in a statement announcing its embrace of the policy change.

“We are hopeful that this sends a strong message to prison officials: Sexual assault and violence against LGBT people who are incarcerated will not be swept under the rug,” Lamba Legal project attorney Demoya Gordon said.

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