Elton John and Michael Stipe, lead
singer of the rock band REM, are calling for greater protections for
transgender inmates following reports that a transgender woman faced
mistreatment at a Georgia prison.
“Transgender women in male prisons
have an equal right to protection from violence and abuse in prison,
and yet they continue to face horrific injustices,” the singers
said in a statement.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a
lawsuit against Georgia Department of Correction officials on behalf
of Ashley Diamond, a 36-year-old transgender woman.
According to the lawsuit, officials
refused to provide Diamond with hormone treatment for three years.
Diamond also claims that she had been sexually assaulted in prison.
“More often than not, assaults in
part go unreported because the perpetrators are prison guards,
wardens and staff,” John
and Stipe said. “This is outrageous, and the message it sends
is horrific: that violence against and discrimination of trans people
is not only allowed, but sanctioned.”
The Justice Department announced last
week that prison officials cannot treat an inmate's gender identity
condition different than they would treat any other medical or mental