Sunday Hinton, a transgender woman jailed in Washington, D.C., has been moved from a men’s to a women’s housing unit, her legal team confirmed Friday, resolving part of a federal lawsuit they filed.
Attorneys for Ms. Hinton said they will continue to seek relief for other transgender individuals currently incarcerated in D.C. Jail based on their anatomy instead of their gender identity, however.
Currently, inmates in the custody of the D.C. Department of Correction are jailed by default in a men’s or women’s unit based on whether they have male or female genitals, respectively, the suit says.
Existing policy allows for inmates to go before the D.C. corrections department’s Transgender Housing Committee and request it recommend to the warden they are jailed by gender identity, not anatomy.
In addition to asking for Ms. Hinton to be moved to a women’s housing unit, her lawyers asked the court to suspend the city’s existing policy for transgender inmates and reactivate the committee.
The lawyers also requested their case be certified as a class-action lawsuit in order to cover other inmates jailed in D.C. wanting to be housed by their gender identity both now and in the future.
“The committee recommended and the warden approved her request to be moved to a women’s unit not in protective custody,” Mr. Saindon said.
Mr. Michaelman said Ms. Hinton‘s lawyers are “very pleased” by the transfer, but he added they remain concerned about other transgender individuals in the department’s custody jailed based on anatomy.
Previously, lawyers for Ms. Hinton said they believe as many as 60 transgender individuals are housed in D.C. Jail, “with the vast majority, if not all of them, housed by anatomy instead of gender.”
Mr. Michaelman said that “there are many people who, like Ms. Hinton, are being housed inconsistent with their gender identity, thus denying an important aspect of their personhood and also potentially putting them at risk of sexual assault.”
Judge Bates, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, asked lawyers on each side of the case to discuss moving forward and set another hearing in the matter for next Tuesday at noon.
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