A Dallas County transgender woman has filed a lawsuit against the county and several officers within the jail.
In November 2016, Valerie Jackson was arrested at the airport for having a handgun in her purse. She was taken to the Lew Sterett Justice Center.
Jackson explains she was sitting with the female inmates at first, but during the medical exam, the nurse asked her when her last menstrual cycle was. She responded that she didn’t have a uterus. Jackson said the nurse kept pressing the question and wanted to know why. “I told him I was transgender,” said Jackson.
She said she was then questioned by correction officers. “If I had a sex change, if I had everything done down there, and then I was told that they had to verify by me pulling my pants down.” Jackson said they wanted proof she was a female.
After following the order, Jackson said she was placed in the same area as the male inmates for 13 hours. “I was called a he-she and a tranny and freak, disgusting. There were some inmates that would come up to the cell door and grab themselves and tell me all the things they wanted to do to me,” she said.
She said it happened two more times after this first arrest. Both the second and third time, she was housed with the male inmates.
Jackson got a lawyer and filed the lawsuit against the county. Attorney Scott Palmer said policies and laws were broken, including the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Legally, Jackson is recognized as a female. She got a sex and name change when she transitioned to female.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department responded by saying, “Since this is on-going litigation, under advice from attorney, the Sheriff’s Department is not commenting on the lawsuit.”
Jackson hopes this lawsuit will protect the transgender community. “Transitioning is not easy. This situation definitely makes it difficult, just adds to the list,” said Jackson.