Transgender woman in men’s jail files lawsuit after allegedly being assaulted

A transgender woman was jailed in San Diego, California and was placed in a cell with men. A lawsuit against San Diego County and its sheriff’s office says one of the men in the cell beat the transgender woman, who suffered a fractured jaw as a result of the incident, before deputies stepped in.

Kristina Frost, a transgender woman, was detained on November 25, 2020 and said San Diego jail staffers repeatedly used the wrong gender pronouns. Frost told the staffers about being a transgender woman, supported by Frost’s driver’s license confirming that gender identity.

According to the lawsuit, Frost was escorted by deputies to a “minimally monitored” cell with three men “against her wishes.” One of the men waited until Frost fell asleep before attacking. Frost awoke to being punched by the inmate while deputies watched, Frost noted in the lawsuit. While deputies did finally intervene and removed the man, Frost was detained for another 12 hours before being released and could go to a hospital, said the lawyers.

“She was in excruciating pain from her injuries the entire time she waited,” they wrote. The lawyers added that Frost has undergone two surgeries, including having to wear dentures after Frost’s jaw had to be wired shut.

Brody McBride, one of Frost’s attorneys, says he hopes good can come from the lawsuit. “Hopefully the sheriff’s department takes this incident serious and makes the changes necessary to ensure people in their care are kept safe and treated with dignity,” he said. The suit lists five accusations against San Diego County and its sheriff’s office, one of which is negligence.

The case is not the first of its kind regarding transgender people being placed in cells opposite their gender identity. A 2020 investigation by NBC News showed that incarcerated transgender people in the U.S. are almost always placed in facilities aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth. Earlier this year, another transgender woman, Sunday Hinton, won a lawsuit to be transferred from the men’s facility in Washington, D.C. after the suit claimed discrimination.

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