Transgender Ex-Inmate Awarded Major Windfall After Claiming He Was ‘Misgendered’ in Jail

New York state has awarded a man $160,000 after he said he had been “misgendered” and mistreated while in jail. Makyyla Holland, a man who claims to be a woman, was arrested on charges of assault and criminal contempt and was booked into Broome County Jail in early 2021, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported. The 25-year-old claimed he suffered abuse and discrimination while in jail, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of Holland in 2022. “I was harassed, mocked, misgendered and worse: jail staff strip-searched me, beat me up, placed me in the male section of the jail, and withheld my hormones for a period of time, forcing me to go into agonizing withdrawal,” Holland said in a March 22 statement. “No person’s gender identity gives jail staff the authority to harm them, and Broome County law enforcement and jail staff must be held accountable for their actions,” he said. “The abuses that police and jail staff across New York state commit against transgender New Yorkers must end.” Specifically, Holland claimed that during the intake process, he was the victim of an assault that resulted in a broken tooth and bump on the head, the Daily Mail reported. He also complained that he was strip-searched by male officers and said he was forced to remove his acrylic nails and glued-on wig without the proper equipment. On Thursday, the NYCLU and the TLDEF announced the lawsuit had been settled with Broome County agreeing to pay Holland $160,000 “for harms she suffered.” As part of the settlement, the county also will change its policies surrounding its handling of transgender inmates, the news release said. Some of these changes include housing inmates according to their “gender identity,” allowing inmates to choose whether to be searched by a male or female guard, requiring jail staff to use the person’s preferred pronouns and ensuring inmates have access to “clothing and toiletry items” consistent with their “gender identity.” “No one should ever have to go through what I went through at the Broome County Jail and I am so grateful that with this new policy hopefully no one else ever will; this is a great outcome,” Holland said in his statement. “This policy and policies like it can impact a lot of my community, and I will continue to fight to ensure that no other trans person in New York or anywhere has to endure what I did,” he said.
Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar said in a statement he was “pleased we were able to amicably reach a resolution that establishes clear LGBTI Guidelines, which were previously nonexistent, to address the rights of LGBTI inmates while maintaining the safety and security of individuals both housed and working at the Broome County Correctional Facility,” ABC News reported. He continued, “It’s another important step forward in pragmatically and safely modernizing policies to meet the needs of those we serve and protect as we work to build a better, safer community for everyone in Broome County.” The criminal case against Holland has ended, according to ABC News. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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