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Judge Orders Trans Female Prisoner to Women’s Facility

Judge Orders Trans Female Prisoner to Women’s Facility

Judge Orders Trans Female Prisoner to Women Facility
Image: Paul Rodriguez/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The judge said his hands were tied by state law in the ruling.

A judge in North Carolina has ordered state prison officials to transfer a transgender woman who was born intersex to a women’s correctional facility within 14 days.

Ashlee Inscoe, 42, sued state prison officials in 2021 for housing her among men, citing abuse and threats from male inmates. Following a years-long battle, Wake County Superior Court Judge A. Graham Shirley found that since Inscoe is recognized as a woman in official state records, state law requires she be housed in a women’s correctional facility.

“This is a straight, statutory interpretation,” Shirley said in his ruling, according to the Charlotte Observer. “This is not a political statement, it’s not a policy statement.”

Inscoe was represented by Elizabeth Simpson, strategic director at Emancipate NC in her battle against the state’s Department of Adult Correction. Emancipate NC previously represented Inscoe during her ultimately successful fight for gender-affirming surgery last year.

“It just seems like every time that I got to one barrier and tried to cross it, as soon as I got across, there was another one,” Inscoe said.

“Congratulations to Ashlee Inscoe!” Emancipate NC posted to social media. “Today, Wake County Superior Court ordered the North Carolina prison system to move her to a women’s prison. This is the first such court order in state history.”

Inscoe was assigned male at birth, a misgendering she blames on her doctor.

“I was born in 1980, and a doctor misgendered me as a boy, and it was solely on the appearance of my genitalia,” Inscoe said via phone in a 2021 webcast hosted by the trans advocacy group House of Kanautic, according to NC Health News.

She had gender-affirming surgery in September 2022 but had remained housed in a men’s correctional facility. Inscoe has been in and out of prison through her adult life. She was arrested in 2017 for bank robbery, and is also a registered sex offender after being convicted of taking indecent liberty of a minor, a 13-year-old child, when she was 18.

While the judge granted the DAC 14 days to transfer Inscoe, it remains unclear if they will appeal the decision. Spokesperson John Bull told the Observer they are still awaiting an official order from the court before determining a future course of action in the case.

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