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Texas Prisons To Update LGBT Policy After Lawsuit From Transgender Inmate Who Was Beaten, Raped

Lambda Legal has settled with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the case of Passion Star, a black transgender woman who claimed prison officials didn’t protect her from sexual and physical abuse while incarcerated in male prisons

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a transgender woman who was beaten and raped in a Texas prison for men has ended with a monetary settlement and an updated LGBT policy at the state’s prison system, according to an LGBT rights legal group.

Lambda Legal announced Thursday that it had settled with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the case of Passion Star, a black transgender woman who sued the department claiming that prison officials didn’t protect her from sexual and physical abuse while incarcerated in male prisons.

“For years, I was raped and beaten in prison and when I asked for help I was ignored,” said Star, according to the group’s announcement. “I was hurt, scared and thrown in solitary [confinement] in hopes that I would be forgotten, but today I can be proud that I never gave up.”

The department did not immediately respond to The Texas Tribune’s request for comment Thursday evening, but spokesman Jeremy Desel told the Dallas Morning News that the department was already working on policy changes for LGBT inmates before the settlement. 

Lambda said the settlement was agreeable to all parties, and includes a monetary payment for Star, policy changes and training of prison staff to better protect LGBT people in Texas prison facilities.

“We are hopeful that this sends a strong message to prison officials: Sexual assault and violence against LGBT people who are incarcerated will not be swept under the rug,” said Demoya Gordon, a transgender rights attorney for the group.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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