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Jan 2, 2020

19 People of 2019: Kanautica Zayre-Brown

In February, The News & Observer published a story that sounded alarms within North Carolina progressive circles: “Transgender woman has asked to be moved from a men’s prison. So far, NC has said no.”

Kanautica Zayre-Brown, whom the N&O identified as “the state’s only post-operative transgender prisoner,” was incarcerated at Harnett Correctional Institution in Lillington, a men’s facility, though she was legally recognized as a woman.

This was, in a word, unconstitutional.

Zayre-Brown’s pleas to the Department of Public Safety for a transfer to a women’s facility had been denied. She faced daily threats of physical and sexual violence while living in an open-dormitory-style facility with men. And someone was trying to do something about it by taking her story to the press.

The article and a subsequent interview on WRAL shined a light on the circumstances that transgender women of color can face while incarcerated.

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