Ashley Del Valle was falsely arrested by Georgia police, incarcerated, demeaned and thrown into an isolated cell all because she bared her breasts. The problem is that Del Valle is either pre-op transsexual or a transgender person with no interest in undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Either way, Del Valle was identified by Georgia police as a man because she still has male genitalia.
Deputy Chief Roy Harris admits this stating “First off, Ashley is still a man. I think he’s had some surgery, breast implants. But technically he is still a male which poses a problem. We do have a policy in place. Typically we put them in isolation. We do take particular caution with inmates such as this. We’re a nationally accredited jail and have a policy for this.”
Unfortunately, either Del Valle is a man, which negates the indecency charge, or she is a woman, at which point she was deliberately put into a male cell in order to demean her. According to Del Valle, deputies referred to her as a “thing”, “brotha,” and “nigga” and the male inmates harassed her. She stated that “They didn’t know where to put me. The young men there were out of control. They kept beating on my cell. It was pure torture. [...] I felt like I just wasn’t being treated like a human being.”
Del Valle was held for three days before her family paid the $3,500 to bail her out of jail.
Del Valle’s experience is not uncommon, which is unfortunate. The reality is that most transgender and transexual people tend to be isolated by police and treated as if they are monstrosities. Unfortunately any attempt to really accommodate transgender and transsexual individuals often goes awry because stores and hospitals do not want to put in gender neutral spaces for them to use.
Unfortunately for Del Valle, appealing to the courts may not be sufficient unless she goes before the federal courts, who have tended to treat transgender and transsexual issues as issues about gender discrimination.