May 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm EDT | by Steve Charing
Trans woman held in men’s detention unit released
Baltimore, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade, open walls

Baltimore, Md. (Photo public domain)

BALTIMORE — Deairra Venable, 30, a transgender woman, was released from police custody after being arrested while photographing the looting that occurred on April 27. She was held on the male side of Central Booking although she has identified as transgender since age 14.

Her attorney, Astrid Munn, told Mashable that she was originally booked as female, but after learning that she was transgender, authorities then forced the woman to remove her bra and hand it over to officials, and she was forced to wear the semi-transparent shirt that reveals the outline of her nipples, the lawyer said.

For four days Venable was held and her body was exposed to male detainees and guards.  “In every respect, she’s a woman,” Munn said. “She stood in stark contrast to the [men] in the jail.”  She added that officers and detainees in Baltimore’s central booking facility bullied her client, and that the commissioner told her client, “you don’t look like a man,” when she was being assigned bail.

“FreeState Legal is relieved that Ms. Venable has been released,” Jer Welter, deputy director and managing attorney for the organization, told the Blade. “But we understand that she was released only because she was able — with the help of friends — to post the remarkably high bail that was set in her case, not because either the judge or correctional officials recognized that it is dangerous and unlawful to confine transgender inmates in gender-specific correctional facilities simply based on their sex assigned at birth.”

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