March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration of transgender and nonbinary people around the globe that acknowledges the determination it takes to live openly and authentically. Today we highlight Ashley Diamond.
Diamond, a Black transgender woman from Rome, Georgia, won a historic legal settlement over abusive conditions facing incarcerated transgender people in Georgia prisons. She was released on parole in August 2015 but reentered Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) custody in October 2019 after violating the terms of her parole by traveling out of state to get medical treatment.
Housed in a men’s prison, Diamond continues to encounter similar unconstitutional conditions, sparking a lawsuit on her behalf by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights. The lawsuit describes how GDC failed to protect Diamond from sexual assault and provide her with adequate health care. The suit further argues that GDC’s failure to protect Diamond simply because she is transgender violates the Eighth Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Ashley is a talented singer, Whitney Houston impersonator, spiritual woman, loving member of a large family, and advocate for all people to be treated with dignity and humanity.
Transgender Day of Visibility was founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall. It has since grown into a worldwide event. In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation marking the date that in part reads, “[We] celebrate together with transgender Americans across the country who will benefit from our efforts to stop discrimination and advance inclusion for transgender Americans.”