Transgender woman Makyyla Holland sues Broome County after being accused of assault by prison guards

When Makyyla Holland was arrested and sent to a New York prison, she told corrections officers that she was a transgender woman and was afraid of being with men. The assistant to a 23-year-old trained nurse in Binghamton also revealed to prison guards that she had been traumatized by being sexually assaulted by a man when she was young.

But the day she arrived at the Broome County Jail in January 2021, the prisons allegedly ignored her concerns. Instead, Holland claims, officers repeatedly punched and kicked her, broke her teeth and suffered a head injury that led to migraines, and refused to give her medication, including hormone treatment. They also put her in a men’s unit, where she spent most of her time in a medical cell that had a “separating” glass wall and was visible to other inmates at all times, including when in use. toilet.

On Tuesday, Holland detailed her allegations in a federal lawsuit against the county, the sheriff, the prison administrator and various correctional officers.

According to the complaint, prison admissions officers ordered Holland to enter the room and undress in front of them, even though she told them she was “a woman and was afraid of stripping in a room” separately in front of a group of men.” Because she didn’t obey orders immediately, the deputies allegedly handcuffed her, threw her on the floor, and assaulted her. “She began to cry and cry for help, saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m going to take my clothes off,'” the lawsuit alleges, adding that the five officers “ignored her cries and continued.” punching and kicking her.” Several other officers were also present but refused to intervene until one of them declared, “Enough,” the petition states.

The lawsuit names multiple defendants, including Broome County Sheriff David Harder, prison superintendent Mark Smolinsky, and several corrections officers. In an email to The Daily Beast, Harder said he was on vacation and didn’t know anything about the suit.

Makyyla Holland claims five reception staff threw her to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked her.

Michael O’Neal / MO Studio

Broome County Attorneys did not return a message seeking comment.

“Among other things, the defendants beat Ms. Holland; place her in a men’s compound despite her objections and her request to be housed with women; isolate her in seclusion; delay and deny her access to health care; frequent harassment and misdirection of her; and ignored her repeated pleas for help and protection from the sexual threats and victims they had exposed her to. All of this has caused her lasting pain and harm,” the lawsuit states.

“Until the defendants change their policies, practices and customs, Ms. Holland and other transgender people and people with disabilities will experience similar abuses in the future,” the lawsuit filed by lawyers from the Education Foundation Transgender Legal Defense & Education (TLDEF), the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

In a video statement, Holland said she was “scarred” by her treatment in prison.

“When they found out I was transgender, I was immediately targeted,” Holland said. “I feel like the prison isn’t equipped for a trans woman and certainly a trans woman of color.”

Holland was held at the Broome County Jail (BCJ) from approximately January 22, 2021 to February 5, 2021, and June 1, 2021, to July 2, 2021.

TLDEF spokesman Khadijah Silver declined to comment on the circumstances of Holland’s arrest but said her “daily interactions with police stem from Makyyla being low-income, black and live in a highly secure community.”

Silver told The Daily Beast: “For her crime, she committed contempt of court (sentence was pronounced), and her criminal case is closed.

Indeed, Holland’s lawsuit states: “Ms. Holland meets law enforcement officers in her daily life. Because of her past experiences and perception of high arrest rates for transgender Black women… she has reason to fear future arrest and ill-treatment at BCJ. ”

Prison staff are said to have informed Holland that “there is nowhere else to put her” other than the medical unit because she is transgender. They allegedly refused to raise her with female prisoners because of “what’s between [her] feet” and in prison records stated her “gender dysphoria” was a reason for her medical isolation.

The lawsuit claims that detention officers “unreasonably disclosed Ms. Holland’s transgender status to the public in prison,” and that one warden, identified as Officer Parris George, in particular, had “constantly harassing” her by calling her “tranny,” “transformer,” and “Fagot.”

Because the prison kept her in the men’s unit, Holland was “forced to shower in front of male staff and incarcerated men,” the lawsuit adds. Some of those men had contact with her and masturbated, putting Holland at risk of physical, sexual and emotional harm, the lawsuit alleges.

Holland repeatedly requested a private bath and recounted traumatized past assaults, but prison staff refused her request.

When Holland was arrested a second time, in June 2021, officers again denied her request to stay with the women, stripped her, searched her, and forced her to tear off her wig and acrylic nails.


Makyyla Holland is seeking damages for her alleged treatment while in prison.

Michael O’Neal / MO Studio

This time, however, the prison also allegedly refused to provide her with drugs for four weeks. Holland has been prescribed antidepressants and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and she says not taking them left her experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, depression and suicidal thoughts . A few days before her release, they gave her an injection of oestrogen.

“From the first day of Ms Holland’s detention in June 2021, Defendants have known that she was prescribed HRT — specifically, a daily testosterone blocker via pill and weekly estrogen injections — and antiretroviral medication. daily depression,” the lawsuit alleges. “The defendants also know that they previously provided these drugs during Ms. Holland’s January-February 2021 detention.”

Holland claimed that George harassed her again, disrespecting her gender identity or using correct pronunciations and declared, “You’re a damn man.” On one occasion, he allegedly threatened her and said, “If you say the wrong thing to me, I’ll slit your throat.”

She reported George to the prison’s complaints coordinator, who said her complaint would be reviewed by the sheriff, but she never received a response.

Holland’s lawsuit also highlights that many other transgender women have been discriminated against in prison and denied medical care.

“All of them are housed in a men’s unit; they are all denied access to gender-affirming underwear and hygiene products; they are all often confused; they were all harassed because of their gender; and at least one of them was denied HRT under her rules,” the lawsuit alleges.

In a statement, Holland said, “I was humiliated by Broome County prison staff because I am a transgender woman.”

“There is no gender identity that gives prison staff the power to harm them, and Broome County prison and law enforcement officers are held accountable for their actions,” she added. The abuse committed by police and prison staff across New York state against transgender New Yorkers must end.” Transgender woman Makyyla Holland sues Broome County after being accused of assault by prison guards

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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