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Federal Transgender Prisoner Allowed to Wear Feminine Clothing at Video Trial

When Jeremy (Grace) Pinson was struck in the head by a white supremacist while imprisoned at FCI Terre Haute, she suffered a traumatic brain injury and was left partially blind. Retaliatory attacks followed that forced a lockdown of the facility.

Pinson sued, seeking damages for her injuries through claims that various employees of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) were deliberately indifferent to her safety and failed to place her in segregated housing. She alleged such failure to protect allowed other prisoners to assault her in violation of her Eighth Amendment rights.

As the case approached trial, a motion in limine was filed and granted that allowed Pinson, a transgender woman classified by the prison system as male, to wear feminine clothing while testifying through videoconference during the civil proceedings; however, the district court declined to rule that Pinson be allowed to wear makeup. It also held that she could be shackled, but not in view of the jury.

Although the BOP ultimately prevailed at trial in October 2016, Pinson’s able representation by attorneys with Jenner & Block, LLP resulted in a precedent-setting ruling for transgender prisoners who want to dress in conformity with their gender identity. See: Pinson v. Prieto, U.S.D.C. (C.D. CA), Case No. 5:10-cv-00811-SP. 


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Related legal case

Pinson v. Prieto