Zaniya James: Further Reflections on Trans Experiences in Jail


Zaniya James, a Black trans woman and founder of the Indianapolis transgender advocacy organization The Late Project, was sentenced to 75 days in Marion County Jail on May 16, and she will be moved from Hamilton County Jail to Marion County on June 10 to serve the remaining 50 days of her sentence.

While inside Zaniya needs money for food, medications and other basic necessities, and when she gets out she will also be in serious need of financial support. Please continue to share and donate to Zaniya’s support fund, and keep her in your thoughts while she’s locked up!

Here are some of Zaniya’s recent reflections on the experience of being locked up as a trans woman:

The jail system isn't made to be comfortable for any one I completely get that. But anyone that has been in jail will tell you a lot of people treat it just like they are at home. They have friends, family members or people that they became cool with while in the jail. They watch each others’ back makes sure no one rob steals or fights them. Trans women don't have the love, support or respect when in jail. We are at the bottom of the food chain - only thing below us are child molesters. Its hard for most trans women that are not housed in P.C. (protective custody). We are called fags, sissy, punk, dick sucker and many other derogatory words. We don't have immediate respect when we walk in. Some earn it by fighting for it standing up for there selves or knowing someone that is already there. We are victims of sexual propositions, homophobic violence, theft of our personal property and if we just allow it to happen we are deemed as a target and will spend the duration of our time being subjected to these things. Telling on the situation will label us a snitch. So what is there to do besides fight for your self? Some will fight some won't it sucks that we are subjected to such bullshit just because of our gender identity . . .

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