Transgender inmate denied transfer to women’s facility

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD/CNN) - The ACLU of North Carolina says they're prepared to take legal action on behalf of a transgender inmate, who's being kept in a men's prison.

The request to transfer Kanautica Zayre-Brown to a women's facility has been denied, but a new response from the department overseeing prisons has given hope to her supporters.

The Department of Public Safety missed a 5 p.m. Monday deadline by the ACLU to move Zayre-Brown from the all men's facility where she resides to a women's facility.

A small group of advocates and supporters for Zayre-Brown met on the steps of the state Capitol to urge Gov. Roy Cooper and the DPS to act quickly or face the threat of a lawsuit.

Serena Sebring with the LGBTQ advocacy group Southerners on New Ground believes Cooper and DPS officials are taking too long to move Zayre-Brown.

Her frustration comes weeks after the ACLU sent a letter to the department, calling for her to be transferred.

"The failure to correct this is the biggest mistake they're making right now," Sebring said.

Immediately following the gathering, Cooper's director of community engagement, Jeremy Collins, met with supporters but appeared to defer ownership elsewhere.

"I'm saying the questions at this point should be directed toward the Department of Public Safety," Collins said.

One transgender woman, who did not want to be identified, says the state's response speaks for itself.

"To me it means they're not committed to doing anything about it," she said.

In an email, an official with the DPS said Zayre-Brown was transferred to Warren Correctional Institution on Thursday, and they eventually hope to move her to a women's facility.

The ACLU of North Carolina says their legal team is reviewing the department's response, and they will keep fighting until Zayre-Brown is moved.

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