A prison guard who says she’s constantly harassed by her coworkers for being transgender is now suing the California Department of Corrections for discrimination.
Meghan Frederick says the other correctional officers at California State Prison Sacramento have known that she was trans for five years, but the backlash she has faced for coming out hasn’t slowed down in that time.
The 53-year-old said she’s heard coworkers refer to her as “fag” and “tranny,” with one colleague saying, “Back in the day we would never let someone like [Frederick] work in the prison, we would have run them out of here.” But the harassment soon became more than verbal taunts.
Frederick told The Sacramento Bee that she began to fear being physically attacked in 2014 after finding out that an inmate had threatened to kill her. She said that threatened officers are usually separated from inmates who’ve expressed intent to harm them, but that never happened. Instead, the lawsuit claims that prison administrators never told her about the inmate’s threats, despite knowing about them for weeks.
Frederick’s car has also been vandalized three times in the prison parking lot, including someone flattening the tires and breaking the windows.
The correctional officer said she decided to sue the department for subjecting her to a hostile environment, saying she’s lost tens of thousands of dollars in wages due to missing work over fear and stress.
“I have woken up in the morning crying, with panic attacks, because I have to re-enter an environment that has perpetrated so much hate and misery in my life,” she told The Sacramento Bee. “[But] I have to say, when I put on that uniform and step through those gates, I have to be on point, I have to stay focused because lives depend on me being on my A game.”
It is her dedication to her job that also inspired the lawsuit, as she no longer wants to feel helpless or bullied at work.
“It’s who I am,” she said. “I’m Meghan Frederick, female officer. I expect to be treated like that. It’s where I find joy in my life, happiness and peace. I am female, and I expect to be addressed that way.”
This article was originally published on New Now Next. Read the original article.