Valerie Jackson

Dallas transgender resident Valerie Jackson claims in a lawsuit she filed against Dallas County late last week that she was forced to show her genitals to deputies at the Dallas County Jail so they could determine her gender after she was arrested at Dallas Love Field in 2016. She charges that county jailers humiliated her and endangered her life by housing her with men.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday, Nov. 2, names former Sheriff Lupe Valdez and current Sheriff Marian Brown among the defendants.

Jackson was arrested at the DFW International Airport in 2016 when screeners found a handgun in her purse as she passed through security. Jackson said she simply forgot to remove the gun from her purse before heading for the airport for a vacation trip, and a Dallas county grand jury dlater eclined to indict her in connection with the incident.

The suit charges that DCSO employees violated the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which quotes a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bans “deliberate indifference to the substantial risk of sexual assault violates prisoners’ rights under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment.”

Final rules for implementing the act say decisions on housing a prisoner “cannot be made solely on the basis of a person’s anatomy or gender assigned at birth.”

Dallas County rules say the prisoner’s medical, psychological and medication needs must be assessed before determining where to house the prisoner.

According to Jackson’s lawsuit, one officer insisted, “We need to see if you have a penis or a vagina,” to justify the strip search.

— David Taffet