Controversial social media influencer Nikita Dragun, who’s openly trans, is currently being held in a men’s unit after being arrested in Miami on Monday, November 7.
According to reports, Nikita was in Florida doing what she does best — partying. She seemingly enjoyed herself a little too much and someone called the police to report disorderly conduct, which included walking around the pool naked. This led to an altercation in Nikita’s room where she threw a water bottle at an officer and ultimately landed in jail.
Since then, a video on TikTok has been circulating in which Nikita can be seen asking the judge at her hearing,
“May I… do I have to stay in the men’s unit still?”
The judge responded that she “doesn’t make the rules” and would give Nikita “proper accommodations.”
Nikita, who publically came out as trans in 2015, built a beauty empire after starting out on YouTube with makeup tutorial videos. Since her rise to stardom, she’s been accused of racism, blackfishing, and now, the battery of a police officer.
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Unfortunately, Nikita is not the first trans woman to be put in the incorrect holding cell, especially in Florida. In 2020, during the Black Lives Matter protests, many trans women were placed in the incorrect cells even when they had their name and gender legally changed. One of the women, Jae Bucci, was told that the cops had the “rule of the land” and didn’t have to abide by federal or state law. This is terrifying for anyone to hear, but especially so for trans people since trans violence continues to be on the rise in America.
Florida is far from the only state where trans women are put in the wrong jail and prison units. In 2020, NBC News found that, out of 4,890 transgender inmates held across the country in state prisons (as well as those in Washington D.C.), only 15 were held in the proper unit that aligned with their gender identity.
Placing trans people in the incorrect facility increases the chances of them being victims of violent crimes while incarcerated. Psychologist Randi Ettner told NPR,
“Generally speaking, prisons and jails are treacherous living spaces for transgender people. For transgender women who have transitioned to their affirmed gender and live as women in the community, being housed in a male facility is a veritable minefield.”
Additionally, trans people are at a higher risk of suicide and depression, and misaffirming their gender is a constant reminder that trans people are not seen as valid and can do a number on the psyche of a person.
In such a high-stress environment as jail and prison, it’s no wonder why Nikita was in tears at her hearing. Fighting all your life to be seen as who you are only to be told it’s not valid when you’re in a place that is not safe is harmful. Trans people deserve at least, basic respect. Constantly misgendering trans people every step of the way, whether they have medically transitioned or not, is a danger to both their mental health and physical health.
It is disgusting that the United States has not done enough to protect their trans citizens and leave it to the discretion of each state and let their cops make up the rules as they see fit. Transphobia will continue to harm trans people, especially those in the prison system and it is heartbreaking to know that this is happening.