Kanautica Zayre-Brown, a woman who is transgender, was incarcerated in North Carolina men's prisons for almost two years, in violation of federal law and at great risk to her safety and wellbeing. On August 15, 2019, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) transferred her to a women's facility after months of negotiation and pressure from the community. Below is a message from Kanautica on how this experience has affected her and what she hopes for the future.
For one year, ten months, and 16 days, I was held in a monstrous cage. Now that I've been transferred to a women's facility, I feel safe.
I want to thank DPS for coming through with their promise. But, for all of the transgender and non-gender conforming people that will have to enter into this system, DPS has to realize this isn’t the 1900’s any longer. We have rights and a voice, and not to forget, support from a community that means business.
The physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual anguish can never be restored, but my courage and boldness stands above all and allows me to have an empowering and thunderous voice with unstoppable bravery. I have fought for fairness since the beginning. I vow to achieve my goals and maintain success as I defined it. I must stay on target and not waste my life force on what I know is unworthy of my commitment.
I command everyone to never lose focus, express your gender, shine brighter, not bright, and POSE. Change starts today, tomorrow, and forever!