Activists are voicing concern after authorities misgendered trans influencer Nikita Dragun and placed her in a men’s jail.
According to NBC News, was arrested Monday in Miami county and charged with felony assault of a police officer. TMZ reports that authorities confronted Dragun after receiving complaints that she was walking around a pool naked. Dragun allegedly threw water at police officers.
Her representatives and Miami-Dade County criminal justice records confirmed that Dragun was released from a men’s jail on Wednesday. Copies of an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC News provide evidence of authorities misgendering Dragun. It said that Dragun “appears as a female but would like to be recognized as a male.” The affidavit also uses he/him pronouns to refer to Dragun, who has used she/her pronounces since 2015.
Dragun’s representatives have described her placement as “disturbing and dangerous.”
“The situation with Nikita, who is legally female, being placed in a men’s unit of a Florida jail is extremely disturbing and dangerous,” they said in a statement to TIME. “This decision made by the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department directly violates their protocol, which mandates that trans gender inmates are classified and housed based on safety needs and gender identity. Nikita has been released and is now safe. Thank you for respecting her privacy during this time.”
Trans rights activists have voiced their concern about the treatment Dragun has received. One person pointed out on Twitter that if it could happen to a well-known trans woman like Dragun, it could certainly happen to other trans women.
Another Twitter user pointed out that placing trans women in men’s jails puts them at risk of being sexually assaulted.
Dragun first become popular on Youtube in 2015 for her make-up videos and for her discussion of her transition. She has amassed a large following online, receiving praise for increasing the visibility of trans women and criticism for her handling of other social issues like blackfishing. People on social media who are not fans of Dragun were quick to point out that she still deserves to be protected as a trans woman.
“i am not a fan of Nikita Dragun, that does not mean i think she should be in a men’s prison or misgendered consistently, trans people can commit crimes like anyone else but their basic human rights should still apply. this puts her in danger…” one Twitter user wrote.
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