Miami filmmaker goes behind bars with transgender inmates

George Zuber says transgender prisoners face harrowing conditions


MIAMI – Miami filmmaker George Zuber returns to chronicling the transgender community, this time drawing attention to the plight of transgender inmates behind bars.

Zuber's first film, "Just Gender," explored what it means to be transgender. 

"During the course of making that film, I learned the plight that many transgender people experience when they encounter the justice system here in the United States and that became the genesis for the film," Zuber said.

When they go into prison many transgender people are not placed people of the gender with which they identify.

"It's very different than what you might see, for instance, on dramas on TV -- "Orange is the New Black," where transgender woman housed are with other women -- but in reality, most transgender people are housed based on their genitals because most transgender people can't afford to do gender-confirming surgery," Zuber said.

Many people in the process of transitioning could be taking hormones, however, and when they are in prison, those hormones are taken away suddenly. When this happens, it can take a heavy toll on the person's physical and mental health. 

The film features transgender inmates who have experienced violence inside the prison. The film follows the case of Ashley Diamond, who was sold a miter saw that she later found out was stolen and was sentenced to 12 years in a Georgia prison.

Zuber's film is premiering Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Outshine Film Festival at Regal Cinemas South Beach. Tickets cost $13.

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