(WRAL) — In October 2017, Kanautica Zayre-Brown was sentenced to nearly ten years in prison for insurance fraud and other crimes. She is now believed to be North Carolina’s only post-operative transgender inmate.
Zayre-Brown, 37, was born male but says she always felt like she was born in the wrong body. In 2012, she began a series of surgeries to transition to a woman. She had her first surgery, a breast augmentation, in October of that year, and in 2017, she had an irreversible male-to-female surgical procedure.
That same year, she was sentenced to prison. She was assigned to Harnett Correctional Institution, a male prison, where she is listed as a male under her birth name, Kevin Chestnut.
“I am a female. I am going to be treated as a female. I want the state to recognize me as a female and treat me accordingly,” she says.
At Harnett Correctional, Zayre-Brown now sleeps in a room with 37 men and shares a community shower and bathroom with them.
“It is very uncomfortable,” she said. “I haven’t been sexually assaulted, but I do fear that it may happen daily due to the situation that I’m in.”
Since November 2017, Zayre-Brown has made pleas to the facility’s Transgender Accommodation Review Committee and to the state Department of Public Safety asking to be moved to a female prison.