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Ky in the Press

Beginning in 2014, The Advocate launched an investigation into the arrest, trial, and incarceration of Ky Peterson, a black transgender man from rural Georgia who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his rapist in 2011. The series, the first of its kind to document the systemic abuse and silencing faced by a low-income black trans man in the South, uncovered a key discrepancy in Peterson’s sentencing, and continues to monitor Peterson’s well-being, including his suicide attempt and ultimate access to gender-affirming treatment while incarcerated. In 2015, the series earned an Excellence in Online Media Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, won second place for Excellence in Transgender Coverage from NLGJA, and was shortlisted for a GLAAD Media Award.

The Advocate April 8th,2015

This Black Trans Man Is in Prison for Killing His Rapist



Ky Peterson, a black trans man from Georgia, has been imprisoned three years for the ‘involuntary manslaughter’ of his attacker, which he says was in self-defense.

Ky Peterson brushed off the stranger hitting on him outside a convenience store in Americus, Ga., without a second thought. It’s not like he hadn’t rebuffed a stranger’s advances before. But as he walked home past an unoccupied trailer on October 28, 2011, something hard struck the back of his head. He blacked out. When he came to, the stranger from the sidewalk was on top of him, naked and spitting homophobic slurs at the 20-year-old black trans man as he forced himself inside Peterson.

Read the Full Article Here

The Advocate April 10th, 2015

Ky Peterson Put in ‘Protective Custody’ in Georgia Prison, Partner Says


As the world learns the story of black trans man Ky Peterson, the 23-year-old has been further isolated by being placed in ‘protective custody.’

Ky Peterson, the 23-year-old transgender man at the center of The Advocate‘s investigative report “This Black Trans Man Is in Prison for Killing His Rapist,” was placed in protective custody just one day before his story was published, according to his partner.

Peterson is serving a 20-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter at Pulaski State Prison — a medium-security all-women’s facility in Hawkinsville, Ga. — and was placed in “protective custody” or “lockdown” Monday night, Peterson’s partner, Pinky Shear, tells The Advocate.

Read the Full Article Here

The Advocate April 17th, 2015

Fateful Typo Discovered in Ky Peterson’s Sentencing


The trans man’s former public defender says he hasn’t seen a discrepancy like this in 25 years of practicing law. Meanwhile, an assistant DA admits the sentence was ‘not proper.’
Ky Peterson

Ky Peterson is in prison for a crime that is different than the one he pleaded guilty to, according to court records obtained by The Advocate.

The 23-year-old at the center ofThe Advocate‘s investigative report “This Black Trans Man Is in Prison for Killing His Rapist” is currently serving a 20-year sentence for “involuntary manslaughter” at Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, Ga.

But a transcript of Peterson’s sentencing colloquy — the court hearing where the defense and prosecution present the plea deal they’ve agreed upon to a judge for approval — obtained by The Advocate shows that Peterson verbally agreed to plead guilty to “voluntary manslaughter.”

Read The Full Article Here

The Advocate June 19th, 2015

Ky Peterson’s Mom: My Son’s Life Is in Danger



Marlene Peterson, the mother of black Georgia trans male inmate Ky Peterson, worries every day that someone is trying to kill her son in prison. She’s alarmed by news that he allegedly — and, to his mother, very unexpectedly — attempted suicide on June 3.

If you ask her, the claim that Ky Peterson tried to kill himself with an overdose of medication is only part of the story. Marlene Peterson, 42, doesn’t have any evidence to support her nagging anxiety, but with prison officials refusing to answer questions from her or The Advocate, she’s left fearing the worst.

Read The Full Article Here

The Advocate July 13th, 2015

Op-ed: Why We Must (Sometimes) Talk About Violence Against Trans Men


Boys Do Cry: While we must continue putting violence against trans women in the forefront, trans male survivors also need space to speak out.01-Boys-Do-Cry-633x375

There was a time in my life when I considered violence against trans men trivial: too rare, a negligible statistic of little matter to the trans rights movement. And then I became a news reporter.

I’ll never forget when I heard about Ky Peterson. When I first got the email about Ky — a black trans man who’s currently serving 20 years in a Georgia prison for killing his rapist in self-defense — I felt like lightning struck me. I sat up straighter in my chair. The feeling was, in one sense, a reporter’s tic: This is a good lead. But for me, it was also something more: This is a story about a trans man I’ve never heard before.

Read The Full Article Here

The Advocate July 13th, 2015

Surviving Alleged Abuse, Suicide Attempt, Ky Peterson Won’t Stay Silent



The black trans man tells The Advocate how alleged neglect and mistreatment by Georgia prison staff led to him nearly dying while held in isolation.

Ky Peterson, the 23-year-old black Georgia trans man imprisoned for killing his rapist, survived taking a lethal dose of seizure medication Tegretol June 3, while held in an isolated “segregation” cell at Pulaski State Prison, an all-female facility in Hawkinsville, Ga.

It’s a frightening turn in a story filled with years of seeming institutional disregard for Peterson’s well-being that The Advocate has been covering since releasing an April investigative report on his case, “This Black Trans Man Is in Prison for Killing His Rapist.”

Read The Full Article Here

ALJAZEERA AMERICA February 1, 2016

When sexual assault is threatened, how do courts view self-defense?

1st video visit

By Victoria Law

Even when presented with proof of sexual assault, police and prosecutors frequently doubt self-defense claims.

In 2011, Ky Peterson, a black trans man, was attacked in a trailer park in Americus, Georgia. By the age of 20, he had endured several physical and sexual assaults because of his gender identity. After the first rape, he began carrying a gun in his backpack. On Oct. 28, he was sitting outside a convenience store when a man approached and began asking questions. “He stood over me and tried to sit with me, which made me leave,” he wrote in a letter to Al Jazeera. He was walking through the trailer park when something hit him in the back of the head.

Read the Full Article Here 

The Advocate February 23, 2016

Locked in Prison, Ky Peterson Gets Some Good News


By Sunnivie  Brydum

After nearly five years jailed with women, Ky Peterson is now one step closer to being recognized as the man he is — even while he remains incarcerated in Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, Ga.

Peterson — the black trans man at the center of a groundbreaking case involving violence, gender identity, and the dysfunctional prison system — received his first dose of hormone therapy on February 26, the 25-year-old tells The Advocate.

Read the Full Article Here

The Advocate April 17, 2016

Feds Probe Georgia’s Treatment of LGBT Prisoners

ashley-diamond-and-ky-peterson-x750By Trudy Ring

Amid widely publicized complaints about ill-treatment of transgender inmates in Georgia prisons, federal officials have begun an investigation into the treatment of LGBT inmates generally in the state’s prisons.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Georgia are jointly conducting the probe into institutions operated by the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Georgia Voice reports. This is the first Justice Department investigation to focus on the situation of LGBT prisoners.

Read the Full Article Here

The Advocate May 17, 2016

Fighting to Free Ky Peterson on Trans Liberation Tuesday

Ky-Peterson-Bazant-sml (1)By Sunnivie Brydum

It’s been nearly three months since Ky Peterson received his first injection of testosterone while incarcerated at Pulaski State Prison, a medium-security women’s prison in Hawkinsville, Ga.

Peterson reported to the prison’s medical center February 26, unsure whether he’d really be obtaining the first dose of the hormone therapy he’d been approved for a month earlier. He says the nurse told him she’d never administered a testosterone shot before but that she had “read up on it.” The nurse had Peterson stay in the clinic for an hour to watch for any adverse reaction, then sent him back to his room.

Read the Full Article Here

The Advocate June 28, 2016

Laverne Cox, Planned Parenthood Stand With Black Trans Man Ky Peterson 

laverne_cox-and-ky-peterson-x750 By Sunnivie Brydum

It’s been more than a year since The Advocate first broke the story of Ky Peterson, a black transgender man currently serving a 20-year sentence in a Georgia women’s prison because he killed the stranger who was raping him in 2011.

Since the initial publication of the groundbreaking investigative report, Peterson has survived alleged harassment, multiple stints in solitary confinement, and even a suicide attempt. In February, Peterson received his first dose of testosterone, after nearly five years of being incarcerated with women.

Read the Full Article Here 

Project Q Atlanta December 19th 2016 

Transgender inmate fights for survival in Georgia prison

by Regina Willis


Ky Peterson, a black trans man, is incarcerated in a central Georgia prison for killing his rapist. Imprisoned in a women’s facility during his 20-year sentence, Peterson faces guards that misgender and mistreat him and a struggle for the trans-related healthcare he needs.

Pinky Shear, his partner, spoke with Project Q Atlanta about the difficulty she’s faced making sure what little access Peterson (top photo) has to gender affirming products – even simple things such as boxers – are protected.

“It’s probably been six months fighting the prison to get them to have, to put boxer shorts on the stores. So he can have boxer shorts. So the other guys can get boxer shorts, too,” Shear said.

The “other guys” Shear is referring to are other transgender men in Peterson’s facility: Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, Ga., about 45 minutes south of Macon.

Trans people are about six times more likely to end up in prison or jail than the general population, according to a report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. Not only were transgender people – particularly trans people of color – more likely to be incarcerated, but they are more likely to experience harassment and transphobia along the way, the report found.


Read the Full Article Here 

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