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A transgender beauty influencer was put in a men's jail after her arrest in Miami

Social media influencer Nikita Dragun, seen here in 2019, is legally female. She was temporarily placed in the men's unit of a Miami jail after she was arrested for allegedly causing a disturbance and walking around a hotel pool naked.
Jon Kopaloff
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Social media influencer Nikita Dragun, seen here in 2019, is legally female. She was temporarily placed in the men's unit of a Miami jail after she was arrested for allegedly causing a disturbance and walking around a hotel pool naked.

Nikita Dragun, an influencer and content creator, was arrested and held in a men's unit of a Miami jail this week, court records show.

Dragun, who is a transgender woman, creates content on YouTube (her videos have well over 250 million views) and Instagram (where she has 9 million followers). She discusses her gender identity openly and covers her lifestyle and beauty tricks in her videos. She also founded a makeup company called Dragun Beauty.

Dragun was held in a men's unit of the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami over an incident this week. She's facing charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and felony battery of a law enforcement officer, court records show. After being jailed for at least a day, she has since been released on her own recognizance, meaning she didn't have to pay bail.

Dragun was arrested after allegedly causing a disturbance and walking around The Goodtime Hotel pool naked, according to Local 10 News. Hotel security staff reportedly told Dragun to stop, and she threw water at them. Police were called and arrived at her room, where security staff again told her to stop disturbing patrons at the hotel or she would have to leave. Dragun allegedly then threw an open bottle at a security guard and police officer, hitting them and covering them in water.

Representatives for Dragun criticized how Miami police handled her incarceration. They didn't comment specifically on the charges she is facing.

"The situation with Nikita, who is legally female, being placed in a men's unit of a Florida jail is extremely disturbing and dangerous," according to Jack Ketsoyan, a representative for Dragun with Full Scope Public Relations. "This decision made by the Miami-Dade County corrections department directly violates their protocol, which mandates that transgender inmates are classified and housed based on safety needs and gender identity. Nikita has been released and is now safe."

Dragun's arrest and incarceration in a men's unit are notable given her stature, but it's a common occurrence for many trans individuals incarcerated in the United States. In practice, many corrections departments place individuals in facilities according to their assigned sex at birth or genitalia at the time they were arrested. This is regardless of research showing that transgender inmates face greater risk of assault and abuse.

This has been a problem in Miami previously. Three transgender people filed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County for abuse they allegedly faced in 2020 when they too were misgendered.

Dragun reportedly asked a judge during her hearing whether she had to remain in the men's unit.

"I don't make the rules up there," the judge said, according to Local 10.

Dragun is set to appear in court again on Dec. 7.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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