A Texas parole board on Thursday denied the parole request of a man whose gender identity is being challenged by Texas authorities.
Passion Star, whose real name is Joshua Zollicoffer, has already served 13 years of a 20-year prison sentence for aggravated kidnapping.
He claims to be a transgender "woman" who is subjected to repeated rapes, sexual harassment and abuse in the men's prison system.
Star won a small court victory in March when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice agreed to keep him in protective custody for his own safety. He is suing the TDCJ for not protecting him enough.
The 32-year-old inmate was 18 when he and his boyfriend, who was then 23, went to a car dealership and picked out a maroon Impala to take on a test drive.
Star's boyfriend took the wheel of the Chevy, the salesman sat in the front passenger seat and Star sat in the rear.
Trouble began when the salesman indicated it was time to return to the dealership. Star's boyfriend continued driving 40 miles outside of town, where they dumped the salesman on the side of a rural road and kept driving north.
The salesman flagged down a police car, and an alert was issued for the Chevy. The police pursuit was over when Star's boyfriend lost control of the Chevrolet and ended up in a ditch.
Star was charged with aggravated kidnapping, and he agreed to the same 20-year deal as his boyfriend.
Lambda Legal, which represents Star, notes that Star's boyfriend, who was released from prison 2 years ago, was white and “not transgender."
Since his arrest at age 18, Star has been transferred to 7 different prisons.
He says he is the victim of a prison culture where gays and transgenders become "property" of gang members who "coerce them into being sexually active to survive."
Star claims he became transgender after living as a gay man for most of his teenage and adult years.
Texas authorities believe Star is faking his gender status in order to get special treatment.
Prison authorities point out that Star has not been diagnosed transgender nor is he seeking medical treatment for gender dysphoria.
His lawyer, Jael Humprhey disagrees.
"[W]hether or not she was diagnosed as transgender has nothing to do with whether or not she deserves protection from sexual assault," Humphrey told the NY Times.
Humphrey said Star does intend to transition… eventually.
In the meantime, Star will finish out his sentence in an all-male maximum security prison where he is referred to by male pronouns and his birth name -- Joshua Zollicoffer.