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Legislation To House Inmates According to Gender Identity Instead of Biological Sex

Will it place women’s human rights at risk?

By Katy Grimes, June 27, 2019 2:05 am

A bill proposing to house inmates according to their gender identity, rather than the traditional method of housing inmates by biological sex, is making its way through the California Legislature. SB 132 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), has passed every legislative committee along party lines, as well as in the Senate, and is headed for a vote in the Assembly.

Sen. Wiener says when transgender people are housed according to their birth-assigned gender, which is currently the typical practice, they are at heightened risk of violence, including sexual violence.

“This landmark decision comes despite the fact that the first male transgender inmate to be placed in a women’s facility in California was accused of carrying out a campaign of sexual violence toward female inmates,” WomenAreHuman.com reported. “Critics say that, while Sen. Wiener’s bill may help transgender inmates, it will place women’s human rights at risk.”

The Women’s Liberation Front (WOLF) and the California Family Council are joined in very interesting opposition to SB 132. “SB 132 would increase the risk of violence and injury for one of the most vulnerable groups in society: incarcerated women,” board members of WOLF wrote in a letter of opposition to the bill.  “It would allow any male at any time to self-declare that he has a woman “gender identity,” and on that basis allow him to demand to be housed in a women’s correctional facility. … SB 132 is a stunning attack on incarcerated women and one of the most extreme examples of elevating men’s feelings over women’s physical and psychological safety.” Women’s Liberation Front is an all-female all-volunteer organization of over 500 members, including in California.

“If adopted, SB 132 will put women prisoners and women prison guards and staff, at serious increased risk of male violence. These harms have received no consideration in the legislative materials offered in support of SB 132,” WOLF wrote.

“Biological sex is not arbitrary,” California Family Council President Jonathan Keller said in opposition to the bill. “The legislature is increasing dangers for both inmates and correctional officers by attempting to let prisoners self-determine their sex,” Keller said. “Even in prison, males and females are guaranteed a constitutional right to privacy. The legislature should not victimize prisoners, especially biological women, by requiring them to allow members of the opposite sex into facilities that are currently female-only or male-only. This bill is a recipe for complete chaos in our state’s correctional facilities.”

WOLF and the California Family Council listed what SB 132 would do:

  • Allow any incarcerated male to claim that he has a feminine “gender identity.”
  • Give any such incarcerated male the legal right to be housed at a women’s facility, unless the incarcerated male’s “perception of [his] own health and safety needs requires a different placement.”
  • Force correctional facility staff to use language pretending that males who claim to have a woman “gender identity” are women.
  • Forbid facility officials from considering anatomy, the presence or absence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and the presence or absence of any other physical or mental health diagnosis.
  • Forbid prison officials from overriding a prisoner’s demand to be housed in a women’s facility unless the prison official meets the extraordinarily high bar of demonstrating in advance “significant security or management concerns.”

Support for SB 132 comes from ACLU of California, Equality California, Lambda Legal, TGI Justice Project, Transgender Law Center, and TransLatin@

“SB 132 in many ways is a life saver for many Trans, Gender Nonconforming and Intersex (TGI) people,” said Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of Translatin@ Coalition. “This bill will set precedence not only in our beautiful state but it will also provide the ability for other states to follow suit and validate the lives of TGI people. In some ways, this bill will provide a bit of dignity to incarcerated  TGI people,” Sen. Wiener included on his website.

SB 132 is was passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday, and will be heard in Assembly Appropriations next.

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9 thoughts on “Legislation To House Inmates According to Gender Identity Instead of Biological Sex

  1. This madness needs to stop. American is one place where women almost have a good life with almost equal rights, but abuses towards women are outrageous and too high. This law puts women back in a position to o be abused again by men. Who stands up for women?

  2. Are you saying Women should be treated equally in all places BUT prison?
    Meaning, women and men everywhere should be treated equally but in prison they need special protection?
    How sexist. and you are claiming women are weak.
    You should be ashamed of yourselves for saying its harming women, when if anything it is advancing women to be truly equal to men, so much so that they desegregate.
    In all reality, the fact that prison has segregated based on sex is against the constitution.
    If you want segregation based on sex, please clearly state so and get the constitution changed to declare all forms of STRICT SCRUTINY standard laws to be nullified. You will only be reversing every segregation decision EVER.

  3. People are getting ahead of themselves here. I’m almost positive that it won’t be easy for a man to claim Gender Identity Disorder and automatically be house in a woman’s prison so he can have his way as he pleases in there. The safety of female inmates erywhere in the Country have been taken in to consideration when proposing this bill, it’s not just about the well-being and safety of trans inmates. A trans inmates with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) that wants to be housed in a female prison for her safety will probably need to meet a certain criteria that only a transgender inmate diagnosed with GID can meet. This fear that people are having of anyone claiming GID for purposes other than their safety is valid, but a little extream. I’m a trans woman (mtf) and I’ve been to prison for choices I made that landed me behind bars. Prison, specially in a male institution is nerve-wracking to say the least.

    1. The article expressly says that no diagnosis of gender dysphoria is needed. None.
      This is taking place in Britain, where men are declaring that they are transwomen after being convicted of a crime. Self-id. If he says he’s trans, he’s trans!

  4. I’ve never had such a visceral, panicked reaction to a news article in my entire life. It’s not unusual for the government to subordinate the rights and interests of women to accommodate the unreasonable demands of others, but this is just a whole new level of reckless cruelty. Everywhere these prison policies are enacted seriously horrific consequences for women soon follow: In Argentina, a male “identified woman” housed in a women’s facility after beating his wife within an inch of her life impregnated a female inmate with significant cognitive disabilities. Ironically, in Argentina while males have the right of unrestricted access to women’s prison & the female inmates living there..women don’t have access to legal abortion under any circumstance. When he discovered her pregnancy he “savagely” beat her in an unsuccessful attempt to induce an abortion. He was released several days after when his wife stated she would no longer cooperate in the prosecution.

    I don’t know anyone in prison, but I feel a moral obligation to do something..this is truly terrifying.

  5. Transgender means identifying as the opposite sex , the person needs to transition as best as they can in which to identify as the gender they believe themselves to be…This does not make them a woman or a man…It makes them a transgender woman or a transgender man…
    I am a post op transexual woman……I know the difference…

  6. This is a great idea! After a few years of the women’s prisons become rape-havens people may begin to learn how ridiculous and harmful all this Neo-Marxist “gender theory” really is when it is actually applied to real life. Suddenly you realize that biological sex is the real basis of any sort of “gender”. It is a pity that so pointed a lesson is apparently needed.

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