Lawsuit targets law that allows transgender inmates to choose accommodation based on their gender identity

A California bill that gives transgender, non-binary and intersex inmates in state prisons the right to be accommodated in facilities for either men or women is criticized in a lawsuit filed last week.

The Women’s Liberation Front, which also opposes the participation of transgender athletes in women’s and women’s sports, has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that SB 132 is unconstitutional and creates a dangerous environment for women in women’s facilities. .

One complainant alleged that she was sexually assaulted by an inmate who had been transferred from a male facility under SB 132 and another complainant alleged that she was “caught”.

The complaint does not refer to people who are transferred to women’s facilities by feminine or non-binary pronouns such as she or they, instead calling them male.

“The basis of our legal action is that these are male offenders held in women’s prisons,” said Lauren Adams, legal director of the Women’s Liberation Front. “Pretending that they are women, in the language or in what we say about them or how we talk about them, goes against the whole basis of the trial.”

Advocates for transgender and LGBTQ + people have called the lawsuit baseless and damaging.

“The way they wrote (the complaint) says trans women are men and they put men in women’s prisons, which is completely wrong,” said Bamby Salcedo, president and CEO. from the TransLatin @ Coalition, which co-sponsored SB 132. “They are making a claim that is not accurate and that is not respectful of trans women in particular.”

Salcedo, a transgender woman, spent nearly 14 years in men’s prisons more than two decades ago and said her experience inspired her to fight for the dignity and safety of transgender inmates.

“My experience was similar to what trans women go through today,” she said. “I’m a survivor of prison sexual assault and physical assault and some of the things trans people go through, including being punished for who we are and being blamed for things that happen to us. “

“This is why I am dedicated to ensuring that the rights of trans people in our society are respected and recognized,” she said.

Under the bill passed earlier this year, 291 inmates housed in men’s facilities have requested to be transferred to women’s facilities, according to data provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Wednesday. The ministry granted 41 requests and denied six. Ten candidates “changed their minds”, according to the ministry. The other requests remain under study.

Seven inmates have requested transfers to men’s facilities and these requests are also under review.

Department of Corrections deputy press secretary Terry Thornton said in an email that the department had not been served with the trial on Wednesday afternoon and declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

“The department is committed to providing a safe, humane, rehabilitative and secure environment for all those in its care,” Thornton wrote. “Federal and state laws impose legal obligations related to the treatment of detainees with specific provisions for gender nonconforming persons. “

A 2007 UC Irvine study found that the rate of sexual assault was 13% higher among transgender inmates.

Samuel Garrett-Pate, spokesperson for LGBTQ + rights group Equality California, said he was waiting for Atty. General Rob Bonta to defend SB 132.

“Bonta has been a champion of the trans community during his tenure in the Legislature and now as Attorney General,” he said.

In recent months, Bonta has supported the participation of transgender athletes in school sports and banned government travel to states like Florida, Montana and West Virginia that have passed laws deemed harmful to the LGBTQ + community.





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