A California bill would allow transgender, intersex and gender non-binary people to decide whether they want to be housed in a men’s or women’s prison, reports The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
SB132, sponsored by State Sen. Scott Wiener, was introduced in January 2019 but put on hold while the corrections department met with activists and surveyed prison inmates.
The legislation is the latest in a growing number of efforts to lower the number of reported sexual assaults of transgender prisoners in the male prison population. The most recent federal data found that 40 percent of transgender prisoners reported being the victim of a sexual assault.
“Trans women, in particular, are at such extreme risk of brutalization in men’s facilities,” Wiener, D-San Francisco, told the news outlet. “We need to treat them with the basic respect and dignity that they deserve.”
More than 1,000 people incarcerated in California prisons identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex.
The group Feminists in Struggle, a nationwide feminist organization, opposes housing transgender women in female prisons because they were born male.
“To allow any male to claim a trans identity, with no biological requirements whatsoever, opens the door for sexual predators of various types, from voyeurs to rapists, to reinvent themselves as female by taking on female names and identities,” the group said in a statement.
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