California Lawmakers Poised to Pass Bill to Allow Men to Pick Sex Before Incarceration

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Activists argue that biological men who want to live as women, or transgender women, face danger if they are incarcerated with other men.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed men living as women:

As a transgender woman, Jasmine Jones said California’s prison system constantly put her life at risk during the 17 years she spent behind bars by housing her among men.

Jones said she was assaulted repeatedly and raped three times in men’s prisons. Guards mocked her identity, Jones said, and forced her to undergo humiliating strip searches that exposed her in public.

“They weren’t going to protect me,” Jones said, referring to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officers. “I knew that for a fact. The only person that was going to protect me was myself.”

Democrat State Sen. Scott Wiener sponsored SB-132, which would allow people to pick what sex they want to be before they are placed in prison.

“In most cases, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation now houses transgender and other gender-variant people in prisons according to their sex assigned at birth,” the Chronicle reported.

“Trans women, in particular, are at such extreme risk of brutalization in men’s facilities,” Wiener said. “We need to treat them with the basic respect and dignity that they deserve.”

Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said that all prisoners are protected from violence.

“CDCR maintains a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, sexual violence, staff sexual misconduct and retaliation,” Thornton said in an email.

Data from the state shows that of the 102,000 people jailed in California, slightly more than 1,000 are “transgender, nonbinary or intersex people.”

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