The California State Senate passed a bill requiring incarcerated transgender individuals in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to be classified and housed based on their gender identity, absent specific security concerns, on a 29-6 vote.
It will now head to the Assembly for committee hearings in the coming weeks.
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 risk of violence often leads to transgender people being placed in isolation “for their own protection,” resulting in loss of access to services.
The solution is to house transgender incarcerated individuals according to their gender identity.
The bill, SB 132, requires that during the initial intake process, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation record the individual’s self-reported gender identity, preferred first name, preferred pronouns, and honorifics; requires the department to house people according to their gender identity, unless a specifically articulated security concern counsels otherwise, or the individual believes it would be safer to be housed according to their birth gender; and requires all staff and contractors of the department to consistently use the gender pronoun, honorific, and preferred name the individual has specified in all verbal and written communications with and regarding that individual.
“Incarcerated transgender people deserve to be housed in facilities consistent with their gender identity,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author. “When we house trans people based on their birth-assigned gender, we place them at high risk of sexual assault and violence. SB 132 will help ensure transgender individuals are treated with dignity and have their gender identity respected.”
SB 132 is sponsored by TransLatin@, EQCA, ACLU, and Lambda Legal and has the support of the Transgender Law Center.
For information, visit sd11.senate.ca.gov.
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