General News

Update: Californian bill passed to protect trans prison inmates

Rachel Badham October 6, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Saturday 26 September allowing transgender prison inmates to be housed according to their self-identified gender. The new legislation requires officers to ask inmates privately during the intake process if they identify as transgender, non-binary or intersex. Newsom said: “California has some of the strongest pro-LGBTQ+ laws in the nation and with the bills signed today, our march toward equality takes an additional step forward”.

The bill was proposed at the beginning of September by California state senator Scott Weiner after a trans woman named Fancy Lipsey sued the state, saying she was attacked by another inmate for refusing his demands for intercourse. She was reportedly told by prison guards to handle the assault ‘like a man’. In addition, ABC News reported that out of nearly 5,000 transgender prisoners in the US, only 15 were housed in line with their gender identity.

Jasmine Jones is hoping that the new bill will bring a greater level of protection for trans inmates

Ex-inmate Jasmine Jones, of the Transgender, Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project says she is ‘not going to forget’ about trans women who are still in prison and hopes the new bill will be a ‘lifeline’ for them.  Similar laws protecting trans inmates exist in Rhode Island, New York City and Massachusetts, however no other US jurisdictions have such rulings.