California Governor Gavin Newsom turned heads over the weekend in a matter related to the trans community.
Yesterday, Governor @GavinNewsom signed @Scott_Wiener's #SB132 requiring @CACorrections to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people according to their own sense of where they will be safest. #CaliforniaForAll https://t.co/F3Dl1xtcSj
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) September 27, 2020
He signed a law on Saturday, September 26, requiring the state to house transgender inmates in prisons based on their gender identity — but only if the state does not have “management or security concerns.”
Per The Associated Press: “The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation houses men and women in separate facilities. Transgender inmates are often housed based on their sex assigned at birth. Advocates say this is dangerous, particularly for transgender women housed in facilities for men.”
“The law Newsom signed Saturday says officers must ask inmates privately during the intake process if they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex. Those inmates can then request to be placed in a facility that houses either men or women.”
“The law says the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation cannot deny those requests solely because of inmates’ anatomy, sexual orientation or “a factor present” among other inmates at the facility.”
There are still exceptions though when it comes to the “management or security concerns”. The state can deny these requests where they must give the inmate a written statement explaining why they made that decision and give the inmate “meaningful opportunity” to object.
Honored to have authored these 2 huge bills on behalf of the LGBTQ community. https://t.co/5U4CN2IKHR
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) September 27, 2020
“It’s just a false narrative about transgender people and about transgender women in particular that they’re somehow not really women and are just trying to scam their way into women’s bathrooms or facilities in order to do bad things,” Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who authored the bill, said. “Overwhelmingly the people who are being victimized are trans people.”
The law also says the state must reassess where inmates are housed should concerns be raised about their health or safety. Newsom’s decision was met with a good amount of positive feedback after news of him signing it was announced online.
“Thank you, @GavinNewsom. This is a safety issue & a no-brainer, if one understands the criminal justice system & prisons at all – which it’s clear most people who reply negatively/fearfully to this – do not,” one wrote on Twitter.
California isn’t the first state or city to pass a similar laws. Others include Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.