California’s Female Prisoners Struggle for Advocacy As Transgender Inmate Transfers Raise Concerns

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As California law making it easier for transgender prisoners to choose facilities that correspond with their gender identity has taken effect this year, female inmates have issued calls for help through advocacy organizations who say “no one is listening.”

Since the change went into effect on Jan. 1, at least 26 men who identify as women have been transferred into women’s facilities, and 261 such requests have been made, according to Just the News, who cited Lauren Adams, Legal Counsel for the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF).

“One of the first assaults we heard of was a man who was victimized in the men’s prison,” Adams told the outlet.

“It’s documented, he sued the state over it, and has transferred, and within weeks had attacked his female cellmate. And then they took him away, put him in prison jail, right — administrative segregation — for a couple of weeks and then dumped him on a different yard,” she explained.

Adams says there have been other occurrences since such transfers began to take place.

She cited a study from 2009 which found that 20.5% of men who identify as women were sex offenders, while 49.8% have committed crimes against another person. Meanwhile, tragically, a 1994 study found that 80% of female inmates have been sexually abused.

One inmate with a history of sexually assaulting young boys was transferred to a women’s facility, ceased taking estrogen, and has “already been sexually active with multiple women” within just a few weeks of being placed in the prison, Adams said.

Meanwhile, it’s difficult to garner support for the concerns of female inmates from organizations that typically advocate for prisoner’s rights, she explained.

“All of the organizations who usually work on prisoners’ rights are not speaking out on this — they either want to stay neutral, or they’re in favor of the law,” she said.

Adams has been working hard to get the attention of Governor Gavin Newsom, who signed last year’s legislation, as well as state Senator Scott Wiener, who authored it, yet “no one wants to listen.

State leaders “don’t want to hear from the women in there, they’d rather just forget them,” she charged.

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