Two-hundred fifty-five California state prisoners have requested to move from a male to a female corrections facility since a new law went into effect on Jan. 1
The SB 132 law says all "transgender, nonbinary, or intersex" must be "addressed in a manner consistent with the incarcerated individual's gender identity," and "housed at a correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual's preference."
The law is "regardless of anatomy."
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed a new law in September last year.
Newsome said at the time:
"These new laws will help us better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community, establish a new fund to support our transgender sisters and brothers, and advance inclusive and culturally competent efforts that uphold the dignity of all Californians, regardless of who you are or who you love."
Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener, who authored the bill, said the SB 132 would protect "particularly trans women who are subject to high levels of assault and harassment in men's facilities."
"Overwhelmingly, the people who are being victimized are trans people.""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," Wiener said.
Though only a few transfers have been approved thus far, none have been rejected.
According to the corrections department, just over 1% of California's prison population has identified as nonbinary, intersex, or transgender.
A 2007 UC Irvine study found that the rate of sexual assault for transgender people is 13 times higher than that of other prisoners.
But some prisoners are worried about that inmates are making false claims about their gender identity to transfer to women's prisons.
The LA Times notes that several inmates are thought to have applied "under false pretenses."