CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE POISED TO PUT MEN IN WOMEN’S PRISONS UNDER SB 132

Add your signature to our letter to Senator Wiener here.

Dear Senator Wiener: 

Your proposed bill, SB 132, would harm one of the most vulnerable groups in society: incarcerated women. It would allow any male at any time to self-declare that he has a woman “gender identity,” and on that basis allow him to demand to be housed in a women’s correctional facility. It would forbid prison officials from taking into account material factors that put women at greater risk of harm when incarcerated with men, including anatomy, the presence or absence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and the presence or absence of any other physical or mental health diagnosis. 

If adopted, SB 132 will put women prisoners and women prison guards and staff, at serious increased risk of male violence. 

These harms have received no consideration in the legislative materials offered in support of SB 132. 

For these reasons, we urge you to withdraw SB 132.

Thank you.

Add your signature to our letter to Senator Wiener here.

BACKGROUND

Led by state Senator Scott Wiener, the California legislature is, once again, planning to harm women and girls in order to serve the demands of “gender identity” activists. This time Mr. Wiener is targeting some of the most vulnerable individuals in society: incarcerated women. We need your help to fight SB 132. Please see the “take action” links below.  We currently expect all senators to vote whether to pass the bill on or before May 31. 

SB 132 would: 

  • Allow males at any time to self-declare their “gender identity” and preferred first name, gender pronoun, and honorific. 
  • Allow males at any time to be housed at a correctional facility designated for women unless the incarcerated individual’s “perception of their own health and safety needs requires a different placement.”
  • Force facility staff to use language pretending that men who claim to have a woman “gender identity” actually are women.
  • Forbid facility officials from considering anatomy, the presence or absence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and the presence or absence of any other physical or mental health diagnosis. 
  • Forbid prison officials from overriding a prisoner’s chosen preference to be housed in a women’s facility unless they demonstrate in advance “significant security or management concerns.”

SB 132 is a stunning act of female erasure and elevation of men’s feelings over women’s physical and psychological safety. It ignores the fundamental reasons that facilities for incarcerated individuals exist in the first place: whether for biological or social reasons, men are far more likely to sexually assault or rape women and to engage in other forms of violence and voyeurism. Further, women are the only sex capable of being involuntarily impregnated.

The statistics cited in support of the bill all involve violence against incarcerated males and mention only incarcerated “trans women.” The bill’s sponsors offer no data, information, or discussion about the vulnerability of incarcerated females to violent assault, and no mention at all of women who identify as “trans men.” We must assume that the bill was designed entirely to serve the desires of incarcerated males who claim to identify as transgender, without regard for the safety and privacy of women in prison.

State Sen. Wiener claims that this law is needed because males who identify as transgender “face particular risk of rape and assault” in facilities for incarcerated males, and therefore prison policies should “take into account a person’s gender identity and their perception of safety, making them more vulnerable to violence from other incarcerated people.” In other words, a man’s “perception of safety” is given more weight than the material factors that make women particularly vulnerable to male violence. 

The supporters of this woman-hating bill are: ACCESS Women’s Health Justice; API Equality-LA; API Equality-Northern California; California Civil Liberties Advocacy; Californians United for a Responsible Budget; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; Empowering Pacific Islander Communities; Initiate Justice; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area; Legal Services for Prisoners with Children; National Center for Lesbian Rights; Root & Rebound; Tides Advocacy; Women’s Foundation of California

TAKE ACTION!

(1) SIGN ON on to our letter urging Senator Wiener to drop this attack on vulnerable women.

(2) Tweet to the supporting organizations to urge them to withdraw support for this attack on vulnerable incarcerated women.

@access_whj @apiequalityla @APIENC @CalCivilLiberty @CURBprisons @ellabakercenter @EmpoweredPI ‏@InitiateJustice @lccrbayarea @LSPC_ ‏ @NCLRights ‏ @RootAndRebound @TidesAdvocacy @womensfoundca

(3) If you are a California resident, put in a brief phone call urging your senator not to vote for SB 132.