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‘I’m Really Proud Of That Law’: California State Senator Defends Law Allowing Biological Males Into Women’s Prisons

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • The state senator behind California’s law allowing biological males in women’s prisons defended the law Wednesday and criticized feminists who oppose it, saying, “I’m really proud of that law.”
  • “It’s a really positive step forward,” Democratic California state Sen. Scott Weiner said during a town hall. “In California we are moving the opposite direction, embracing our trans siblings, making it clear that trans people are fully part of this community, and that we love and honor them, and that we are gonna lift them up.”
  • As of July 26, 295 inmates who were formerly housed in a male institution have requested to be housed in a female institution, the CDCR told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The state senator behind California’s law allowing biological males in women’s prisons defended the law Wednesday and criticized feminists who oppose it, saying, “I’m really proud of that law.”

“It’s a really positive step forward,” Democratic California state Sen. Scott Weiner said of SB 132 during a Wednesday town hall where he criticized legislation banning transgender surgeries for children. “In California we are moving the opposite direction, embracing our trans siblings, making it clear that trans people are fully part of this community, and that we love and honor them, and that we are gonna lift them up.”

“I’m really proud of this law,” he said, describing it as a “really well-designed law.” He did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (RELATED: California Legislature Softens Sex Offender Registry Requirements For Sodomy With Minors)

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Weiner, a gay politician who represents San Francisco, first introduced SB 132 in January 2019.

“Incarcerated transgender people deserve to be housed in facilities consistent with their gender identity,” Weiner said at the time. “When we house trans people based on their birth-assigned gender, we place them at high risk of sexual assault and violence. SB 132 will help ensure transgender individuals are treated with dignity and have their gender identity respected.”

The law, which was signed by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2020 and went into effect on Jan. 1, requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to ask prison inmates entering the department’s custody to specify their pronouns, their gender identity, and whether they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex.

SB 132 prevents CDCR from disciplining an individual who refuses to give gender information, allows for the information to be updated later on, and requires staff to use the gender pronouns that the individual requested.

The law also requires that CDCR house the individual in a “correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference.” Similar legislation has been passed in Connecticut and Massachusetts. (RELATED: California Women’s Prison Housing Trans Prisoners Halts Condom Distribution Without Explanation, Memo Shows)

As of July 26, 295 inmates who were formerly housed in a male institution had requested to be housed in a female institution, the CDCR told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The California state senator referenced the term “TERF” to describe feminists who oppose his law — a term used to describe feminists such as “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.

“Unfortunately there’s been a right-wing backlash against this law and we have right-wing publications that are publishing a lot of just inaccurate information, frankly fake news, about this law and trying to demonize and scapegoat trans people,” Weiner said, “including, unfortunately, there’s a term called ‘TERF,’ trans-exclusive radical feminist people who believe that trans women are not actually women and advocate in that way.”

Weiner called feminist criticisms of his bill “anti-transgender attacks” and “very unfortunate.”

“These are the same arguments we heard in North Carolina restroom law, that trans women are just trying to scam their way into a women’s restroom to victimize cisgender women,” he said.

Feminist organizations opposed to the law pushed back at Weiner’s comments Thursday, accusing him of forgetting about the biological females incarcerated in California’s prisons.

“The terror, abuse, and cruelty incarcerated women are experiencing because of Scott Wiener’s bill is not ‘fake news,'” said Woman II Woman founder Amie Ichikawa, who was formerly incarcerated in Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California.

“I speak to these women every single day,” she continued. “They are devastated. They don’t understand how their elected officials, especially those who claim to care about justice reform and protecting women of color, could turn a blind eye to what is happening here.””

Women’s Liberation Front legal director Lauren Adams said that Weiner’s “complete disregard for the most vulnerable women in society” is “appalling,” particularly  “from a so-called ‘progressive’ politician.”

“There is a scared pregnant woman locked in a cage right now because Scott Wiener championed a men’s rights bill that allows rapists to self-identify into women’s prisons,” Adams said. “Where is the concern for her rights or safety?”

The DCNF has not independently confirmed cases of pregnancy due to transgender prisoners housed in female prisons, and CDCR Deputy Press Secretary Terry Thornton outright denied such reports, calling them “inaccurate.” The deputy press secretary said that there are pregnant inmates in CIW, but those inmates were reportedly pregnant before they arrived at the prison.

Since SB 132 went into effect in January, seven biological males have been housed in CIW and 14 biological males have been housed in Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California, CDCR data shows.

CDCR data also shows that there have been zero incidents of inmate assault on another prisoner since January 2021 and six incidents of inmate battery on a prisoner. Thornton told the DCNF that CDCR does not report whether individuals involved in the assaults were transgender.

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