CALIFORNIA — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed new law Saturday that would require California to house transgender prisoners based on what gender they personally identify with. The request however, would be denied if any management of security issues were at stake.
The law also requires officers to address transgendered inmates based on the pronouns of their choice: he, she or they.
Traditionally, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation designates housing by their sex assigned at birth. But advocates have warned that this is dangerous, specifically for transgender women who are jailed among men.
The new law adds a preliminary step in the intake process and requires officers to ask all inmates, privately, to disclose if they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex.
Then, inmates may request to be housed among men or women. And these requests cannot be denied based on an incoming inmates' sexual anatomy, sexual orientation or a "factor present" among other prisoners at a facility.
The state can; however, deny any requests that are deemed as a management or security concern, to which officials must provide the inmate with a statement explaining the decision.
The inmate will then have a chance to respond and object.
This was one of four LGBTQ supportive laws Newsom signed on Saturday.
“California has some of the strongest pro LGBTQ+ laws in the nation and with the bills signed today, our march toward equality takes an additional step forward,” Newsom said in a Saturday statement.
Another law will track and trace how diseases affect the LGBTQ community.
A fifth related law, SB 1255, will attempt to end the practice of insurance companies that discriminate against HIV-positive individuals.
“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,” Newsom wrote.