California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two new transgender bills, including one that allows biological males who identify as female to be placed in women's prisons, and another that establishes a fund using state revenue for gender-transition drugs and surgeries.
Newsom signed a law Saturday that requires the Golden state to let inmates who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or intersex be housed on the basis of "gender identity" instead of biological sex.
The phrase "gender identity" has been used in public policy to describe a transgender-identifying person's internal feelings about their sex but is not informed by chromosomes.
The California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation is not prohibited from denying an inmate's request to be placed in an opposite-sex facility solely because of anatomy, sexual orientation or "a factor present" among the other inmates at the facility.
Critics say female inmates are an already vulnerable population and the presence of males in their spaces, regardless of how they identify, is a violation of their privacy and safety.
"Allowing men to identify into being incarcerated with women, and this is unlikely to be used by women to get into men’s prisons, constitutes a depraved indifference to the safety and dignity of women held in custody by the State of California," said Natasha Chart, board chair of the Women's Liberation Front, in an email to The Christian Post Monday.
"This would count as a violation of women’s rights under the Geneva Conventions for prisoners of war, and is likely being used to divert attention from the state’s failure to prevent torture and other interpersonal violence in men’s prisons."
She added: "The state should do better to make men’s prisons safe for all men, not pass laws to allow some at-risk men to stay with the women in lower-security facilities. Critically, a man being targeted for violence by other men doesn’t make that man safe company for women. Consider that sex offenders are especially despised in men’s prisons, and would be highly motivated to take advantage of this law. But they’re the last men who ought to be allowed to do so, and there isn’t even a recognition of this context anywhere in the bill."
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Newsom also signed AB 2218, a measure that was tabled and then revived earlier this year. It establishes a Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund that provides grants to organizations that assist in housing needs and therapeutic programs, as well as facilitate medicalized gender treatments such as hormones and surgeries for both minors and adults.
When the bill was first introduced by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, residents pushed back and urged legislators not to support any bill that would sterilize minors. Santiago dismissed the concerns as "fear-mongering." Later, informed consent documents from the transgender center at LA Children's Hospital that were obtained through FOIA requests showed that the experimental hormone treatments do indeed irreversibly damage the fertility of young people.
While Newsom hailed the bills as steps "toward equality," the California Family Council, a group that actively opposed the transgender funding measure, decried the latest move.
"By rejecting the concerns of doctors and parents and siding with LGBT activists, Governor Newsom yet again ignoring the heartbreak his policies will unleash,” said Jonathan Keller, president of CFC, in a statement emailed to CP Monday.
“AB 2218 opens the door to drugs and surgeries causing irreversible damage, risking life-long sterility for young people. Sadly, the Governor failed in his God-given responsibility to protect the people he was elected to serve.”