By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — Women’s Liberation Front has sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, its secretary and two wardens in an effort to overturn a law that allows biological men to be transferred to women’s prisons if they say they are transgender.
The lawsuit comes after the group this summer called on the state to reverse its policy to protect women, some of whom claimed to be assaulted.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Janine Chandler, Krystal Gonzales, Tomiekia Johnson, Nadia Romero, and the advocacy group Woman II Woman in U.S. District Court Eastern District of California Fresno Division.
WoLF is seeking a permanent injunction and for the court to declare unconstitutional the law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last fall.
Among other things, the Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act requires the state to transfer biological men who say they are transgender to be transferred to women’s prison facilities upon their request. Men requesting transfers are eligible for transfer regardless if they have had sex change surgery, take hormones or have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
According to the law, any man can claim the right to be housed with women by claiming, “I have a transgender (or nonbinary) (or intersex) identity,” the complaint states.
To date, approximately 23 men have transferred into women’s facilities since the law became effective, according to the complaint, including those who “have committed heinous violent and sexual crimes against women and children.”
WoLF alleges that transferring men and housing them with women violates female inmates’ rights protected by the First, Eighth and 14th Amendments.
“Women and girls deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion,” WoLF executive director Dr. Mahri Irvine said in a statement. “CDCR has unequivocally violated the basic human rights of incarcerated women by subjecting them to traumatizing, terrifying conditions. WoLF stands alongside these women. We will continue to fight for them until their safety and dignity are restored.”