Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Saturday requiring California to house transgender inmates in prisons based on their gender identity, according to ABC News.
The only exception to this new law is with cases where the state has “management or security concerns.”
Men and women have been housed in separate facilities under the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Transgender inmates are often housed based on their sex assigned at birth.
The new law now requires officers top ask inmates privately during the intake process if they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex.
Depending on the answer to this question, those inmates can then request to be placed in a facility that houses either men or women.
Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener authored the bill and said, “It’s just a false narrative about transgender people and about transgender women in particular that they’re somehow not really women and are just trying to scam their way into women’s bathrooms or facilities in order to do bad things.”
“Overwhelmingly the people who are being victimized are trans people,” he added.
“It means a lot to me and my sisters,” said Michelle Calvin, who is a transgender woman incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison.
“I’ve been in for 15 years. I’ve been through the abuse, I’ve been through the disrespect of staff not addressing me for who I am because I am a woman,” Calvin added.
More from ABC News:
The law says the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation cannot deny those requests solely because of inmates’ anatomy, sexual orientation or “a factor present” among other inmates at the facility.
But the state can deny those requests if it has “management or security concerns.” If a request is denied, the state must give the inmate a written statement explaining the decision and give the inmate a “meaningful opportunity” to object…
Connecticut passed a similar law in 2018. Rhode Island, New York City and Massachusetts have also housed inmates based on their gender identity.
The law also requires officers to address transgender inmates based on the pronouns of their choice. And it requires officers to search inmates based on the search policy of their gender identity.
The law was one of several LGBT-related laws Newsom signed on Saturday. He signed another law authored by Wiener requiring local public health officers to better track how diseases are affecting the LGBT community. He signed a law authored by state Sen. Lena Gonzalez to ban life and disability insurance companies from denying coverage solely because someone is HIV positive.