'No One's Listening' as Transgender Inmates End Up in Women's Prisons, Take Part in Shocking Assaults on Female Prisoners


After hundreds of male inmates who identify as female requested to be transferred to women’s prisons in California, many female inmates have become victims of assault at the hands of these transfers.

Lauren Adams, legal counsel for the Women’s Liberation Front, told Just the News that “no one is listening” to the female inmates who are afraid of men being transferred to their prisons by request after a new California law went into effect on the first of the year.

“One of the first assaults we heard of was a man who was victimized in the men’s prison,” Adams said.

“It’s documented, he sued the state over it, and has transferred, and within weeks had attacked his female cellmate. And then they took him away, put him in prison jail, right — administrative segregation — for a couple of weeks and then dumped him on a different yard,” she said.

Last fall, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that allows incarcerated “transgender, non-binary and intersex people” to choose if they want to be housed in a male or female prison, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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By April, there had been 261 requests for transfers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

All but six of the requests were for housing at a women’s facility. No requests were denied, and 21 were approved.

Just 1 percent of California’s prison population identifies as nonbinary, intersex or transgender, according to the Times.

Adams pointed to a University of California, Irvine study that found 20.5 percent of men identifying as women are registered sex offenders and 49.8 percent of them have committed crimes against another person.

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A 1994 study found that 80 percent of female inmates had been victims of abuse, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“All of the organizations who usually work on prisoners’ rights are not speaking out on this — they either want to stay neutral, or they’re in favor of the law,” Adams said.

Since the new law went into effect, numerous female inmates have been assaulted by transgender inmates, she said.

Adams described one incident in which an inmate who had sexually assaulted two boys was transferred to a women’s prison under the new law but stopped taking estrogen as soon as he was there.

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“He’s already been sexually active with multiple women” within the three weeks he has been in the women’s prison, Adams told Just the News.

Newsom and Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, the law’s author, did not respond to Just the News’ request for comment or Women’s Liberation Front’s social media posts.

“They don’t want to hear from the women in there, they’d rather just forget them,” Adams said.

CORRECTION, July 9, 2020: A previous version of this article erroneously stated hundreds of transfers of male inmates who identify as women to women’s prisons had been completed. Though 261 requests for transfers were made by April 5, only 21 requests were approved while the rest remained pending. We apologize to our readers for the error and for any confusion we may have caused.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith