Advocates say California isn’t defending a law allowing transgender prison transfers strongly enough, ask judge to intervene

Advocates of transgender rights say California prison officials are hostile to a recent state law that allows inmates to transfer to a prison facility that matches their gender identity, and can’t be counted on to defend it in court.

SB132 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, which took effect last year, was challenged in federal court in November by an anti-transgender group that said it would subject female inmates to harassment and violence by allowing men to pose as women. In response, Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office, representing the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in a legal filing that the courts have allowed prison officials to decide where inmates, including transgender inmates, should be housed.

On Monday, transgender female inmates represented by the Transgender Law Center, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union asked the judge to let them intervene in the case and provide a stronger defense of the law.

“It is a law that they not only refuse to fully implement, but regularly violate,” Dimitri Portnoi, a lawyer for the groups, said in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

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