The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for placing men who identify as “transgender,” nonbinary or intersex” into women’s correctional facilities.

SB 132, “The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act,” was signed into law in September 2020 and went into effect on January 1, 2021. The law requires CDCR to house prisoners in men’s or women’s correctional facilities “based on the individual’s preference.”

The CDCR may not even question a housing placement “based on any discriminatory reason,” including an inmate’s anatomy, genitalia, physical characteristics or “sexual orientation.”

The suit explains, “Hundreds of men have applied for transfers to women’s prisons, and dozens have already been transferred. These transfers have resulted in intimidation, sexual harassment, physical assaults, and sexual assaults committed by the men against female inmates.”

Men don’t even have to claim to be female to apply for a transfer to a women’s facility This means, according to the complaint, that a man “may instead be claiming an identity consisting of feeling entirely male one day and entirely female the next day (gender fluidity) or claiming to be neither male nor female (agender; nonbinary), or a feeling that one is 75% male and 25% female (nonbinary).

The lawsuit, Chandler v. CDCR, alleges that SB 132 violates women’s federal constitutional rights, including:

  1. The First Amendment right to free speech, free exercise of religion, to petition the government, and against the state establishment of a religion;
  2. The Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment; and
  3. The Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law (their emphasis). 

Similarly, WoLF alleges that SB 132 violates numerous California constitutional rights, such as the state’s guarantees of free speech, religious freedom, the right to privacy, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of five plaintiffs: Janine Chandler, Krystal Gonzalez, Tomiekia Johnson, Nadia Romero and Woman II Woman, a nonprofit “organized by formerly incarcerated women to advocate for incarcerated women.”

The lawsuit says Chandler is a survivor of domestic violence and an “observant Muslim whose right to privacy and right to exercise her religion are both violated when she is housed in facilities with men.”

Gonzalez was “sexually assaulted by a man transferred to her unit.” She “does not believe that women have penises,” the suit explains, adding that “the psychological distress caused by her assault is exacerbated by the prison’s refusal to acknowledge the sex of her perpetrator.”

Johnson, a former California Highway Patrol officer, “is in prison for killing her abusive husband,” a WoLF video says, adding, “One night when he was assaulting her, they both struggled to gain control of a gun. During the struggle, she accidentally shot and killed him.” In prison, she was housed with an abusive and violent biological male.

Romero “has a history of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse” and experienced “panic attacks, insomnia, and self-harm ideation” when forced to share a housing unit with men, the suit says. She “filed a grievance describing an incident where she was grabbed by a man in her unit” and “informed the prison of her heightened risk of rape and violence from male offenders.” The prison calls these men, “transgender females.”

The complaint says that sex-segregated prisons are necessary and are based on objective human reality, that humans are “sexually dimorphic, divided into males and females each with reproductive systems, hormones, and chromosomes that result in significant differences between men, and women.”

It says that transgender ideology, on the other hand, is “a faith-based belief system that is not grounded in objective, provable facts and contradicts objective, provable facts.”

WoLF describes itself as “a radical feminist nonprofit.” Despite this, it has been supported in its effort to overturn SB 132 by Christian organizations, including Concerned Women for America, Family Policy Alliance, and California Family Council (CFC), a Focus on the Family ally organization.

While WoLF and Christians differ on many issues, this is one where we agree: Women and men are different. WoLF says those significant differences, “place women in a physically, emotionally, and psychologically vulnerable position vis-à-vis men and result in women having medical and psychological needs exclusive to their status as female humans.”

California Family Council’s Director of Capitol Engagement Greg Burt writes,

Everything we warned legislators about SB 132 is coming true. Women inmates are being assaulted and sexually harassed. Women inmates are being traumatized over violations of their privacy. Fear and trepidation now occupy the minds of every California female inmate, because our legislators and governor care more about the desires of trans-identified males than they do the safety of vulnerable women. We fully support WOLF’s lawsuit against the state and we hope the court system rectifies this horrific injustice.

Related articles and resources

Chandler v. CDCR

California Family Council:

At Least One Female Inmate Pregnant Since Biological Men Invaded California’s Prisons

CA Senator Insists, “Trans-women are Women, Trans-men are Men”

Governor Newsom Puts Women Inmates in Danger by Letting Men into Female Prisons

The Daily Citizen:

California Legislation: Transgenderism, Abortion and Removing Mandatory Reporting for Some Cases of Statutory Rape

Female Prisoners Beg for Help in Light of California Law That Lets Men Who Identify as Women into Women-Only Prisons

In California, Hundreds of Men Transfer to Female Prisons