San Francisco will soon be jailing transgender prisoners according to their gender identity, not their biological sex, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Controversial San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi announced on Thursday that starting next month, inmates and staff members in the sheriff’s department will be educated and trained to transition transgender inmates into participating with other women in drug and alcohol abuse education programs and women’s empowerment groups.
“The high majority of municipal jails and prisons in this country make invisible, suppress or isolate inmates who are transgender,” Mirkarimi said in a statement, according to the Chronicle. He said his decision to focus on transitioning female transgender inmates is a priority is due to the fact that there are generally fewer transgender men in the prison system by comparison.
Mirkarimi reportedly hopes to integrate all transgender inmates into the general jail population by year’s end.
The Chronicle notes that union president Eugene Cerbone expressed concern over Mirakarimi’s move, suggesting he does not have the safety of transgender inmates at heart and is merely implementing the change to advance his own political will:
Do you think male inmates are really going to care if a female believes she’s a male but has female parts? It’s a big safety issue. Is that not a liability for the city and the taxpayer, when something happens? There are so many questions that have to be answered, and he’s not answering them, which lets me believe once again that this is all for politics.