Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) advocated for mixed-sex prisons as part of the “LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality” plan she released on Thursday, hours before the Human Rights Campaign’s town hall on CNN.
Warren detailed her proposal in a Medium post, painting a bleak picture of the state of LGBT rights under the Trump administration. She accused the Trump White House of weaponizing the “language of religion” and giving entities a “license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.”
While Warren’s proposal contains a swath of promises of protections for LGBT individuals, the presidential hopeful specifically vowed to mix federal prisons, allowing men to move into women’s prisons on the basis of “gender identity” rather than biological sex. She said she would instruct the Bureau of Prisons to house transgender inmates according to their identified sex, much like the Obama administration did in January 2017.
Warren’s plan states:
I will direct the Bureau of Prisons to end the Trump Administration’s dangerous policy of imprisoning transgender people in facilities based on their sex assigned at birth and ensure that all facilities meet the needs of transgender people, including by providing medically necessary care, like transition-related surgeries, while incarcerated.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a reversal of the Obama administration’s mixed-sex policy in 2018, determining that it would resume using “biological sex as the initial determination.”
As Breitbart News reported:
Critics said Obama’s transgender policy would have created huge risks of rape because few people who say they are transgender have undergone genital cosmetic surgery, and few can pass as members of the opposite sex. For example, Obama’s policy would allow male criminals into women’s prisons and pressure women-who-say-they-are-men to live in men’s prisons.
Sessions’ new policy marks another step in reasserting the normal biology-based legal distinctions between female and male. Those distinctions were being scrubbed from the law by Obama’s pro-transgender policies. Trump has already begun reversing Obama’s pro-transgender policies in K-12 schools, in health care, and the military which now says it classifies soldiers’ sex by using the “bright line based on biological sex.”
Warren previewed her position in the criminal justice reform plan unveiled in August, which specifically called for “special protections” for LGBT individuals behind bars.
This is hardly the first time Warren has courted the transgender community. She applauded a child who claimed to be transgender during CNN’s Equality Town Hall on Thursday evening.
“I want to make sure that the person I think is the right secretary of education meets you and hears your story, and then I want you to tell me if you think that’s the right person and then we’ll make the deal,” Warren said.
“I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care that they need, and that includes people who are transgender, who — it is the time for them to have gender-affirming surgery,” Warren said during the town hall.
“I just think that’s important and the appropriate medical care,” she added.
Warren, however, has not always felt that way. She said in 2012 that she did not find sexual reassignment surgery – for a transgender inmate, specifically – a “good use of taxpayer dollars.”
“I have to say, I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars,” she said at the time, only to reverse her position years later.