Transgender Activists Want Albany To Alter Correctional Facilities

As New York’s statewide evangelical Christian advocacy organization, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF) analyzes and tracks proposed state legislation that could impact human life, families, and religious liberty.

In recent years, NYCF has been the leading New York voice speaking out against damaging laws and policies that are based on lies about sex and sexuality. Unfortunately, LGBT advocates and their many allies in the legislature have enjoyed many legislative successes in New York. Those successes include the passage of same-sex “marriage” legislation in 2011 and the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (which requires that “transgendered” behavior be accommodated in New York’s places of business and public restrooms) in 2019. However, advocates of homosexual behavior and gender confusion are far from content with their accomplishments; in fact, they have continued to pursue a range of legislative priorities. One of those priorities is Bill A.7001-B-Rozic, the proposed Gender Identity Respect, Dignity and Safety Act (GIRDSA).

GIRDSA would require New York’s state and local correctional facilities to tie themselves in knots to accommodate inmates who identify as “transgender.” Like many, many other left-wing proposals, the Gender Identity Respect, Dignity and Safety Act is misleadingly named; the bill displays blatant disrespect for the dignity of female correctional officers or for the safety of female inmates.

GIRDSA includes mandates concerning the names and pronouns to be used by correctional officers when addressing inmates, clothing worn by inmates, inmate searches, inmate medical care and mental health care, confidentiality, recordkeeping, inmate placement, notices to inmates, and employee training. While the legislation deals with issues affecting a small number of inmates, it is likely to create major headaches for corrections personnel and is equally likely to create more inmate safety problems than it solves.

GIRDSA would apply to any inmate in a state correctional facility who “has a gender identity that differs from their assigned sex at birth, who has a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, who has a variation in their sex characteristics, or who self-identifies as transgender,  gender  nonconforming, nonbinary, or intersex.” The bill provides no definitions for these ambiguous and confusing terms. The bill would require that inmates in these categories “be addressed by correctional officers and staff in a manner that most closely aligns with such person’s gender  identity,  including the name and pronouns specified by that person.” Whether the name specified by the inmate differs from the inmate’s legal name would be irrelevant. GIRDSA would also require that such inmates be granted “access to commissary  items,  clothing,  personal  property, programming  and educational materials that most closely align with such person’s gender identity.” This language could be understood to require various feminine items to be made available at men’s prisons.

GIRDSA would give “transgender” inmates “affirming medical and mental health care as related to gender dysphoria or gender affirmation,  which includes  access  to  items that are used by individuals to affirm their  gender identity, including those items  associated  with  necessary  and appropriate care after gender-affirming surgery.” This language could be construed to require the Department of Corrections to offer gender-related surgical procedures to inmates.

Most alarmingly, GIRDSA would require that “transgender” inmates be placed in opposite-sex prisons if they so choose. Such placements would occur regardless of whether such inmates have undergone so-called sex reassignment surgery; in other words, female inmates would be forced to share facilities with male inmates who identify as “transgender.”

On March 8, 2022, the Assembly Correction Committee voted 10-3 to approve GIRDSA and to refer it to the Assembly Codes Committee.