A little over a month ago, I blogged about the California prison system’s problem dealing with inmates who have male genitalia, but who have declared themselves female. The genesis of my post was the fact that one of these self-identified females, a man who had no surgery but took hormones, sued the California prison system, as well as many individual employees, charging that his rights were violated, subjecting him to rape and other prison violence. While expressing sympathy for people with truly mixed up sexuality, I questioned the wisdom of having taxpayer’s fund expensive hormone treatments and allowing prisoners to dress in feminine, rather than uniform fashion. I noted that prison is not a place for self-expression. In other words, I didn’t feel that any single prisoner’s confused self-image should impose such a heavy burden on the prison system. Surprisingly, a San Francisco jury agreed with me:
A San Francisco civil jury ruled Thursday in favor of six Folsom State Prison workers accused of failing to protect a transgender inmate from being raped by a cellmate.
The jury deadlocked on a seventh employee, a sergeant, causing a mistrial in his case.
Alexis Giraldo, 30, was born a man but takes hormones to feminize her appearance. Convicted of burglary in 2005, she ended up in Folsom, which like other state prisons does not have policies on housing transgender inmates.
Giraldo said she was raped on March 12, 2006, by her cellmate. Two days earlier, she told a clinical social worker that the cellmate was abusive and had become sexually demanding, according to the social worker’s notes.
Giraldo’s attorney, Greg Walston, called it a clear indication of rape, and said his client made several cries for help that were not answered. She sued seven guards, counselors and nurses for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
But Deputy Attorney General Jose Zelidon-Zepeda said there was no evidence of violence in Giraldo’s communications with guards, counselors and nurses.
He pointed out that Giraldo had also engaged in consensual sex with her cellmate, argued that many of her assertions were contradicted by evidence, and attacked her credibility, saying her lawsuit was driven by greed.
Seven jurors voted to hold the seventh employee, Sgt. Darrel Ayers, responsible for inflicting emotional distress on Giraldo. But in civil trials, nine votes are needed for the plaintiff to win damages. Walston – who said he is considering whether to retry the case – had argued that Ayers failed to act after being told of Giraldo’s complaints.
Giraldo had asked Judge Ellen Chaitin to order the prison system to come up with a policy to protect transgender inmates. But the judge dismissed the claim, saying Giraldo did not need relief because she was recently paroled. And, the judge said, Giraldo cannot speak for other inmates.
In a statement after the verdict, Zelidon-Zepeda said the defendants were gratified. He said the state Department of Corrections “would like to emphasize that it remains committed to ensuring the safety of every inmate within its custody.”
A state prisons spokesman said the system cannot, by law, segregate inmates based on their transgender status. However, he said most transgender inmates have been sent to prisons with medical units that can better accommodate their needs.
The prison system does not provide sex-change surgery during incarceration. It will not initiate hormone treatments, a spokesman said, but will continue them if a new inmate has already begun receiving them.
As it did with the Chronicle report about Giraldo, it irritates me that Giraldo, who is a man no matter the drugs he ingests, is referred to throughout the story using feminine pronouns. With regard to that sense of irritation, let me quote from pp. 31-32 in Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, where she discusss the assault on truth as a result the British judiciary’s almost insane commitment to an extremist view of human rights:
The Gender Recognition Act was passed to conform with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. This ruling laid down that a transsexual had the right to claim that his or her gender at brith was whatever he or she now deemed it to be, as agreed by a panel of experts.
The act accordingly gave transsexuals the right to a birth certificate that does not record the actual gender into which they were born, but states instead that they were born in the gender that they now choose to be. While the3 plight of transsexual identity obviously deserves sympathy, this means that their birth certificate — the most guarantee that we are who we say we are — will be a lie. It means that someone who was born a man, married as a man and fathered children as a man will have a birth certificate, if he so chooses, that says he was born a female.
Worse still, a wide variety of people will be prosecuted if they make known the truth. Suppose a fitness club advertises for a personal trainer and takes up a reference at another gym for an applicant named Barbara. If that gym’s owner employed this person as Barry, it will be a criminal offense for him to say so. So he may be forced to tell misleading half-truths about “Barbara’s” performance. If a woman becomes a man, “he” nevertheless remains the mother of his (her?) children. Similarly, a man remains the father of his children and is therefore still liable for child support — even though his birth certificate might say he was born a female. Such are the absurd and unjust contortions that result from a legislated lie — a lie brought into being as a direct result of judge-made human rights law.