California prison manuals change with the sexual times
California prison officials are revising official procedures and even prison garb to get up to date with changing mental and medical treatment of inmates who identify with one sex and their bodies, another.
The state issued part of an updated operations manual this week that directs employees to stop using the prior official term, "effeminate homosexual." Those inmates are now to be called "transgendered," in keeping with current nomenclature used by the medical and mental health fields.
Services for transgender inmates also are being expanded, and a provision for clothing accommodations has been added. Transgender inmates, if they ask, can receive a state-issued bra or boxer shorts.
California already pays for hormone treatment for transgender inmates already taking the drugs when incarcerated.
The challenge of where and how to house transgender inmates has been an issue in California prisons. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 vetoed a bill that would have required corrections officials to consider an inmate's sexual identity when deciding where to put him.
A transgender inmate at the men's prison in Vacaville last year lost her lawsuit demanding that California pay for sex-change surgery for those who request it.
-- Paige St. John in Sacramento
Photo: Transgender inmate Thomas "Lisa" Strawn applies eyeliner. A UC Irvine study found that transgender inmates were 13 times more likely to face sexual assault than other inmates. Brian van der Brug/LA Times.