Crime /

'Real You Act' in Mississippi Would Prohibit Inmates From Changing Their Name or Gender Identification

A bill titled the “Real You Act” passed in the Mississippi’s House of Representatives would prohibit inmates from legally changing their name or gender identification.

The bill is now moving to the state senate after an 84-30 vote along party lines.

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Hale, the text of the bill states that for the purposes of the act, “‘biological sex’ means the biological indication of male and female in the context of reproductive potential or capacity, such as sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, gonads, and nonambiguous internal and external genitalia present at birth, without regard to an individual’s psychological, chosen, or subjective experience of gender.”

The bill states that “no offender shall have standing to file a change of name or gender transition petition with the chancery court.”

There is an exception for name changes if a district attorney, sheriff of a county in which a person is incarcerated, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, or a Mississippi Department of Corrections Chaplain files the petition on their behalf.

The Hill reports that a prior draft of the bill also sought to ban minors from legally changing their gender marker on official documents, unless a licensed physician or psychiatrist in “good standing with the Medical Board of a Licensure” or a chancery clerk offered a letter of support.

The bill was amended to apply only to inmates just before it was passed in the House.

If the “Real You Act” passes in the Senate, it will take effect on July 1, 2022.

The issue of transgender inmates has been making headlines recently as a number of biological male sex offenders have been moved to women’s prisons.

Last month, a 26-year-old child molester was sentenced to a juvenile facility for girls because he “identifies as a female.”

Women’s Liberation Front filed a lawsuit in November over a California law that places transgender and non-binary inmates in women’s prisons. Two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that they were sexually assaulted by non-biological women in prison.

At the time of their lawsuit, 291 biological men that were incarcerated in male correctional institutions in California had requested to be transferred to a female prison.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Transgender Executive Council (TEC) recently recommended that 47-year-old Cristina Iglesias, who was born male, be allowed to receive sex reassignment surgery while imprisoned.

“Thus, assuming she does not engage in behavior that would prevent her from continued placement in a female facility and assuming further that no other reasons develop that would make gender confirmation surgery inappropriate, the TEC does expect plaintiff to be referred to a surgeon at the appropriate time,” the documents from TEC read.

If given the surgery, Iglesias would be the first person to receive it while in federal custody.

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