Female inmates in a California prison are asking for help in a letter after the state passed a law allowing biological men to be housed in jails based on their perceived gender, Breitbart reported.

After the new legislation was imposed in California, women in prison are being forced to share cells with transgender men and see this situation as very dangerous for their physical integrity, alleging that there have already been cases in which they had sexual relations with transgender men. 

SB 132, which went into effect on Jan. 1, states that all “transgender, non-binary or intersex individuals” must be treated in a manner consistent with the gender identity of the incarcerated individual and housed in a designated male or female correctional facility based on the individual’s preference.

According to the new legislation, prison authorities must ask inmates during the intake process how they identify sexually in order to then define in which type of prison they should be housed, and may not deny them the possibility of sending them to a women’s prison if that is how they self-perceive.

Although the legislation approved by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom states that it is transgender inmates who face danger, critics are filing lawsuits to safeguard women who are exposed to potential sexual assault by biological men housed in women’s prisons.  

One of the lawsuits was filed in November by the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), which accuses the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation of endangering women by filing the case of an inmate who was allegedly raped by a biological male transferred to the Central California Women’s Center, according to The Daily Signal. 

In addition, the lawsuit states, some of the incarcerated women are having sex with biological men at the California Institution for Women and the Central California Women’s Center, “creating a risk of pregnancy and the health and emotional complications from becoming pregnant while incarcerated.”

Since the law went into effect Jan. 1, 288 people currently housed in male prisons have applied to be housed in female prisons, according to the official report from the aforementioned Department, which is responsible for evaluating the transfers. Of those, 41 applications have been approved, but only 25 people have been transferred. 

Terry Thornton, the Department of Corrections spokesman, said the agency is “being deliberate in its review of gender-based housing requests.”

As LA Times said in April, some inmates raised concerns that male inmates are making false claims about their gender identity in order to be transferred to women’s prisons.

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