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Conservatives are outraged that Elizabeth Warren supports trans prisoners’ rights

Elizabeth Warren talks about transgender prisoners.
Elizabeth Warren Photo: Shutterstock

Conservative commenters are reacting with predictable outrage and ignorance after video surfaced of Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren saying at a Sunday campaign rally in Marshalltown, Iowa: “We have to stop putting trans women who are incarcerated into prisons with men where they are at risk. It is our responsibility.”

Warren’s statement reflects a larger reality: 10 out of 16 police departments with holding facilities examined by the National Center for Transgender Equality have no specific guidelines on whether to place trans individuals with other women, men, or separately.

Related: Elizabeth Warren is the top candidate among LGBTQ people according to new polling

As a result, many trans prisoners are either placed into solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for their own “safety” or placed with the general population where they’re 10 times more likely than straight cisgender prisoners to face sexual assault.

But the conservative right doesn’t think trans women really exist. They see trans women as “biological men identifying as women” for the sole purpose of terrorize women’s spaces and their bodies.  As such, they think that trans women only desire entry into women’s prisons so they can rape cisgender women.

Republican and Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) responded via Twitter, “I’m guessing the trans women population in prison would skyrocket under a Warren Presidency.”

His comment follows a similarly ignorant comment he made in February 2019 in which he said, “I don’t want the next national emergency to be that some Democrat president says we have to build transgender bathrooms in every elementary school in America.”

Similarly transphobic right-winger Donald Trump Jr., a man who thinks trans athletes want to abuse cis women and steal their sports trophies, re-tweeted video footage of Warren making the pro-trans statement and added, “No further comment necessary.”

Trump Jr. and Gaetz weren’t the only conservatives making a bogeyman out of Warren’s comment. One even accused Warren of making up a non-issue because she couldn’t criticize the economy.

Despite conservative claims, Warren is addressing a real issue that affects a vulnerable minority. She also knows that trans women and allies are among her base and this social justice issue matters to them as well.

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