California Transgender Inmates May Soon Be Given Bras, Mascara, Lip Gloss

Rule change prompted by complaints of murderer serving a life sentence

A Valley State Prison inmate hands out supplies to a fellow inmate during a cosmetology class
A Valley State Prison inmate hands out supplies to a fellow inmate during a cosmetology class / Getty Images
• March 31, 2017 4:58 am


Men's prisons in California may soon provide access to bras, mascara, and lip-gloss for inmates who identify as transgender.

Women's prisons would also be equipped with boxers and aftershave, according to rules introduced by the Department of Corrections. The rules stem from a lawsuit brought against the state by a murderer serving a life sentence, who was the first inmate in the state to receive taxpayer-funded sex change surgery.

"Transgender female inmates housed in men's facilities could have feminine undergarments, lip gloss and mascara, for instance, while transgender male inmates in women's prisons could wear aftershave and boxers," according to the Associated Press. 

Women in prison have relatively little access to makeup themselves, and there are accounts of female inmates getting creative by using Jolly Ranchers for hair gel, and M&M's for lip stain.

The new rules were introduced Tuesday and must go through a public hearing and comment period before they take effect.

The rules are in response to lawsuits filed by Shiloh Quine, born Rodney James Quine, who murdered Shahid Ali Baig, a young father of three, during a kidnapping and robbery in 1980. Quine was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Quine now goes by the name Shiloh Heavenly Quine, and was granted a sex-change operation in 2015, funded by state taxpayers, and moved to an all-women's prison earlier this year after having surgery.

Quine is now protesting that the prison has not provided a razor, prompting the state to decide to add toiletries and other cosmetics to transgender inmates.

"Quine said the resulting beard and mustache were making the transition to life as a woman more difficult, while she also was being denied her television and enough privacy to perform required intimate post-operative procedures," the Associated Press reported.

The news of the transgender prison rule changes occurred as legislation for transgender policies in nursing homes moved through committee in the California state senate.

The "LGBT Senior Long-Term Care Bill of Rights," introduced by Scott Wiener, a state senator from San Francisco, would force nursing home workers to use a residents' preferred pronoun and prohibit "transferring a resident within a facility or to another facility based on anti-LGBT attitudes of other residents."

Wiener said the Senate Human Services Committee passed the legislation by a 3-1 vote in the "face of right-wing attacks."

"Our LGBT seniors paved the way for all of us living today, fighting for our civil rights and against the AIDS epidemic that decimated our community," Wiener said. "Ensuring these seniors can age with dignity and respect is the least we can do to support them, especially as they face discrimination, unique health challenges, and often lack family support. Some of the attacks against this bill would be laughable, if they weren't so frighteningly indicative of how some in our society view the LGBT community. But to be clear—the more these hateful, ignorant, and absurd attacks come, the more resolved I am to fight to ensure our LGBT seniors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Wiener also cosponsored legislation that would add a third gender option on California drivers' licenses.