Biden: In prison, your gender should be what you say it is, not what the prison says it is

A leftover from this past weekend via Red State. Watching the clip below, it made me laugh to think of blue-collar 70s-era Joe Biden time-traveling to 2019 and trying to digest the sort of woke shibboleths he’d occasionally have to mouth during a presidential primary to remain grudgingly, reluctantly acceptable to progressives.

I mean, even 2019 Biden can barely get his scripted lines out here. He all but gives up at the very end. 1975 Biden would be shouting unintelligibly about “malarkey! Malarkey, I tell ya!”

The position he ends up taking has good intentions behind it. Transgender women (i.e. men who present as women) end up being targeted for abuse, sexual and otherwise, much more frequently in men’s prisons than the average inmate is. Put a trans woman in with the male general population and bad things will happen. Last year the Trump administration set new rules, though, that instructed prison officials to “use biological sex as the initial determination for designation” when assigning trans inmates to a men’s or women’s prison, and although the inmate’s safety is also to be considered, the rule goes on to say that “The designation to a facility of the inmate’s identified gender would be appropriate only in rare cases.” That’s the policy Biden is pushing back against here. We need to protect trans inmates from rape, he’s saying.

But of course, there’s a problem too with the blanket rule he suggests about letting inmates decide whether they should be assigned to a men’s or women’s prison. A really, really obvious problem. In fact, the reason the Trump administration changed the rule in the first place is because four evangelical inmates at a women’s prison in Texas sued the federal government, claiming that having transgender women inmates in with them was dangerous.

Which is not a hypothetical. It can in fact be dangerous.

This was an LGBT event, though, so Biden knew what the identity-appropriate position to take was. In fact, his stance on where trans inmates should do their time was barely a footnote in the coverage afterward. Most of the buzz focused on him being the slightest bit rude to the moderator over her challenging questions, setting off a day or so of navel-gazing about sexism. The moderators should revisit this topic at the next presidential primary debate. See if anyone onstage is the least bit concerned about women inmates having to cope with transgender women who may identify as women but are still the size of men.