SACRAMENTO — “I am a woman.”
Meghan Fredrick’s declaration is unequivocal. But in the five years since she notified her bosses at California State Prison, Sacramento, often called New Folsom Prison, she say’s the discrimination, name calling and harassment haven’t stopped.
“I’ve filed complaints against sergeants for misgendering me, and lieutenants for misgendering me and captains for misgendering me,” said Fredrick, a transgender corrections officer at the prison.
She says none of the complaints went anywhere. After five years, she’s filed an anti-discrimination and hostile workplace lawsuit against the state prison system.
The CDCR doesn’t comment on active lawsuits, but it’s clear that Fredrick hopes to force their hand in addressing an issue that she feels strongly about.
“I’m not only trying to make the workplace better for other trans females, but for other groups of individuals who are in a minority,” Fredrick said.
The lawsuit is far from a fight over rude treatment.
“Now my life is in danger,” Fredrick said.
Inmates pick up on that fact that Fredrick isn’t respected, and that makes her a target at the maximum-security prison. She says her bosses kept death threats from reaching her several times.
“By inmates that can be extremely violent — so to not inform me of a death threat is the most irresponsible move a supervisor can make,” Fredrick said.
Fredrick claims that her isolation in her work unit has caused physical and mental distress.
But she refuses to quit her job.
She says she wants to be identified as a woman, not a transgender woman. But she also says someone has to be the first to take on what she believes is a department that won’t come to terms with definitions now written into law.
“I’m not going to bullied out of my career, I’m going to stand up and continue to work effectively and proudly with the badge on my chest. I’m not going to back down, I’m never going to back down from this department,” Fredrick said.