A federal appeals court ruled that strip searches of Muslim prisoners must be stopped by female prison guards who identify as transgender men.
The prisoner claims that being stripped-searched by a guard “whose natural sex is observably feminine” violated Sharia law and state regulations against cross-sex search. The U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit panel of three judges agreed with the prisoner and found that Green Bay Correctional Institution had violated his religious rights by failing to accommodate his religious beliefs. He is prohibited from exposing his naked body to women other than his wife.
The ruling stated that “there is no doubt that his objection against cross-sex strip searches is both religiously based and sincere.” “The prison has significantly burdened his religious exercise, requiring him either to submit to cross-sex strip searches in violation of his faith or to face discipline.”
According to the Washington Times, facility inmates are subject to strip searches when they enter or leave the prison. Other times may be required. A witness is required for strip searches. The female prison guard was present to witness the procedure in 2016 in compliance with the law.
U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper was an Obama appointee and initially dismissed the case. She argued that the prisoner’s sincere religious beliefs didn’t override the female guard’s right to identify as a male guard and be treated accordingly.
While I agree wholeheartedly with the new ruling, I can’t help but wonder if it can be granted for religious reasons and not other reasons. Male prison guards “identify themselves as women” should strip search female prisoners. Young girls should not be forced to use the same changing rooms as adult men who identify themselves as women.
This court should recognize that biological sex is superior to “gender identity” in Muslim prisoners in prison. The “right” of an individual to identify as the other gender does not override the rights of others. This ruling should lead to more decisions that restore sanity.