Fancy Lipsey, 33, is an incarcerated trans woman at the Central California Women’s Facility, where she slit her wrists after being ordered to solitary confinement when falsely accused of non-consensual touching; prison cameras showed she was not in the vicinity of her accuser. Lipsey last year reached a settlement with CDCR in a lawsuit alleging officers at Mule Creek State Prison ignored her repeated pleas for safety before she was brutally assaulted by a cellmate there. She is also among four trans women at CCWF who have filed lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by staff. She has been in prison since she was 20. She arrived at CCWF in early February 2021.
I was expecting to be able to come somewhere where I would not only be accepted but I would
be treated as the woman that I am. I have not been treated as a woman and I have not really
been accepted by the administration, or by a handful of inmates here. I’m not saying that I’ve
had nothing but problems with the inmates here. A lot of them accept having me here. But
there is a handful of them that are basically pushing against SB 132. I don’t know if it’s because
they’re ignorant about how it’s supposed to be helpful to the transgender community, and not
only to the transgender community for to the inmate population, period. SB 132 was not just
created for the trans community. It was for all of us as inmates. It provides safety to everyone.
I just had an experience earlier today where I was using the restroom. And some woman for
whatever reason, I guess she just didn’t feel comfortable with me being in the bathroom, and
she went and said some crazy shit to the officer and started this whole mini-investigation. I was
just sitting here like, see, this is the reason why I don’t even like going to the bathroom in the
first place when there’s people in there. The officer wouldn’t explicitly tell me what she said but
he made it sound like I was doing something of a sexual nature in there by myself, and I’m like
are you kidding me? That doesn’t make any sense at all. She was looking in the bathroom stall
at me? He agreed. It didn’t go any further than that. But to have to go through a situation like
that only because of who I am, I’m so tired of it.
It started when I got here. They threw me in AdSeg [administrative segregation, a form of
solitary confinement] because a trans man basically lied and said that I hit him in the room.
They left me locked up for almost two months for that, and then I ended up being found not guilty.
Everyone in the room said the reason why he said that is because he wanted to try to file a lawsuit. After that I was put on Bravo yard and there was someone who was infatuated with me. I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. I asked that they keep her away from me. Well, she kept sending threat after threat after threat saying, I’m gonna have you locked up, b–, you’re gonna be with me. Next thing I know I’m being locked in AdSeg for conspiring to impregnate the female population. This was based on confidential statements that weren’t corroborated by any evidence.
This is when all of the lies started to come in – story after story after story after story. Lies that were used by CCWF to keep us locked up in Administrative Segregation and try and have Sacramento view us as an alleged threat to the safety and security of the institution, so they’d have no other choice but to send us back to where we came from. They kept me in AdSeg for nearly 10 months while pushing to send me back to men’s prison. Then I was finally able to be seen by the DRB (Director’s Review Board), and the person leading the review, she basically said that she doesn’t see a need to me to be sent back to men’s prison, and for CCWF to clear all of this up and send me back to the yard. By then it was April 2022.
They did write me up and find me guilty of two RVRs when I was in AdSeg. For “behavior which encourages illegal sexual acts,” and that can be hugging, kissing. The DRB found that if anything I had consensual relationships, and that’s no different from what most of the cisgender women do here.
It was a relief to get out but at the same time, it was scary to know that these people had this
type of authority. They had the power to just hold me in AdSeg for all of that time and out of
nowhere you can just say you know what, we’re going to let you go back out there, without
these people being held accountable for ruining your opportunities to be able to be accepted
into this institution as the woman that you are, to be able to program faithfully and responsibly,
to be able to basically live a safer life while incarcerated. I kept asking, ‘what’s gonna happen to
the people that said all of this stuff?” and they were like, ‘You can file a 602.” That’s it? They’re
not going to be held accountable for lying against me? I even tried to present all types of factual
documents basically showing that it’s impossible for me to get somebody pregnant because I’ve
been on my hormone therapy for over 12 years now. And they even took that paperwork and
tried to switch it around by saying there’s no way for them to be able to be sure if that’s
accurate or now because I’m given my medication in a form they call KOP, which means ‘keep
on person.’ But I wasn’t receiving my medication that way, I was receiving an injection one time
a week. My classification committee chrono said I have a history of being a ‘predator.’
Right after I got back to general population, someone called PREA on me, which is something
that these women love to do here. There was a woman who went over to the officers and told
them that I touched her vagina and her breasts in the dayroom, and they looked on the camera
and reviewed the camera and saw that I was nowhere near this woman at any time during the
time she said that it happened. I had no contact with this woman, period. And they still ordered
me locked me up in AdSeg. So I flipped out, and I slit my wrists, and ended up in a crisis bed.
They ended up releasing me from the crisis bed back to the yard because they said that it was
unsubstantiated. And my clinicians pushed for that. But administration knew that I was
nowhere near this woman but were still so quick to order me locked me up in Administrative
Segregation, even though you knew this was a lie. The acting lieutenant that day told me
himself, I know that it’s false, I know that it doesn’t make any sense, but they still want me to
lock you up. And I said, well who is ‘they?’ And he said ‘the higher ups,’ and the only higher up
at that time was Warden Pallares. He was the one that was instructing these officers to lock us
up for any wrongdoing, period. Lock them away and let’s try to send them back.
In fact, I have a pending legal action against so-called Warden Pallares for actually being a
predator his damn self.
They did my committee hearing when I was at CIW. The (now-retired) warden down there, I
inquired with her, why can’t I stay here? Because they have two-person cells there. She told
me, literally, word for word, “I don’t want you in my institution.” She never referred to me as
she or her, she kept calling me “an SB 132 inmate.” There was obvious flat-out bias during that
whole committee. They were already against me. That’s how I continue to feel to this day with
these officers, with the administration at CCWF. SB 132 was created to provide not only
protection from the inmate population but from the bias of the officers, because we were
supposed to be brought into an environment that best fits our gender identity. This has nothing
to do with sexual orientation.
Then, in the summer of 2022 I got jumped by five people, so they put me back in AdSeg even
after I signed the chrono saying I didn’t have any enemies or safety concerns. Warden Pallares
still held me in Administrative Segregation.
I don’t think there’s much that they can do now, because the minds of these women here have
already been tainted by the rumors that were being spread by the administration before we
even arrived here. Do you know how many times I’ve heard from a cisgender woman’s mouth
that the staff were telling them that we were coming here to rape them, we were coming here
to take over, we were all prison gang members, and we were coming to manipulate and only to
have sex, to basically bring some type of harm towards these women. I’ve heard that so many
times since I’ve been here. And after dealing with me, the women, they literally tell me, ‘Fancy,
you are nothing like these people tried to say that you were.’ I don’t know that there’s anything
they can do now to change the mind frame of the cisgender women here other than continuing
to give us the opportunity to prove them wrong. That’s the only thing they can do, and just
leave us alone. Why are they so focused on the transgender population? Someone who is
supposed to basically be a professional, they’re supposed to be someone who’s recognized as
being honorable and reliable. But they’re the main ones that are spreading misinformation.
They’re constantly trying to just harass us and lock us away for long periods of time in a cell by
ourselves. They’re trying to torture us.
I’m dealing with a situation right now where one of my friends, we had a separation chrono
thrown on us because when we were in AdSeg we asked to live next door to one another.
An officer who wasn’t even working in AdSeg at the time called my clinician and asked her if I had spoken with her and mentioned that I would feel more comfortable having someone living next door to me and had I asked to have that person live next door to me, and she told him yes. So not only did he violate my [medical and mental health privacy rights] he went outside of his duties as an officer because he doesn’t work in AdSeg so why is he so concerned about me asking who I want to live next door to. He went out of his way to place a chrono on me and that woman, with no evidence showing that we’d had any type of interaction in the past. There’s no documentation that we’ve ever been written up for kissing or hugging, nothing. He just based it off his personal opinion that because we asked to live next door to one another in Administrative Segregation we were in a romantic relationship.
That chrono means that now, I can’t attend certain programs based on the fact that she’s
enrolled in these programs already. So now they’re limiting my ability to not only be able to live
on another yard if I ever have to go to another yard, but they’re limiting my access to certain
programs that are required by the board (Board of Parole Hearings) that I have in order to
obtain a parole date, only because he felt I was in a romantic relationship. They also tried to use
her as a reason why I couldn’t go to CIW.
Note: These interviews took place before then-Acting Warden Pallares was demoted in January.
2023. He is now an associate warden at Pleasant Valley State Prison. In July 2023, Lipsey was
returned to AdSeg and lost access to phone and tablet privileges. She remains in isolation.