A trans-identifying male reportedly gave a talk on “women’s empowerment” at a New Jersey women’s prison.
La’Nae Grant, a biological man who identifies as a woman, lectured female inmates on June 20 at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women about women’s empowerment and the importance of “inclusivity,” Reduxx reported.
Grant reportedly urged the women to accept that “transgender women are women” and said he thinks “cisgender women” may not immediately accept trans-identifying men due to “competition” for male sexual partners.
Kokila Hiatt, an inmate at the facility, described the event to Reduxx, saying many of the women who attended did not know the event would discuss gender identity.
“Many women behaved in a polite manner by sitting and listening. A lot of people just tuned out. No one was anticipating what this event was really about. It was billed as a Women’s Empowerment Event. His picture was on the sign-up sheet, but this person visibly ‘passes’ as a woman, so no one thought anything of it when they signed up to attend,” Hiatt told Reduxx.
“Attendance was not required in that people signed up to attend, but please remember, no one knew what it was they were really signing up for. They were duped into attending something for this transgender person,” Hiatt said.
Hiatt called the event “government-funded and facilitated.” Grant delivered his remarks in a gym at the prison, which means New Jersey’s Department of Corrections executive staff from Trenton would have to approve it, she said.
“Custody staff members here had to enable inmate movement and supervise attendance. Some members of this facility’s administrative staff was present,” Hiatt said.
Grant is currently the CEO of Lady L’s LGBTQIA+ Services, according to his LinkedIn. Before that, he worked for the city of East Orange, most recently as the director of the
The women’s prison, New Jersey’s only correctional facility for women, is located near Clinton, New Jersey. Last year, Governor Phil Murphy appointed Grant to the women’s prison’s Board of Trustees.
Murphy’s office called Grant “the first transgender woman” to serve on the board and said he is a “longtime activist for the rights of the transgender community, including transgender persons that are currently incarcerated.”
Grant “began transitioning into a woman” about a decade ago around age 28, he told New Jersey Advance Media in 2021. He took estrogen and has gotten genital surgery and “breast reconstructive surgery,” and before that, he identified as a gay man, he told the outlet.
In 2021, New Jersey prison officials agreed to start placing trans-identifying males in the women’s prison. However, that policy was tweaked to consider safety and other factors after a male inmate at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility impregnated two women while behind bars.
Demetrius “Demi” Minor, who was 27 at the time, impregnated two of female inmates, news of which broke last year. He was moved to a youth correctional facility.
In 2020, Grant commented on the governor signing a bill prohibiting the use of “gay or trans panic” defenses by people accused of homicide.
“We deserve to live with dignity and safety in our communities,” Grant said at the time. “Knowing that the ‘panic’ defense is banned in New Jersey is another victory and moment of empowerment for black trans women like myself, but there’s still more work to do for our community.”