What’s Current: Murderer Dana Rivers sent to women’s prison

On June 15, Dana Rivers (ne David Chester Warfield) was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In 2016, Rivers murdered Patricia Wright and Charlotte Reed, a lesbian couple, as well as their son, Benny Diambu-Wright, then set their house on fire. Rivers has been placed in the Central California Women’s Facility.

California’s Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act (SB 132) came into effect on January 1 2021, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsome, allowing inmates to be housed based not on their sex but their self-declared gender identity. Keep Prisons Single Sex USA (KPSS) reports that a third of male inmates who have requested such transfers since the law passed were registered sex offenders.

Rivers, now 68, has been a known trans activist since the 90s, fired from his teaching job in 1999 for speaking about his “sex change” to his students. “This is about a tenured teacher who went way over the line by sharing private issues with students,” Scott Rodowick, school board president, said at the time. District administrators had instructed Rivers not to discuss his “transition” with students. In 1999, the LA Times reported that Rivers had “explain[ed] a life of inner turmoil and the transformation from man to woman” to students outside of class, also giving an interview with the school paper, “discussing the failed marriages, recovery from alcoholism, the therapy, the fear of rejection by students who might label the teacher a freak.” Parents called the discussions “unprofessional” and “outrageous.”

Rivers was also active in “Camp Trans,” a male-led harassment campaign against Michfest, an annual woman-only festival which ended in 2015 after ongoing accusations of “transphobia.” These trans activists has distributed flyers reading, “Real women have cocks,” as part of their campaign.

Camp Trans flyer

In 2000, Rivers had insisted he should be granted access on account of being a “womyn-born-womyn,” writing:

“In my heart I know this to be true. My mother and daughter and lesbian lover know that this is who I am. The Goddess in my prayers knows this. Surely, telling Lisa Vogel is no stretch for me.”

Patricia and Charlotte were regular attendees at Michfest as well as members of a women’s motorcycle club called The Deviants that Rivers was involved in as an enforcer. According to prosecutors, the motive “was a mix of personal animus and anger at Reed for leaving an all-women biker gang.” Evidence shows Rivers shot and stabbed Wright and Reed repeatedly in the bedroom of their East Oakland home. Judge Scott Patton, who oversaw the trial last where Rivers was convicted, said, “It was the most depraved crime that I’ve handled in the criminal justice field in 33 years.”

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.