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Transgender people in US routinely mistreated by police, report finds

Patrick Kelleher May 7, 2019
Transgender people in US routinely mistreated by police, report finds

Transgender people in the United States are routinely mistreated by police, according to a new report (Pexels)

A new report has examined the practices of 25 police forces in the United States and found that many routinely mistreat transgender people and have inadequate protections in place.

The report, which was released today (May 7) by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), looked at the various ways that forces in the US are currently failing to provide adequate protection to transgender people.

It also referenced data from 2015 which found that more than half of transgender people who had been in contact with police in the US had been mistreated. Similarly, more than half said they would be uncomfortable calling local authorities when they need help due to potential mistreatment.

The report recommended a variety of changes for forces to IMPLEMENT

The NCTE found through its work with 25 police forces across the US that no department requires staff to be trained in transgender issues, which leads to misinformation and misunderstanding.

They also found that no departments currently have a space on forms for “name currently used” which means that some trans people who have not legally changed their names may end up being identified by their dead names by police.

“If we ever hope to end this crisis, police departments must evolve to meet the needs of the communities they have sworn to serve.”

– Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality

Meanwhile, just two of 25 police departments explicitly prohibited sexual relations between officers and those in their custody.

16 of 25 currently assign staff to search people in custody based on the sex the person was assigned at birth or the genitals they have, which can mean that some trans people are searched by people of the opposite gender.

Tellingly, just nine of 25 departments include gender identity in their non-discrimination policies.

Transgender people in US routinely mistreated by police, report finds
Police forces don’t have adequate protections in place for transgender people (Pexels)

Police forces in the United States are in ‘clear need of reform and oversight’

The report recommends a number of changes that police forces across the US should make to better accommodate transgender people. However, it also said that police forces were in clear need of “reform and oversight.”

Mara Keisling, executive director of the NCTE, said that most anti-trans abuse continues to be directed at transgender people of colour in the United States.

“If we ever hope to end this crisis, police departments must evolve to meet the needs of the communities they have sworn to serve,” Keisling said.

“The solutions we offer can lead these communities and our nation’s law enforcement to a more equitable future, but we must get there together.”

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