My Community Relations class requires an outline on the dynamics between multicultural communities and law enforcement. A long list of options was provided and my choice of research is in the format below.
Outline for AJ 103
- Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Issues in Policing
- This outline will discuss the positive and negative relations between: transgender civilians with police departments and transgender law enforcement employees with management. Lastly, it will conclude with my opinion on this topic along with some personal experiences.
- Firstly, law enforcement officers in the past have not properly handled hate-crimes toward transgender civilians and are implementing laws to improve their procedures. Secondly, law enforcement employs people of transgender into a wide variety of positions. The challenges surrounding their employment need proper management and TCOPS is an organization supporting transgender to ensure a positive future.
- An article on the FBI’s website, Law Enforcement and Transgender Communities, discusses law enforcement’s lack of appropriate treatment on cases with people of transgender. An example case was about Brandon, a transman (female transitioned to male) being assaulted and raped by acquaintances. Brandon reported the incident to local law enforcement and told them he was afraid the perpetrators would come after him again. The sheriff was crude and dehumanizing during Brandon’s report, didn’t provide him protection and the perpetrators went unpunished. In 1993 Brandon and two other people were murdered in his home by the same perpetrators. With the help of research, training, and community support, law enforcement procedures have improved regarding victims of sexual assault and people of transgender. A few written improvements are: U.S courts of appeals consider transgender discrimination to be “sex discrimination”. Directive 152 is implemented by the Philadelphia Police Department and requires their officers to use appropriate language, such as preferred pronouns, when talking with transgender individuals. This directive also allows transgender arrestees to be referred to by their preferred name and gender. Another improvement started in 2007, when Washington, D.C Metropolitan Police Department implemented the General Order PCA 501-02. This policy has extensive definitions and procedures, but one example is the requirement of transgender juvenile offenders to be granted medical attention, and allowed their hormone therapy.
- When a transgender law enforcement employee is transitioning, it becomes a challenge for management. Thorough education and training is important to effectively equip them with the right skill-sets. Navigating work issues may encompass presumable contentious issues: name change on credentials and documents, addressing grooming standards and their presentation at work. Also, safe boundaries need clarified regarding restroom and locker room access. A peer support network identified as TCOPS (Transgender Community of Police and Sheriffs), consists of a variety of transgender law enforcement employees such as officers, detectives, forensic scientists, crime scene technicians, military etc. TCOPS’ plan is to integrate their network into a non-profit organization to help advance transgender’s employee rights.
- In conclusion, my opinion originates from personal experience and extends from legitimate online resources. I think it is best to respect all individuals and segments of society while not discriminating them from equal rights and opportunities. Throughout the last 20 years our society has improved the treatment towards members of the LGBT community and decreased hindering their rights.
- While growing up in Utah, I had very little information about the LGBT community in the 80’s and early 90’s. Reasoning was partly due to time-period, culture, and my religion. I was part of the ‘hindering segment’ of society who needed to be educated and allow self-reflection. Since my senior year in high school I have been blessed with friends and co-workers who identify as gay or lesbian. My care for them motivates me to continue learning and lending my support through love. I have a trans-sister-in-law living in Seattle. She is in her 40’s and transitioning to female. My husband and I love and support her. We view her as a caring family member, a dedicated parent, a spiritual Hindu, and a person making positive contributions to society. When she came out as transgender to family, I was obsessed… or was it distressed? Either way, it motivated me to learn more about gender dysphoria. My research brought me closer to her and more certain to be an advocate. Many LGBT people experience negative hardships from different imposing factors that other segments of society aren’t faced with. It is easy to remain stagnant in helping their community when there is minimal personal connection. However, when LGBT people lack positive support, it may be the changing influence for them to act on suicide. As hard as life is, it is a gift and blessing; we need to do all we can to help individuals choose life. Currently Salt Lake City has a large LGBT community and improvements are implemented to support their rights.
- As time proceeds, I foresee law enforcement continuing to make improvements in serving LGBT communities and building positive relationships. An incident happened on November 17, 2016 in the San Diego LGBT community that revealed how some members still distrust law enforcement officers. A transgender cop named Christine Garcia, helped plan and escorted the Transgender Day of Remembrance march. When the march was over, Marcia was denied entrance to the remainder festivities because she was in uniform. The incident created a platform where the two cultures came together to clarify how law enforcement has improved. Nicole Murray-Ramirez, the City Commissioner and LGBT activist, issued an apology and said law enforcement officers are always welcome into the community.
Just for the heck of it, here are some pics from our northwest trip back in 2002