Alderman Joe Moreno plans to introduce the Police Treatment of Transgender Individuals ordinance at the next Chicago City Council Meeting on March 14.
If approved, the measure would create the Police Transgender Issues Commission, a supervising committee developing training for handling transgender people. The commission would be composed of five Chicago Police officers and six transgender Chicagoans or people who work for LGBT organizations. They would also release an annual report detailing the police adherence to the new guidelines.
“We need our police officers to be trained to treat transgender people with dignity and respect,” Moreno said to ChicagoPhoenix.org.
Nearly half of transgender people feel uncomfortable seeking police assistance, and 60 percent of transgender women—particularly transgender women of color—reported harassment from police, according to a study completed by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Prisons, jails and law enforcement aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so as far as reducing harm goes, this ordinance could be somewhat effective. Incarcerated transgender people are often housed in facilities that reflect their legal sex, and they are more likely to be raped, brutalized and harassed. Otherwise, they are placed in solitary confinement where they are usually in a cell 23 hours per day and have little to no outside contact.
Check out the resources below for more information:
- Rights of transgender prisoners
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Transgender Law & Policy Institute resources
- Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois
- Transgender issues and the criminal justice system
- Queer, feminist and trans politics of prison abolition
- Tranzmission Prison Project