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The Philadelphia Police Department is implementing a new set of guidelines which instruct officers on how to interact with transgender people.  The nine pages of guidelines were developed by Deputy Commisioner Kevin Bethel, working in concert with members of the Philadelphia GLBT community.

The times have evolved, and not just within the Police Department..  You see it across the board in so many different areas.  We have to learn to adapt to the times.

--Lt. John Stanford, police spokesman

The directive includes the following:

  • Ask transgender individuals which pronouns - he/him, she/her - that they prefer the officers to use.
  • Never use demeaning or derogatory language, or stop and question an individual just to call attention to the person's gender identity.
  • Use a person's preferred gender identity - based on information the person or family provides, rather than what's listed on the individual's government-issued ID - when releasing information about a suspect, victim or witness to the media.
  • Transport and house transgender suspects separately from other inmates when possible.
The department supervisors will be deciding when the new policy will be rolled out and how to conduct officer training.
It's not something that will happen across the board overnight.

It's going to take time for folks to understand and learn all of the terminology,  We want to make sure that we're treating people fairly, and trying to build some better relationships.


 photo Kathy-Padilla-150x150_zps263a8971.jpg
My impression is that a lot of this is updating an older policy, but the media section is new and it looks good.

Not using someone's status as a pretext for questioning them is a nice policy . . . and the guidelines about the pronouns and the preferred names are a good move forward for the Police Department.

--Kathy Padilla, National Transgender Advocacy Coalition

Contrast this with the behavior of Israeli police officers in Tel Aviv.  In the early morning hours of January 4 a group masked men in their 20s assaulted an Israeli transgender woman outside of a southern Tel Aviv nightclub, using pepper spray and a stun gun.  The men then fled from the scene in two vehicles before being apprehended by police.

 photo TelAviv_zps8ce43e30.jpgEleven men were arrested as suspects in the crime.  The suspects claim that the "prank" was motivated by "boredom" rather than homophobia or transphobia.  At least nine of the suspects are members of Israel's Border Police.  They were wearing Purim masks.

The Times of Israel felt it necessary to describe the victim as a "transgender prostitute."  The general attitude of that article was "No harm, no foul."

This severe assault joins existing data as documented in the report of the Nir Katz Center for Violence, Discrimination, and Homophobia, which reveals that the transgender community is the main target of such violence.  The authorities must treat these assaults as severely as any other hate crime, while schools must incorporate content that educates to tolerance towards the LGBT community.

--statement by Israel's National Association of GLBT

The suspects, residents of Yavneh, have been remanded to home custody.  According to Yediot Aharnot Daily, police reports misgender the victim.  Iasraeli media have explained to the public that a transgender woman is "a man dressed as a woman."
I do not know what upset me more, that violent case occurred in my country or the way the media emphasized the identity of the victim.

The victim’s identity is very important as to emphasize that this was a transphobic hate crime.

--Niki Sever, Israeli transgender activist

Ha'aretz actually interviewed the victim.
I didn’t show that I was afraid of them, but in the end I ran away.  I wasn’t looking for trouble and didn’t want to be hurt by their shocker.  When I ran away they drove after me for a bit, and the driver of the second car sprayed me with tear gas from inside the car.  It burned my eyes and other parts of my body, but I wasn’t seriously hurt.  It was mostly humiliating.

--N., the victim

There will be a march this coming Saturday sponsored by the Nir Katz Center for Violence, Discrimination, and Homophobia Reports.  The march is labeled The Transgender Protest March -- Taking Back the Night.

 photo chettri_zps65642152.jpgAnd then there is this story out of India.  Delhi-based transgender activist Rudrani Chettri and two friends decided to visit the popular tourist destination of Shimla in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh for New Year's Eve.

Chettri, who is Managing Director of the the transgender  and MSM community organization Mitr Trust, was approached by a foot patrolman who tried to molest her.  When she objected and resisted, the officer beat her.  When her friends tried to intervene, he beat them as well.  None of the injuries are known to be serious.

When Chettri went to the local police station to have the incident investigated, the case was registered as a "general complaint" rather than a "First Incident Report."  

This FIR is necessary for it to start investigations, therefore NO, they are not investigating!

--Aditya Bondyopadhyay, director of Adhikaar, an LGBT Human Rights organization based in Delhi

Originally posted to TransAction on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Voices on the Square and LGBT Kos Community.

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