Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-10-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



The transgender community and the police
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Dru Levasseur

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Q: I'm a transgender woman and sometimes when I'm out with friends. A police officer stops to harass me on the sidewalk, assuming I'm a prostitute. What should I do?

A: Your first step should be to get as much information as possible about the officer involved: badge number, precinct number, name, description, time of day and location. Police are required to provide their badge number and names—although make sure that you are not putting yourself in danger by collecting the information. If you are questioned by the police, ask if you are free to go. If they say you are, calmly walk away.

If you are harassed by police, it's a good idea to contact a community-based organization that works on issues of police and institutional violence such as the New York City-based Anti-Violence Project (AVP) ( or 212-714-1141) or another group under the umbrella of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) ( or 212-714-1184 or ). These groups can advise you on where to turn not just for legal advice but for support of other kinds.

Also contact your local police department's Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) or Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB). Reporting the incident is very important for building an accurate measure of the problem overall.

Police harassment and outright brutality against transgender people are very common: Twenty-two percent of 6,450 transgender and gender-nonconforming respondents in the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) who had interacted with police reported being harassed by them. (The rate was much higher for transgender people of color.) And almost one out of two respondents said they were uncomfortable about seeking help from police.

There is litigation pending in response to incidents in several cities of police strip-searching, groping, conducting false arrests and chaining transgender people on handrails in "fish tank" fashion rather than placing them in cells. Meanwhile, advocates have been working with police to implement guidelines requiring respectful treatment of transgender people on patrol and in custody. The results have been significant policy improvements in San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.

In April 2012, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a new policy on treatment of transgender prisoners intended to "prevent discrimination and conflict." Among the guidelines is this instruction: "Treat transgender persons in a manner that reveals respect for the individual's gender identity and gender expression, which includes addressing them by their preferred name and using gender pronouns appropriate to the individual's gender self-identity and expression."

For more information download our tool kit, "Fighting Anti-trans Violence" at

For information on Lambda Legal's work with transgender rights, see

If you feel you have been discriminated against based on your sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status please contact our Legal Help Desk at

Dru Levasseur is a transgender-rights attorney for Lambda Legal.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Historic Cook County Lawsuit Challenges Jailing Those Too Poor to Pay Bond 2016-10-24 - CHICAGO, IL.— In the first class-action lawsuit of its kind filed in Cook County, community members unlawfully detained in Cook County Jail are ...

Gay News

Disarm event takes first, unified steps in ending gun violence 2016-10-23 - It was a haunting rendition of Andra Day's "Rise Up" performed by Victor Valencia which set the tone for the LGBTQ Town Hall ...

Gay News

Uptown residents stage counter-demonstration to Westboro anti-trans protest 2016-10-21 - About 50 Uptown residents and other community members staged a counter-protest the morning of Oct. 21 when members of Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist ...

Gay News

Relationships & the Law Today 2016-10-19 - The Illinois Supreme Court recently held in Blumenthal v. Brewer, 2016 IL 118781, that couples who are not married to each other have ...

Gay News

Protestors march in Uptown for tent-city residents 2016-10-19 - On the crisp fall morning of Oct. 13, about 50 marchers gathered at the People's Church on Lawrence Ave. to take part in ...

Gay News

'Fostering Our Teens' event Oct. 22 2016-10-19 - The Call to Action: Foster our Youth! Coalition in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Pride Action Tank, Windy ...

Gay News

Gloria Steinem gives address at luncheon on reproductive freedom 2016-10-19 - According to activist Gloria Steinem, the right to reproductive freedom "is at least as basic a freedom of speech or freedom of assembly, ...

Gay News

National:, Spirit Day app, LGBTs and gun violence 2016-10-18 - NASTAD ( National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors ) announced the launch of a new online training platform,, to help ...

Gay News

2015 Report on Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ, HIV-Affected Communities released 2016-10-18 - NATIONAL—Today the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) released its report Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence ...

Gay News

HRC's Municipal Equality Index details state of LGBTQ equality in 9 Illinois cities 2016-10-17 - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, released its fifth annual Municipal ...


Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by