In a recent overdue order, on August 21, 2012, the Chicago Police Department put into place a new set of procedures that will treat transgender detainees with more respect and caution.
A huge component of the order is language. It mandates that officers use the detainees preferred name, that the CPD must use the detainees preferred pronoun, and that CPD stops using derogatory language against transpeople.
The second part of the order is specific changes to standard police procedures. CPD cannot search the detainees to find out the gender. The order also requires that police transport and jail trans people alone when possible. Transpeople will also continue to have access to hormones they are taking including the needles they were carrying to give themselves the hormones. The needles cannot be taken as evidence of a crime or to prove that the transgendered detainee committed a crime.
In a city that refuses to have another Chick-fil-a due to the company’s president’s anti-homosexual politics, it is about time police procedure matches the city’s anti-homophobia stance. However, Chicago must make sure that the city’s LGBT community has the power of oversight over the implementation of the new policy to make sure that the order is actually followed by the CPD. There should be an oversight committee that meets regularly with the CPD and voluntarily rides along with cops that patrol high transgender concentrated area to make sure that the order is more than just lip service to Chicago's LGBT community like DC's law was. There must also be special attention paid to members of the transgendered community that are also minorities since their chances of being targeted are doubled.
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