Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Transgender Woman Suing Police For Mistreatment

[Content note/trigger warning: Trans*bigotry, violence]

A transgender woman in the Chicago area is suing the town of Cicero and two police officers who she says harassed her because of her gender identity. From the Chicago Tribune:

"According to the suit, police verbally abused her, accusing her of being a prostitute because she is a transgender woman. They also refused to accept her state-issued ID, which identified her as a woman, the suit says.

'One of the defendant officers threatened to punch Ms. Feliciano, take her to jail and lock her up for fraud because her ID said she is female,' the lawsuit states. The officers 'repeatedly ridiculed and denied Ms. Feliciano's gender identity by stating that she was a man, referring to her with male pronouns and calling her by her former name.'

Advocates say Feliciano's case underscores the growing debate surrounding the treatment of transgender people by police. Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made strides in recent years with the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' military policy and the expansion of hate crimes laws to include attacks on gender identity, transgender individuals such as Feliciano continue to suffer discrimination and abuse at the hands of police, they say.

Anecdotally, these types of run-ins with the police are not single, isolated events. While Gay Inc tends to push for hate crimes laws under the assumption that the criminal justice system is "our" protector, some in the LGBT community view the criminal justice system as an intrusive purveyor of violence and harassment. As the woman filing the lawsuit states:

"The police are supposed to protect you, but there are a lot of transsexuals who are afraid to call the police."

I also think it bears mentioning that the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), which the Tribune cites as evidence of strides made by the LGBT community, did not change the US military's policy of prohibiting transgender people from serving. The military considers Gender Identity Disorder, a controversial diagnosis in itself, to be a disqualifying condition.

Gay Inc doesn't tend to mention that very much either.

No comments: