A new report has shown the shocking extent of police abuse of trans people in the US, with over half reporting they have been mistreated by law enforcement agents.
The National Centre for Transgender Equality (NCTE) report Failing to Protect and Serve revealed that 58 per cent of trans people who have had contact with law enforcement in the last year were harassed or abused.
The report says American policing is “in grave need of reform”, particularly in relation to interacting with trans and gender diverse people.
The NCTE also analysed the country’s 25 largest police departments’ policies on areas including gender, sexual orientation, respectful communication, sexual misconduct, bathroom access, and training.
Only nine of 25 departments included gender identity or expression in their anti-discrimination policies, and only one department addressed non-binary gender.
Ten of the 16 police departments with holding facilities had no policy on placement for trans people in male, female, or other areas.
Only two of the 25 departments had policies prohibiting officers from restricting bathroom access by trans people.
No department had an explicit policy against using condoms as evidence of sex work–related offences—a practice that endangers people by engendering fear of carrying condoms, whether for sex work or otherwise.
NCTE executive director Mara Keisling said trans people of colour were disproportionately affected by discrimination and mistreatment.
“On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, transgender people of colour remain targets of harassment, abuse, and violence,” said Keisling.
“If we ever hope to end this crisis, police departments must evolve to meet the needs of the communities they have sworn to serve.
“The solutions we offer can lead these communities and our nation’s law enforcement to a more equitable future, but we must get there together.”
The report includes model policies that it recommends for police departments in each of the 17 areas of practice.