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Chicago Police Department Adopts Policy For Handling Transgender Detainees

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Sep 6, 2012 10:00PM

The Chicago Police Department adopted a new policy for handling transgender detainees that activists are calling "a huge step forward." The policy mandates police no longer search transgender people in an attempt to determine their gender. It also informs officers to respect preferred names and pronouns and to "not exhibit any bias, prejudice, or discriminate against a TIGN individual or group of TIGN individuals."

Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy signed the directive, and CPD will be trained. The full directive is available on the Chicago Police website and includes definitions for terms like "cross-dresser" and "intersex," as well as guiding principles and explanations of gender classification.

The Windy City Times writes:

Despite praise for the new order, [Jennifer Ritter, executive director of Lakeview Action Coalition] said sticking points remain. Chief among them, she said, is that the policy is overly-reliant on government-issued identification. Transgender people will be classified as male or female based on their IDs, unless an individual is "post operative" and has transitioned to another gender. If IDs are not available, detainees will be classified based on their genitalia.

Such classifications can be problematic for trans people, who often do not desire or cannot afford gender-related surgeries. That classification can mean that transgender women are jailed alongside men, where they are subjected to violence and harassment at higher rates.