Homeless Youth Task Force
LAC has been
working with homeless, LGBT and at risk youth, and their allies, on
issues of police harassment. In the past, we have worked to ensure that
the police treat youth fairly, and that instances of abuse are handled
swiftly. We have developed a strong relationship with the Independent
Police Review Authority, although we have been frustrated by their
response, and we have trained on homeless and LGBT youth issues at the
started working on the treatment of transgender individuals by the
Being located in
Boystown, LAC member institutions include many transgender people and
allies. Transgender individuals working with LAC are often homeless or
tenuously housed, and very vulnerable to harassment and abuse. The
issue of police abuse was brought to LAC by a transgender female who had
experienced homelessness and has strong ties to the community.
transgender people are subject to unimaginable abuse. According to the
Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network, as many as 55% of
transgender youth report being physically attacked; another study
conducted by the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition on transgender people
concluded that as many as 48% of transgender people are victims of
physical or sexual assault.
further context, transgender people are eight-times more likely to be
denied employment nationally. Even in places like Illinois where legal
protections for transgender people are strong, discrimination against
transgender people has become a distressingly common occurrence. All
too often, transgender people must endure the bias of others who simply
do not understand the challenges inherent in being transgender.
the attitudes of society at large are at times projected by members of
the Chicago Police Department onto transgender people with whom they
interact. Numerous transgender people have described their experiences
to LAC and its member institutions over several years, experiences that
indicate extensive harassment and mistreatment of transgender people by
police officers, both in and out of police custody.
researched the policies of other city police departments that have
either already enacted or are in the process of developing guidelines
detailing how officers should interact with transgender people.
Washington, D.C. took an early lead in the development of a policy, but
the Washington, D.C. Police Department is hardly alone: King County
(Seattle) now has a policy in place and New York and Los Angeles both
have just adopted policies.
LAC members and
allies spent the summer and fall of 2010 drafting a policy based on the
best practices of other entities, with the goal of simplifying the job
of the police officer. It is our belief that many officers simply may
not know how to interact with transgender people, even after receiving
current training resources. The policy we drafted aims both to ensure
that transgender people are treated with dignity while being detained,
and to assist and protect officers in their efforts to maintain public
personnel shifts (including a new Mayor) and years of negotiations with
the CPD and the Mayor’s office, the CPD adopted a policy in August of
2012 on the treatment of transgender, gender non conforming and intersex
individuals. The policy can be found at:
http://directives.chicagopolice.org/directives/ and is general order
Adoption of this
general order is a big first step. The order is not perfect, and we
continue to monitor compliance and effectiveness.
you are interested in getting involved, contact Jennifer at (773) 549-1947
Last updated 11/1/12.