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Massachusetts

Boston police adopts guidelines on how officers should treat transgender people

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BOSTON — Boston police have issued new guidelines on how officers should treat transgender people, a policy that one department official says is to ensure that everyone is treated with “respect and dignity.”

The policy unveiled Tuesday by Commissioner Ed Davis requires police to address transgender people by their chosen names, whether it’s their legally recognized name or not, and to use appropriate pronouns as chosen by the person.

The policy also gives transgender criminal suspects the right to request to be frisked by an officer whose gender is of their choosing, and the right to be transported alone and held in a cell alone whenever possible.

“Our main goal is that everyone should be treated equally, and everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, whether you’re at the front desk or on the other side of the front desk,” said Officer Javier Pagan, the department’s liaison to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communitie s.

The guidelines come five months after the department spent $20,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a transgender woman who was arrested for refusing to leave a women’s bathroom at a city homeless shelter in May 2010.

Brenda Wernikoff said she was forced to take off her top and officers refused to address her with feminine pronouns.

The rules are a “step in the right direction,” she said. “It shouldn’t have happened in the beginning and shouldn’t happen anymore.”

The rules have been in development for several years and are modeled after similar policies in other big-city departments, including Chicago and Washington, D.C., Pagan said.

“Situations like the one with Brenda do happen too often to our community,” said Jesse Begenyi, interim director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. “Hopefully, policies like this will prevent these incidents from happening as frequently.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. Treat a lady like a damn lady….
    What is the malfunction?

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:29pm
  2. if they have a dick their a man if not their a woman, Simple, lol

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:33pm
  3. No.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:42pm
  4. That… Is so incredibly incorrect.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:45pm
  5. That’s exactly the problem. The difference between a biologically determined sex, and the gender with which an individual identifies. If a biological “man” identifies as being a woman, then she should be respected and treated as a woman. And vice versa, and across the board, and every which way an individual sits on the gender spectrum.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:52pm
  6. how about like a human being? why the hell do they need directions for that?!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:25pm
  7. wow that is intresting… here in san francisco they treat you like a lady

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:27pm
  8. about time.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:36pm
  9. Kris, http://wiki.userpedia.net/images/2/2e/WRONG.jpg

    If you identify as a man you’re a man if you identify as a women you’re a woman. Simple, lol.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:04pm
  10. Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:06pm
  11. Treat them like a God Damned human.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:36pm
  12. Stupidity?

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:37pm
  13. I would hope they have some humanity in the Police Dept there, even without extra sensitivity training.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:06pm
  14. It seems to me that people of all genders and sexual orientations should be treated the same in the name of… you know… equality.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:47pm
  15. Cops aren’t exactly known for treating people like human beings. Especially trans*women

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 12:22am
  16. Becky what if the person is both genders? Do you call them an “IT”? Or a mixed gender? Because honestly being called an IT is just pathetically stupid.

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 1:03am
  17. Treat with basic human courtesy. Doesn’t seem so hard.

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 3:38am
  18. Thats the plan, confusion. Simple solution: look on the ID for the M or F indicator, and that will dictate how to treat the individual.

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 6:30am
  19. Chad, not all cops… ;-) As a lesbian AND a cop, I can assure you of that. But you find stupid people in all branches…

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 7:11am
  20. I agree with this. It’s everywhere. However, I don’t think ti matters WHO you are. to them a person is just a quota/ or a number.

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 9:22am