The good news: In a meeting in West Hollywood last night, LAPD officials announced some new measures they'll be taking to avoid transgender maltreatment in the future. Including, most ridiculously...
... "not making the assumption a transgender person is involved in prostitution."
Well there's a start! Among the other accommodations they'll be making, going forward:
The changes are conveniently timed with an April 2012 report out of the Williams Institute, a branch of the UCLA law school that focuses on gay issues. (The only one of its kind in the country, FYI!)
Its disturbing conclusions are based on interviews with 220 transgender Latinas (male-to-female) over the age of 18 in Los Angeles County, conducted between December 2010 and June 2011.
Straight from the report:
So you can see where LAPD Chief Charlie Beck got the "acknowledgment of an individual's preferred gender identity" bit, among others.
The more concerning parts of the report deal with actual assault and sexual assault on the part of law enforcement. There are no particular details on these incidents -- the Latinas questioned likely didn't want to deal with the law/justice system any further than they already had -- but the report does show that they most often involved police, as opposed to sheriff's deputies or prison guards.This isn't to rail on the LAPD. At least they're vowing to try and fix the problem.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered L.A. County Sheriff's Department -- who patrols West Hollywood, L.A.'s premiere gayborhood -- is nowhere to be found. Ironically and embarrassingly, the LAPD highlighted the sheriff's absence by choosing WeHo as the venue for last night's outreach meeting.
Even San Francisco is impressed. A statement, today, from Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center in NorCal:
"This is a huge victory for transgender people who may interact with the police, and for transgender inmates. It sets a great precedent for police departments nationwide. We often receive calls from people who have experienced police harassment and experienced violence in prison, so we are thrilled that the LAPD is taking steps to remedy this tragic situation."