Transgender People Complain That Police Harass Them


Maria Lopez, a 20-year-old transgender woman from Queens, N.Y., charges that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, police have interpreted anti-loitering laws broadly and arrested transgender women as sex workers, reports Women’s eNews. Lopez says that such women are subjected to taunts about their sexuality and their transgender identity. Police threatened some with violence, or even death, she said. A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said the department treats all people equally.

Transgender advocates mark the anniversary of Rita Hester’s murder on Nov. 28, 1998 in San Francisco, seven weeks after college student Matthew Shepard’s hate-based murder in Wyoming. Hester’s murder has not been solved, like 92 percent of the 3,068 killings worldwide during the past 30 years based on fear, hatred, or bias against transgender people, as reported to Interpol. Only 1 in 6 police departments surveyed has official policies regarding interactions with transgender people, says Amnesty International. Only 1 in 3 has written policies regulating the detention of transgender people. “the perception is there that LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] people aren’t treated equally,” said Washington, D.C., Sgt. Brett Parson. He says one result of such a perception is that LGBT people often don’t report assaults and other crimes against them, whether police or civilians committed those infractions. About 75 U.S. cities have laws making physical or verbal violence against an actual or perceived member of a protected group–such as transgenders–a hate crime.


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