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Police Treatment of Trans People

 August 2016


A new training video aims to show police how to treat transgender people with respect.


The lights flash, and sirens blare, as a police officer signals for a driver to pull over. He steps out of his patrol vehicle and over to the car’s driver’s side, where he requests to see the driver’s license and registration.  It’s an everyday scenario for police officers nationwide, one that has led to fatalities, injuries, arrests and lawsuits. And in this example as portrayed in a new training video by the U.S. Department of Justice, the motorist is a transgender woman whose identification does not match her female presentation.

“Do you prefer I call you ma’am or sir?” the officer asks, after the woman explains her license contains her current legal information but that “it needs to be updated.”

This is one of three non-emergency and non-crisis situations presented in the DOJ video to train police officers to “effectively and politely interact with transgender individuals,” according to an official statement. The video focuses on three areas where DOJ says the most difficulties arise: assigned sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The purpose of the training, according to DOJ, is to emphasize the difference between a real threat and a common stereotype. When trans citizens feel disrespected, they’re less likely to cooperate with law enforcement, according to the department’s Community Relations Service, which is responsible for the video.

“Transgender Americans, like all Americans, deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect by law enforcement officers,” said Acting Director Paul Monteiro of CRS. “The information provided in this video will help strengthen the relationship between police and the transgender community, allowing for more effective investigations and safer encounters for officers and citizens alike.”


(From LGBTQ Nation)




New Training Video Shows Police How to Treat Trans People With Respect

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Municipal Police Institute: Police and the LGBT Community

DOJ Rolls Out Trans Sensitivity Training for Police


Know Your Rights: Legal Rights for LGBT Students

 LGBT students often cite incidents of discrimination...


- I’m called anti-LGBT names or threatened by other students.
My teacher or other adult at school says anti-LGBT things to me or about me.

- I told the school about the bullying, but they didn’t do anything to stop it.
- My school won’t let me hold hands with my girlfriend or boyfriend.

- My school threatened to cancel the prom if I went with my girlfriend or boyfriend.
- My school “outed” me to my parents or someone else without my permission.

- My school won’t let me wear my gay pride t-shirt or accessories that support LGBT rights.

- I’m a girl who wants to wear a tuxedo in my school yearbook, but my school won’ t let me.
- I’m a boy or transgender female who wants to wear a dress to prom.

- My school won’t let me talk about being gay or transgender at school.

- My school won’t let me publish a story about being gay in the school newspaper.
- My school blocks internet access to non-sexual LGBT websites.

- My school said I can’t start a GSA.

- My school has a GSA, but we’re not allowed to meet on school property.
- My school said we can’t call our club a "gay-straight alliance."

- My school is promoting therapy that claims to convert LGBT people into straight people.




What legal rights and protections do LGBT students have?  The Southern Poverty Law Center offers helpful legal information regarding LGBT student rights.  On the SPLC website, addressing LGBT student concerns in particular, there is detailed information regarding bullying and discrimination, proms and other school events, privacy and being outed, clothing and dress codes, censorship, LGBT clubs, and conversion therapy.




SPLC: LGBT Related Legal Rights for Students
GLSEN: States With Safe School Laws

LGBT Legal Protection

It is important to be informed about the laws and legal protection regarding LGBT people. Fortunately, there are lawyers and legal organizations ready to provide help. Legal groups like HRC, SPLC, ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the LGBT Bar Association provide advocacy, protection, and defense for LGBT people.


Laws affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people vary greatly state to state and by country or territory. These laws address everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex sexual activity or identity.


LGBT-related laws include, but are not limited to: government recognition of same-sex relationships, LGBT adoption, sexual orientation and military service, immigration equality, anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws regarding violence against LGBT people, sodomy laws, anti-lesbianism laws, and higher ages of consent for same-sex activity.


In 2011, the United Nations passed its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights, and followed up with a report documenting violations of the rights of LGBT people, including hate crime, criminalization of homosexuality, and discrimination.




Southern Poverty Law Center

Human Rights Campaign
National LGBT Bar Association
Lavender Law
Lambda Legal
Rainbow Law
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
American Civil Liberties Union: LGBT Rights
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Best US Law Firms for LGBT Diversity


LGBT Rights are Human Rights


LGBT advocates, allies and activists worldwide work to protect the basic dignity of LGBT people.  LGBT legal groups and other human rights organizations, like Amnesty International, believe that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to enjoy the full range of human rights, without exception.


However, every day, across the globe, sexual orientation or gender identity leads to abuse in the form of discrimination, violence, imprisonment, torture, or even execution. Persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity can take a variety of forms and these contravene the basic tenets of international human rights law.


LGBT rights in the United States have evolved over time and vary on a state-by-state basis. Sexual acts between persons of the same sex have been legal nationwide in the U.S. since 2003, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.


Family, marriage, and anti-discrimination laws vary by state. Six states plus Washington, D.C. currently offer marriage to same-sex couples. Maryland does not offer same-sex marriages but does recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Additionally, some states offer civil unions or other types of recognition which offer some of the legal benefits and protections of marriage.


Twenty-one states plus Washington, D.C. outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and fifteen states plus Washington, D.C. outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity are also punishable by federal law under the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.


Adoption policies in regards to gay and lesbian parents also vary greatly from state to state. Some allow adoption by same-sex couples, while others ban all "unmarried couples" from adoption.



Amnesty International: LGBT Rights
LGBT Rights by Country or Territory
Timeline: American Gay Rights Movement

Poliglot: The Year in LGBT Law
LGBT Rights in the United States
Map of Non-Discrimination Laws


LGBT Legal and Financial Resources


HRC Work Net
Lambda Legal Employment Notes
Lambda Legal: Be A Workplace Ally
Gay Realty Network
Houses & Mortgages for Gay & Lesbian Couples

Gay Financial Network
Pro Gay Jobs
GLBT Career Resources

Straight Jobs Gay Lives
Lambda Legal
LGBT Financial
Pink Finance
Lambda Business




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Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama