The website Aljazeera America reports that the US Justice Department announced it will begin a training program for law enforcement officers to educate them on interacting with more sensitivity to victims of crime who are transgender:
The Community Relations Service has regional offices around the country that will offer the training to police departments. The lesson plans includes suggestions for confronting bullying in schools as well as lists of do’s — such as asking a person for his or her preferred gender pronoun — and don’ts, such as using the term “transvestite” or asking whether the person has had sex-change surgery.
The article notes that transgender victims of crime are often reluctant to contact law enforcement due to negative past interactions which can include a ‘blame the victim’ attitude.
Tiq Milan, a senior media strategist and spokesman for GLAAD, said the training program was a step toward correcting a relationship between police and transgender individuals that is fraught with mistrust.
“Cops will deal with trans folks and assume because you’re trans, then in some kind of way you’ve caused this kind of violence on you,” he said.
Though training is a step in the right direction, the article notes that there is still more to be done within law enforcement to make transgender people feel really comfortable with reporting crime:
Harper Jean Tobin, who as policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality helped design and model the program, also said she thought it was a good idea but cautioned that training by itself would not mend the relationship. She said there was more work that needed to be done in areas such as guaranteeing respect for transgender people who are taken into custody or being questioned by police.
“You can’t train your way out of this problem. It’s one piece of the puzzle. It’s one tool that we can use,” she said.