This article originally appeared on Care2.
Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno has said that he plans to introduce an ordinance that will create a commission to handle and ensure the protection of transgender people while in police custody.
The proposed ordinance comes after a number of complaints from the trans community over how they have been treated.
Formally titled The Police Treatment of Transgender Individuals Ordinance, the measure would specifically add gender identity definitions to police policy, therein requiring police to treat trans individuals as a cognizable group, and requiring police to undergo training with regards to how to deal with trans people in their custody.
The 2010 National Transgender Discrimination Survey carried out by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that over half of respondents said they felt uncomfortable seeking police assistance, often times meaning that they did not report instances of abuse or harassment simply because they feared how they would be treated by police. In addition, almost a fifth of respondents said they had faced harassment from police officers. This figure rose when examining transgender women of color.
This is not to misstate that Chicago has a particular problem with regards to police treatment of trans people beyond that of most other police departments. As the National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed, a lack of protections has left the community vulnerable throughout the USA.
In somewhat related news, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy recently introduced a bill that would add gender identity to Illinois’ hate crimes law. Read more on that here.