After some lengthy discussions, DCTC decided to sign on to a statement proposed by local GLBT organizations opposing the Metropolitan Police Department’s plan to restructure the Gay & Lesbian Liasion Unit. Our primary objection is that the process has been done hastily and with almost no transparency, so that community groups have been left in the dark about the possible implications this could have. Further, though the police made multiple promises to include community organizations (such as domestic violence advocates) in the development of the new GLLU officer training, this was not followed through until after a great deal of pressure was applied. Even then, we were given about two days notice before the training took place to prepare materials.
At the training, it was clear that most MPD officers are scarcely aware of the protections for trans people under the Human Rights Law or that they are required by an MPD General Order to respect trans people’s identities. This ignorance has severe consequences for trans people, especially those who frequently interact with police – for example, if an officer is called to respond to a dispute about a trans woman using a women’s restroom, for the trans person’s safety, the officer needs to be aware that trans people are guaranteed the legal right to use the public gender-segregated facility consistent to their identity.
We should also point out that the short, hastily-prepared training mentioned above was only for a handful of volunteer GLLU officers. DCTC will continue to apply appropriate pressure to try to mitigate problems like this by calling for comprehensive, mandatory training for all officers. For background, see our page for our Police Campaign.