Friday, March 28, 2014

Well, the story never seems to end because it's back in the news!

This time the story reads; DOJ Trains Cops to Work With Transgender People.  WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014, By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press (AP)

From the published report:

The Justice Department launched a program Thursday to train local police departments to better respond to transgender individuals, a population authorities say is disproportionately harmed by violence.

The new initiative is aimed at helping police identify hate crimes and build trust with a type of community that law enforcement officials say is too often reluctant to report crimes.

"It's clear that such a training is as necessary as it is overdue," Associate Attorney General Tony West said at a ceremony unveiling the program. "Because too often, in too many places, we know that transgender victims are discouraged from reporting hate crimes and hate violence due to their past negative interactions with and perceptions of law enforcement."

The training effort is being overseen by the department's Community Relations Service, which was established under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (this is my emphasis, 1964!) and works with communities to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

The initiative comes as police departments face scrutiny over their responsiveness to crimes against transgender people.  In Washington, D.C., for instance, Police Chief Cathy Lanier acknowledged this year in response to a task force's report that the department needed to do more to build trust with the city's transgender community.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole said it was unacceptable that transgender people don't report crimes against them "based on the community's fears about law enforcement's support and perceptions."

"This is not a result that can or will be tolerated by the Department of Justice, and it runs counter to the very role your community public safety officials want to promote," Cole said.

He cited a national transgender discrimination survey published in 2011 in which large percentages of transgender individuals reported having attempted suicide, having been physically assaulted and having lost a job for bias-related reasons.

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.

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.

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.  Really?

Back in 2013, this same story was run in many news agencies under different titles.  One such story took place in Connecticut City entitled; No Bias Against Transgender Cop.  NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 27, 2014, By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN (AP) Associated Press

From the Associated Press:

An investigation by a Connecticut city has found no evidence that a transgender police officer was subject to discrimination or a hostile work environment.

Francesca Quaranta (try Google) was born male and had hormone therapy to become female.  She decided to tell her colleagues in 2012 (2012!) about the change and tried to slowly adjust her appearance to allow for a gradual transition.  She said she was ordered to remove her earrings even though female officers have been allowed to wear them.  She initially was allowed to wear a wig but was later told it was not in compliance with policy and was disciplined in writing.  This was published near the end of the article.

She disputed an account by the city that, [she] Quaranta, did not want to wear one of the wigs approved by the chief and wore unapproved wigs and that she wore hoop earrings on patrol in violation of the rules.  She said she also faced more scrutiny of her work performance with supervisors questioning her response time even to non-emergencies, such as an illegally parked car.

The city denies her allegations saying any discipline or warnings were warranted and the mayor said the city is looking forward to Quaranto returning to work as soon as possible.

Odd he would use the male pronoun but nothing new here, and I also have to ask; Returning?

Middletown Police Officer Quaranta has alleged that while her colleagues were initially supportive she began to face hostility from some and their treatment had become so bad she went on paid leave.  She filed a complaint last year with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, which is still pending.  Meanwhile, city human relations officials investigated her claim and now say they found no evidence of discrimination.

"While officer Quaranta's transgender transition is a new experience for her and the Middletown Police Department, it is believed that the department is handling her transition in a professional manner," Faith Jackson, the city's human relations director, wrote in a letter to the mayor.

Mayor Daniel Drew said he and Police Chief William McKenna made it clear Quaranta was to receive equal treatment and supervising officers received training on the issue.  The mayor said a sergeant also was given a 10-day unpaid suspension over a remark he made about her.  (NOTE: the remark was not made public!) "We've taken this very seriously from day one and will continue to take it seriously," he said.

Quaranta said Thursday she disagrees with the city's findings and was not surprised, saying officials want to protect the city from liability.  "I'm hoping that the state of Connecticut is much more open minded and actually looks at documents and actually listens to what I'm saying," Quaranta said.

A Middletown police officer since 2004, (since 2004! that's almost 8 years at the time she filed!) she said she loves the job but isn't sure she can return to the department.  "I think the harassment will just continue," she said.  "Actually I think it will be much worse this time."

From me; I read about this on-line and thought I'd add my "spin".

The word "express" or the term "expression" with regard to sex does not appear in any law or policy to date.  Not one, none!  Laws prohibiting general discrimination or bullying or out-right physical attacks are all over the place, but not one of these laws says anything based on gender expression.  IMO, I don't have to wonder why that is!

Gender "expression" is a unique can of worms, it is very different from plain vanilla gender and is seen as fraut with problematic notions.  IMO, anti-discrimination laws established in most US cities and states do not protect people from anything anyway because laws do not protect, period!  That would be like saying, more pencils will make smarter people.  Some how I don't think so!

These anti-discrimination laws merely add an additional layer to an already established law which in most cases carries its own penalty.  That most people who would violate the original law already know of the penalties and layers of the "new" law but they simply don't care.  Murder of a human by use of a golf club does not enhance the plain murder law, it merely adds another layer to it.  Murder is merely an example I use and not meant to be representative of all humans, but murders still happen!  Being a decidedly femme dressed in any female outfit (let alone a sexy one!) won't stop a guy, or guys, from leading me into an alleyway under pretense and they may not have my best female abilities in mind!

Laws, regardless of how they're worded, will not change a person's heart, in short, they will NOT amend an attitude nor will they positively impact upon negative mind sets.  Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying, "Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.  Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless."  I would have to disagree with the good doctor King!  I would say ask the untold number of cross dressers killed every day.  That's a very long list and it's extremely sad!  It's a waste!  I am a mtf cross dresser and I dress in a fashion that "asks for it", I've experienced being put in a hospital because I received a very brutal beating!

It's also my humble opinion that Barry McGuire said it best; "legislation alone, won't bring integration."  As Cross Dressers, of either sex, we can not expect anyone to be our advocates.  Consequently, even non-expressive gay people face one form or another of discrimination in nearly every aspect of their daily lives.  I know I face a type of discrimination every time my landlord looks at me simply because he suspects I might be gay and willing to do him!  IMO, it would probably only embolden him were I to dress in 'sex kitten' attire at the time he saw me.  FYI, when I go shopping everyone seems to know I'm gay.

A new policy was implemented by USAID and represents an impressive step forward.  But because the policy is not mandatory and does not have the full force of the law behind it, employees in organizations contracting with USAID have absolutely no remedy if the policy is violated.  Kudos, I guess, to USAID for having such a policy but a policy which is NOT mandatory?  This leads me to question what good is it to have it?  To simply be able to say you've got such a policy?  At the risk of coming across as bitter, and by their own admission, I think USAID has convinced me they're bought and paid for.

In order to protect the rights of transgendered people (trans-gendered means cross sexed persons in this post) the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) continues to urge President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting all federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation AND gender identity.  Federal employers!  Nothing is aimed at the civilian world!  People are people and orientation and identity does make a difference regardless of where you are!

It is also thought that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a first step in the right direction but may I remind you that we are talking about a community of gays and lesbians in the military only, NOT persons who feel the need to represent as other than "established" sex, to wit; cross dressers!  Cross dressing for either a male or a female is considered a crime, especially in the military and civilian worlds, as it might be used as a mere disguise, a way to change one's appearance.  It does change one's appearance and how one chooses to express one's-self, IS affected and, unfortunately that is negatively.

Interestingly, the NCTE and NGLTF also released a finding from a report back in 2001, it was entitled; Injustice at Every Turn.  Very nice title, BTW, and while this report confirmed the pervasive and severe discrimination faced by trans-GENDERED people, it did NOT investigate the situation for those who simply choose to "express" as the opposite sex.  Out of a small sample of nearly 6,500 TRANS-PERSONS the report found they experienced high levels of discrimination in fields of employment, housing, health care, education, legal, and even in their own families!  And you thought is was just you, silly!  The full report can be found online, just Google it.

I think of this as a kind of discrimination in itself, apparently after many years very little has changed within this civil and polite society.  People!

Transgender people may also have additional identities that affect the types of discrimination they experience.  Simply said, experiencing discrimination of any kind adds significantly to psychological stresses and often includes people from sundry racial, ethnic, or religious and minority backgrounds.  Often times individuals are left to wonder whether they were discriminated against solely because of their socio-cultural identity, their race or some other thing, or was it JUST their gender EXPRESSION?  Possibly it may have been a combination!

So, how can one possibly know?  Do you ask?  Do you dare?  Do you even bother or do you just accept the discrimination and move on?  I merely accept it and move on!  I'm sure none of those questions will ever be asked and needless to say never answered.

Worth noting, and also according to that same study from 2001, while discrimination is quite pervasive for many trans-gender people the intersection of anti-transgender bias and persistence against it, is also where racism is especially severe.  African American transgendered individuals fare far worse than all other transgender populations examined.  Combined!  All!  I find that very note worthy indeed, and I also find it quite confusing in view of the fact most of my "admires" are men of color.  Interesting!

The report goes on to say many transgender people, regardless of race, are the targets of hate crimes (duh!) but there are simply no laws addressing the issue of the victim being crossed dressed and expressing the opposite to how they were born when the "hate" happens.  I guess a "transgender person" is considered a special victim of a unique and subtle form of hate!  This kind of discrimination usually includes everything from a disapproving look, an extreme or mean or loud verbal attack, a statement about specific body parts, or the typical out-right physical attack.  The report claims this kind of discrimination usually produces some level of discomfort.  Discomfort?  I mean, honestly, say it ain't so!

It's my opinion that violent people who engage in this type of behavior are usually nothing less than invasive, vulgar, total bruts, so, where does it all end?  My guess is when general society decides it ends, I don't recommend you hold your breath.  While my saying, 'Be the kind of woman YOU want to be!' sounds good, it's not going to happen any time soon within this current society and it's not going to happen without strife.

We are all humans but I am the kind of human who clings to the idea mind-sets will eventually change, hopefully sooner rather than later.  I know I can't speak for others but I clearly don't have a death wish and I do feel I'm female!

Please leave a comment or email me at, let me know what YOU think.

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