The LGBT Pride Month is drawing to a close but New York City will continue its observance of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender citizens’ rights. In accordance with its courtesy, professional, and respect strategy, the New York Police Department has begun instituting significant reforms designed to protect the civil rights and dignity of transgender and gender non-conforming people
During the LGBT Pride Event at the Great Hall, Cooper Union on June 12th, the Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Council Members and the NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel announced significant reforms to the NYPD Patrol Guide that formally outlines discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived gender is prohibited by the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The new Patrol Guide section specifically addresses the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) citizens. TGNC as defined is analogous to LGBT.
The NYPD Patrol Guide changes are significant and specifically address a range of issues interacting with the TGNC community establishing search procedures for TGNC arrestees to requiring police officers to address TGNC citizens by their preferred name. The revisions include:
• Prohibiting the use of discourteous or disrespectful remarks regarding a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
• Instructing police officers refer to transgender citizens by names, honorifics and pronouns that reflect their gender identity (even if it does not match the information on their ID documents) and amending forms so that an arrestee’s “preferred name” can be recorded and used while they are in police custody.
• Prohibiting police officers from conducting any search for the purpose of determining a person’s gender. This also applies to School Safety officers that are assigned to the city’s public schools system.
• Arrestees in police custody will be searched by an officer of the gender they specifically request. If their request is not honored, the basis for not honoring such request will be noted in the command log.
• Defining “gender” to include gender identity and expression, consistent with NYCHRL. This means that self-identification is the primary consideration even if it differs from their genetic gender assigned at birth.
• Arrestees in police custody will be assigned to holding cells according to their gender identity, even if it differs from their genetic gender assigned at birth, unless there is a concern for the arrestees’ safety, in which case they will be considered “special category prisoners” and segregated accordingly.
• “Special category prisoners,” including transgender people, will not be cuffed to handrails, bars or chairs for unreasonable periods of time.