Transgender woman Temmie Breslauer recently sued the NYPD for mistreatment and discrimination. After she was arrested for illegally using her father's discount fare card for the subway, she was allegedly chained to a wall inside the station house for 28 hours and humiliated by several police officers.
When Breslauer entered the precinct station house, she was reportedly asked whether or not she had sex reassignment surgery, in order for the NYPD to determine where she should be placed. When she explained that she should be allowed access to facilities appropriate to her gender identity, she was chained to a fence and denied access to any sort of humane facilities. During this time, police officers insulted her, made inappropriate comments, and referred to her using male gender pronouns.
Unfortunately, this mistreatment is far from an isolated incident. The NYPD has been sued at least four times for mistreatment of transgender women.
The NYPD should have a policy regarding treatment of transgender arrestees. The policy should include the following points:
1- Transgender people should be treated with respect and officers should never use derogatory words toward them;
2- Their treatment should be equal and fair, based on the crimes they commit, and not based on police officers' personal biases against transgender people;
3- Transgender individuals should be referred to using their preferred pronouns, and placed in facilities based on their gender identity, not the status of their genitals;
4- A transgender person's privacy should be respected. Their operation status should not be questioned, as it is irrelevant.
In order to ensure that treatment is equal and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect, all NYPD staff should undergo a diversity training including information on gender identity and training on the new policy on treatment of transgender people.
Lastly, those officers involved in humiliation, assault, and otherwise inhumane treatment of transgender people should be disciplined for their actions. Discrimination against transgender people should not be tolerated. Appropriately disciplining officers involved will set an example to others that harassment and inappropriate behavior is unacceptable.
Demand that the NYPD act now to protect transgender arrestees from discriminatory treatment.