Police ordered to treat transgender individuals with respect

Boston Police yesterday issued orders for treating transgender people under arrest that require officers to transport and held in cells alone when possible, refer to them by the name they want to use and refer to them by the gender they identify with. Also:

A search or frisk shall not be performed for the sole purpose of determining an individual’s anatomical gender, and transgender individuals shall not be subject to more invasive search or frisk procedures than non-transgender individuals.

The Globe reports the new rules are the result of a settlement of a lawsuit involving the arrest of a transgender individual.



    Free tagging: 



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    before yesterday...

    Did you read anything?

    Or are you just spewing verbal diarrhea? It says nothing about chosing who searches them -- merely that they be treated just like everyone else.

    You really think this is

    You really think this is going to be a problem? Do you predict a wave of men, dressed as men, who suddenly decide that they are transgender and want to be called "Loretta" by their arresting officer, so they can request a patdown from a female officer and a private cell? Will they "swish" while they do it, and speak in falsetto? Will they invent elaborate cover stories to explain why they happen to be dressed as a man, even though they consider themselves female? I don't know, call me naive, but I don't see this becoming a really big problem if these simple standards of reasonable human behavior are followed.

    Suldog, quit being a tool

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    You might have noticed the world spinning toward tolerance. Join the queue.

    Fuck Off, Douchebag

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    If you can show one instance where I've shown intolerance (other than to an anonymous trolling dickweed like you) then do it. All I was doing here was pointing out a problem, not saying anything against anyone.



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    because some creep would then request a female officer to strip search him. Now is that fair to the female officer? These individuals should be addressed by their "legal" names. If they wish to be called something different, well legally change your name.

    A lot of people can't

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    It costs money to change one's name and a lot of transgender people are unemployed because of discrimination. The courts also deny name changes for a variety of reasons, and this occurs frequently to transgender people.

    Not an excuse

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    Inability to pay in MA is not a reason to be unable to file with the court:

    If you can't afford the fee:

    If you receive public benefits, have an income below your local poverty line, or otherwise cannot afford $165, fill out the "affidavit of indigency." The Clerk of the Court can help you fill it out if you have any trouble. Do not pay any fee you cannot afford.
    You can get the "affidavit of indigency" form at the probate court, or you can download it here or MTPC can email you a copy of the form.

    From: Mass Transgender Political Coalition page for legal name changes

    There are also no prereqs like proof of surgery, hormone treatments, or anything else that is required to justify a name change in MA for switching genders.

    Still people who can't change their name

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    People might have a complicated relationship with transphobic relatives, or be participating in therapy to complete the WPATH protocol and have a therapist who isn't recommending they legally change their name until they've used it a while -- people generally can't get approved for medical/surgical intervention unless they've cooperated with the therapist's recommendations. Some people still have been denied the name change by the courts (I imagine MTPC has a page about that issue too).

    Well then them's the breaks

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    The IRS, the bank and the DMV aren't going to handle any business with you under any name other than what's associated with your SSN.

    Please explain why it's necessary for the police to make an exception?


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    You need a new bank. Ours has to use the legal name for the record, duh, but is happy to put down an AKA so that one can cash checks under the name that one uses in everyday life. And the tellers are super friendly and remember what to call people irrespective of the name the bank has to use for legal reasons. They know our kid's name too, who doesn't have an account at all, and greet the kid by it.

    The IRS and the RMV haven't ever addressed me by name, so I can't help you there.

    More importantly though, why on earth would anyone have a problem with the police or anyone else being respectful and courteous? Choose love.

    Following on Eeka's point, re

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    Following on Eeka's point, re the IRS:

    "The IRS [...isn't...] going to handle any business with you under any name other than what's associated with your SSN."

    Actually, the IRS is coping with my professional identity which I registered as a "Doing Business As" in Somerville and the Employer ID number it granted me just fine. It's like they have a system for it or something.

    Perhaps you should find out what the rules to reality actually are before complaining others aren't following them.


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    I love that it's an anon who wants to use everyone's legal name.

    Seriously, what does it cost anyone to use an individual's preferred name? Insisting on "legal" name is just petty and doesn't increase public safety or decrease crime.

    Lighten up Francis. Unless you prefer Frank. "Chill out Frank" works too.


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    being arrested to commenting on UHub, Smart!

    a few things

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    They should be addressed using by their legal name. Just like everyone else.

    They should be frisked just like everyone else. BTW: contraband can be hidden in all kinds of places on the body, and are.

    If a transgendered man/woman can get their own cell, why shouldn't anyone else? What about a guy who has never been arrested before and is scared? A small, passive guy put into a cell with a roughneck thug? Fair is fair. In this case, transgendered are getting special above and beyond treatment.


    I've met a few transgendered people in my life. They are just as capable of being aholes, liars, thieves, violent, as anyone else.

    And I'm homosexual, not LGBT.

    They should be addressed

    They should be addressed using by their legal name. Just like everyone else.

    Really? Officers never address a suspect using any name besides the one on their birth certificate? Ever? Seems unlikely.

    They should be frisked just like everyone else.

    Did you even read the policy? That's exactly what it says:

    "Officers shall continue to use standard practices and procedures when conducting “Field Stops” and “Frisks”, and shall abide by Rule 323 at all times."

    If a transgendered man/woman can get their own cell, why shouldn't anyone else?

    I'm pretty sure officers have the option of keeping any suspect separated from other suspects if they have reason to fear for that suspect's safety (and the space is available).

    I think the real question is, why are people getting upset about an innocuous statement that clarifies police policy and societal norms for interacting with transgender people?


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    A lot of people don't have the money to legally change their name, or the court has denied it for various reasons. No one should have to be called a name that's offensive and demeaning. For someone who lived years having people insist they were a different gender, it's offensive and hurtful to have people insist that society gets to decide what gender they are, as if they don't know their own feelings and identity.

    Would you like it if suddenly, I came up to you on the street and decided that every time you tried to apply for a job or get medical treatment, someone would say, "sorry Bill, we're going to insist on calling you Tiffany. We don't care if you're a guy and you think a guy named Tiffany is ridiculous, or that you had no say in the matter, but we know what's best for you, and we will call you Tiffany. You just, I don't know, seem female to us, and you seem like a Tiffany."

    I didn't think so. I've never had anyone tell me I wasn't female or couldn't be called by my name, but only because I happened to be born a body and chromosomes that all match up with my brain. It isn't right to do this to our brothers and sisters who had the misfortune of having their gender labeled incorrectly at birth.

    What does their drivers license say?

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    If the name on my drivers license says John Doe, I should expect the police to address me as such. Asking the officer to call me J.D., Johnny or Janice is ridiculous. They are going to be filling out paperwork based on your ID. A professional cop has no interest in the personal life or reasons why someone prefers a name other than what's on their ID. Do you really think a cop making an arrest does or should care about using a name other than what's on the persons ID?

    Seriously. Being referred to by the name on your ID is absolutely the least of someones worries when they are arrested. The absolute best thing anyone can do is STFU when detained by the cops. Much less get in a snit over pronouns.

    That said, no one should be subject to violence by the cops or prisoners. However, having your fee fees hurt is part of the game when you are arrested, regardless of how you self identify.

    The paperwork requirements

    The paperwork requirements are actually addressed in the document in question, if you'd bother to read it. Why does the idea of police officers treating suspects with respect bother you so much?

    It doesn't bother me. Project Much?

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    It's just bullshit. You have a name on your ID. That is your name as far as the state is concerned and as an agent of the state, that is all the police should be concerned about. If you want to ask the cop to call you by a different name, feel free. If they choose to call you by the name the ID, then too bad. That's not being disrespectful. There are a million things cops do that are disrespectful to people of all walks. Using the name on your ID is not one of them. Cops are not social workers and aren't concerned with your feeeeeliinnngs.

    Actually, they are concerned

    Actually, they are concerned with treating people with respect. That's actually the whole point of the Special Order. You know, the document that's linked at the top of this page? Stop me if I'm going too fast for you.


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    You don't get out much do you?

    This is straight out of a Portlandia skit, yourself included.

    If I'm ever arrested, I'm claiming I'm transgendered and my preferred name is Ms. Whalecock. Not only will I be able to get a giggle out the officer having to respectfully call me Ms. Whalecock, I'll also likely get better treatment since the guidelines state:

    - Whenever possible, a transgender prisoner shall be transported alone.

    - Whenever possible, a transgender prisoner shall be held in a cell without other prisoners.

    How can I lose? It's not like they can argue with me about how I self-identify right? That would be a typical micro-aggression from someone with hetero-normative privilege.


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    You're mad n stuff.

    I know it's tough when someone points out the absurdity of your position.

    Buck up little camper, it will be OK.

    Portlandia appeals to the

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    Portlandia appeals to the very people it makes fun of, so I guess that includes you. Coming up with some stupid plan because hurf durf treating trans people like they're not freaks is very hipster edgy.

    There's the rub

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    Treating them like "freaks" means singling them out and treating them different than every other person arrested.

    Apparently it's not edgy to just expect everyone to be treated the same regardless of sex, race, age or orientation. Like equally or something.

    Well then you're assuming

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    Well then you're assuming transgender people are treated the same as everyone else by police and if you really believe that, lol. Unless you're thinking that since cops are assholes to women, people of color, the lower class and gays and lesbians, it's only fair that they be assholes to trans people. In which case, still lol.


    Now we're getting somewhere

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    In my experience, cops are assholes to everyone.

    I'm sure the list you provided get a little more asshole than most, but what do you want to do? Create an asshole metric and provide different levels of cop protocol based on the perceived level of asshole behavior towards that particular group?

    How should the protocol differ between a MTF trans and a black lesbian?

    Should the black lesbian get a solo cell or maybe just a solo ride but no solo cell? It's all so confusing.

    "...but what do you want to

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    "...but what do you want to do?"

    Not having police be bigoted abusive assholes would be nice. Hardly asking for special treatment.


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    "Not having police be bigoted abusive assholes would be nice. Hardly asking for special treatment."

    That would be wonderful. Treating EVERYONE with dignity should be the goal. You are wrong though about special treatment. It's now written policy that that trans-gendered receive special treatment.

    I'm arguing that this not only singles them out for an arguably better level of accommodation by the police (solo ride / solo cell), it also creates a framework for any group to sue and demand a different police protocol based on race, sex, orientation, etc.

    Regardless of past wrongs, this directive has singled out people who self-identify to the police as trans-gendered (an untestable claim) for "special treatment". Why should a 6'4" 250 lb MTF get a private cell based on their self identification vs. a reed thin effeminate gay male? One could easily argue that the gay male is in more danger of harm than the MTF. One automatically gets a solo cell while the other may have to fend for themselves.

    I suspect this could lead to even more lawsuits. They write themselves: "My gay son was beaten by other inmates. Had he identified as trans-gendered, he would not have been in a cell with other prisoners. There is written policy that discriminated against my son because he was not trans-gendered."

    The argument that "well, cops have been dicks to trans-gendered for years" doesn't wash. Cops have been dicks to blacks, gays, and occupy wall street too. By that logic, shouldn't those groups get a different level of treatment as well?


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    A step in the right direction toward treating people right is a good thing. It makes no sense to dismiss some justice because it isn't all justice. We need to keep fighting for full justice, not knocking justice that's being offered.

    You're of course right that others are treated poorly in the criminal system. I'm guessing the protocol in practice is going to be that people will get a separate cell if they're trans folks who appear gender-nonconforming to the average person's eye. Note: not policing appearance here or suggesting anyone should need to "pass", just pointing out that there are certainly people who are going to be a target of bigoted thugs, so it's reasonable to protect these folks from said thugs. Trans people who typically "pass" and who no one usually knows they're trans probably wouldn't categorically get separate accommodations. Again, all presentations and identities are fine in my book, but I'm thinking of friends of mine who get stuff yelled at them from cars and get called the wrong gender routinely, then thinking of friends of mine who I didn't know we're trans until they told me. I'm sure I have other friends who I don't even know are trans, and it probably wouldn't be an issue for them either.

    The system, as it currently

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    The system, as it currently is, is broken, no shit. So the solution is to keep making steps in the right direction, towards treating everyone fairly. Placing someone who is MtF trans with male prisoners isn't fair treatment, it puts those individuals, who already do encounter a lot of violence, at a higher risk of violence and assault. The goal should be to make sure everyone is treated humanely, even criminals. Don't be a dick, guy. Of course, this is tied into a whole bunch of other issues involving prison assault and how the system is built to treat (or ignore) it but again, the right thing is reform.

    Just come out and say it

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    "It makes no sense to dismiss some justice because it isn't all justice."

    "So the solution is to keep making steps in the right direction..."


    "I am OK with this group of people getting special treatment."

    Why is that so hard for you guys to admit?

    Not. Special. Treatment.

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    When I've called the police, they've always called me by my preferred pronouns. I've never had it questioned what my name is or what my gender is. They've always written down my name as I have it and called me the pronouns that match my presentation and name.

    It isn't special treatment that now that this order has gone into effect, transgender people will have less pronoun douchery from the cops, less name douchery, fewer strip searches, fewer instances of being placed with bigoted assaultive prisoners. I still have had exactly zero instances of the cops questioning my gender or name. Transgender people's experience of these problems will now maybe go from "all the fucking time" to "some of the time." I *still* get better treatment from the cops around gender and identity. So, no, transgender people are not getting better treatment from the police.

    Yes Special Treatment

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    - Whenever possible, a transgender prisoner shall be transported alone.

    - Whenever possible, a transgender prisoner shall be held in a cell without other prisoners.

    That is special treatment by any honest definition.


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    It's an accommodation to minimize the differences in treatment.

    Is it special treatment that Masshealth pays for someone to dress and bathe my neighbor but not me? No, of course not -- I don't have a problem doing these things.

    Be happy you aren't someone who gets harassed and misunderstood every day because of who you are. Instead of crying "special treatment" and further stigmatizing other people.

    You know...

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    I heard that Masshealth gives hearing aids to people with hearing loss for free, but they don't give them to people with typical hearing at all! They're getting special treatment! We should all be outraged and demand equal hearing aids for hearing people!

    What's to stop me from being like, hey, I'm deaf? All I have to do is say I'm deaf and I can get special treatment too. Right?

    A cop should absolutely care

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    A cop should absolutely care about using a name other than what's on the ID, and frequently does.

    Many people got by names that are not their legal name in the course of their day to day life. Calling them by something else can just lead to confusion. I know several people who go by their middle names. I know others who go by names completely unrelated to their legal names. There are many people that I know, some even fairly well, for whom I wouldn't recognize who you were asking about if you referred to them by their legal name.

    If you insist on always calling someone by their legal name, you may just cause confusion, you may cause evidence or leads to be missed because someone you were interviewing doesn't recognize the name you used.

    When you're trying to interview people tracking down a certain Mr. Bulger who is being tried at the moment, do you think it would be more fruitful to ask anyone if they know what "James" has been up to, or what "Whitey" has been up to?

    There are lots of reasons why someone might not change their legal name. It can be a real hassle; you may have bank accounts, or other legal relationships that are under your birth name, and tracking all of those down and changing them can be a real pain.

    Furthermore, the rules linked to above address this issue:

    When booking a transgender prisoner, the Booking Officer will include the prisoner’s adopted name (i.e. name that the individual uses in self-reference) in the booking, either as the primary name or as the “also known as” (a.k.a.) name. The
    transgender prisoner will be booked under the name appearing on the prisoner’s government-issued identification, as well as under an a.k.a. name where applicable. If no identification is available, then the Booking Officer will use the adopted name for booking purposes, either as the primary or the a.k.a. name. The prisoner’s birth name will be used only if it is the prisoner’s legal name or it is required by a legitimate law enforcement purpose, including but not limited to, a prior arrest record.

    It's not like the cops are ignoring their legal name. It's just stating that they should preferentially use the name that the person is usually referred to as, and include both on the record.

    Right, and when they're calling them by it

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    Other than the officer who looks up the person's record needing to know the legal name, no one needs to know that the person is trans. If officers are calling a girl "James" and referring to her as "James" to all the other officers, then a whole bunch of people know she's trans who don't have any business knowing. This also applies to victims of crimes, people calling the police for help, etc. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully, and that includes not bringing up and spreading around a person's history that's irrelevant.

    You're off the map here.

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    If my birth certificate, passport, and drivers' license said "Tiffany" and listed my gender as female, then I would expect anybody acting in an official capacity to call me by that name and to use female pronouns, etc. I wouldn't expect to have any say in that matter.

    For you to describe it as "You just, I don't know, seem female to us." is ludicrous -- you make it sound arbitrary when it's not, it's a matter of established public record.

    As the old philosophy joke goes:

    Q: If you counted a dog's tail as a leg, how many legs would a typical dog have?

    A: Four. Just because you count a dog's tail as a leg doesn't make it a leg.

    No one's gender is labeled or

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    No one's gender is labeled or mislabeled at birth. Their sex is determined and sometimes that's problematic or unclear. DNA and other diagnostic tests are then conducted to make a determination.

    Names are legally given by parents. Adults have a legal recourse to change their names, if they want to.


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    Gender is certainly labeled at birth. Gender can't be determined by chromosomes or genitalia.

    Gender and/or gender-identity

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    Gender and/or gender-identity are not the same as sex. I'm sure you know that. Sex is determined at birth and is officially documented in a medical record or on a birth certificate. Gender is something else altogether and is not labeled per se in a delivery room.

    Aren't we saying the same thing?

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    Gender is assigned at birth via the assumption that one's gender will match one's genitals. My parents gave me a female name, sent out tacky '70s "it's a girl" cards, and started using female pronouns pretty much the moment I was born. In my case, my gender did end up being the same as the one I was assigned. This isn't the case with everyone though.

    Not the same

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    The point is that sex and gender are NOT the same thing. Sex is assigned. Gender is assumed. Assumed by the society you live in, including your family, and by the person him/herself. There is great variability in these assumptions. The broader these assumptions, in my opinion, the more comfortable most people will be, the less gender dysphoria.

    Yes absolutely!

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    We need to get over binary gender for sure.

    What I was trying to point out was that people DO stick us on one side of the binary, generally by assuming at birth that one's gender will match one's genitals (it's not routine to do chromosome analysis).

    And to try and illustrate that being transgender isn't just something people do on a whim, I was pointing out that we pretty much all have had a sense of what our gender is since we were little. How much would it suck if someone just came up to me and was like, "sorry, the law says you're not female, and we have to call you Jim."? I'd be like, the fuck? I'm certainly female, and it's not my genitals that make this the case. Gender is in your brain. Sex is chromosomes and genitals. I've known I was female all my life. In my case, my external sex characteristics matched up with my gender. But why should I get the privilege of people respecting my gender identity and others shouldn't? Any of us would be pretty offended if someone decided our gender for us (whether at birth, or just randomly now.)

    Oh, and for the "I'm just gonna decide I'm transgender if I get arrested" crowd, in so many instances YOU CAN'T TELL. In the case of many of my friends who live full-time as trans, I didn't know they were even trans until they decided they'd share that with me. Some trans people are completely out, others selectively out, others not out at all. It isn't anyone's business whether someone is trans.

    Ahh, I know chromosome

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    Ahh, I know chromosome analysis is not routine. Did I say that it is routine? No. It is done when the sex assignment at birth is not clear, which, by the way, is a devastating experience for parents. I have attended hundreds of births and I know that DNA analysis is rarely needed to make that call.

    Otherwise, I have no disagreement with you. Peace out.

    If issuing orders worked....

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    Channeling my best Bill Maher impression:

    "Doesn't the Army have a way to stop rape? Don't they just have to say 'Hey, don't rape, that's an order!'."

    I'm glad whatever we call 1-P-P (I got that from Law and Order, hehe) gave out this order, but let's just see it in practice first.

    from now on, anytime a cop

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    from now on, anytime a cop wants to search or detain me, i will claim to be transgender. its up to me how i identify myself. they can't say that just because i look like an average man, i dont identify as a woman!
    there ya go! no! special treatment! the key is just to let them know that you identify as trans.

    CAll me

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    Mr/Ms. Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvor, thank you very much!


    Yeah I'm sure this is a

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    Yeah I'm sure this is a foolproof plan that could possibly not backfire at all

    Choose love

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    Why does it make you feel good to say something ridiculous that would undoubtedly irk a transgender person who reads it? Why not just be happy that the police are trying to right the wrongs of having treated people poorly? It doesn't affect you in the least. Choose love.