Earlier this week, the Justice Department launched an initiative to train local cops to “better respond to transgender individuals.”
The program was created to help cops identify hate crimes and attempt to build trust with the transgender community, which authorities say is often reluctant to work with police or report crimes.
At the unveiling of the ceremony, Associate Attorney General Tony West said “It’s clear that such a training is as necessary as it is overdue. 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.”
Deputy Attorney General James Cole told media that it’s unacceptable that the community does not report crimes “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.”
The lesson plans for the program include lessons on how to deal with bullying in schools, as well as what terms are appropriate to use (the plan tells officers to first ask a person “their preferred gender pronoun”) and inappropriate terms, like “transvestite.”
GLAAD spokesman Tiq Milan told reporters that “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.”
National Center for Transgender Equality Policy Director Harper Jean Tobin notes that “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.”