Chicago Alderman to Introduce Trans Police Ordinance


Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno has said that he plans to introduce an ordinance that will create a commission to handle and ensure the protection of transgender people while in police custody.

The proposed ordinance comes after a number of complaints from the trans community over how they have been treated.

Via Windy City Times:

According to a fact sheet put out by veteran activist Rick Garcia and Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), the ordinance will mandate a policy for interacting with transgender detainees and set up a mayoral-appointed commission to oversee the treatment of transgender arrestees.

“It’s a human rights issue,” said Moreno, who added that the ordinance is intended to address a “hole in the policy of the police of Chicago.”

The policy comes after years of complaints from transgender people who have reported being harassed or misgendered by police officers.

Moreno said he hopes the ordinance will tackle distrust widely felt among transgender communities of police.

“We can’t expect our police department to deal with a segment of the population if they’re not trained in how that segment wants to be addressed,” he said.

Formally titled The Police Treatment of Transgender Individuals Ordinance, the measure would specifically add gender identity definitions to police policy, therein requiring police to treat trans individuals as a cognizable group, and requiring police to undergo training with regards to how to deal with trans people in their custody.

More on the oversight commission via the Chicago Phoenix:

In addition to adding protections for transgender people, the ordinance would effectively create the Police Transgender Issues Commission, a supervising body that would develop additional training for police officers and ensure the implementation of such training across the city. It would also release an annual report detailing the police’s adherence to the new guidelines.

Martinez said the commission is the most important part of the ordinance.

“It would be the first of its kind and I think it will have national implications if passed. The Transgender Police Issues Commission would be the first time, to my knowledge, such a body has been created,” he said.

The commission would be composed of six transgender Chicagoans or people who work for LGBT organizations and five Chicago Police officers, according to a fact sheet from TCRA.

The 2010 National Transgender Discrimination Survey carried out by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that over half of respondents said they felt uncomfortable seeking police assistance, often times meaning that they did not report instances of abuse or harassment simply because they feared how they would be treated by police. In addition, almost a fifth of respondents said they had faced harassment from police officers. This figure rose when examining transgender women of color.

This is not to misstate that Chicago has a particular problem with regards to police treatment of trans people beyond that of most other police departments. As the National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed, a lack of protections has left the community vulnerable throughout the USA.

In somewhat related news, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy recently introduced a bill that would add gender identity to Illinois’ hate crimes law. Read more on that here.


Related Reading:

Illinois Rep. Wants ‘Common Sense’ Anti-Gay Discrimination

Illinois Civil Unions Hit By Tax Dispute

Catholic Charities Suing Illinois For Special Right to Turn Away Gay Couples Seeking to Adopt


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to kaitlynn kittun.


Success Johnson
Success Johnson7 years ago

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Isabel Ramirez
Isabel Ramirez7 years ago

Thank you for sharing:)

KS Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

James Campbell
James Campbell7 years ago

Elaine A. “if you whack of your dong and are now claiming to be a woman (You're really never going to be one) Then you should realize that just because you lost your manhood does not mean you lost your physical strength and should be placed in a woman's facility”

You are mistaken on so many points that it is difficult to now where to start.
The existence of a penis does not guarantee male. The penis is simply an adapted clitoris and some people are born with male-pattern external organs and female internal organs (i.e. intersex) Others have male-pattern external and internal organs but their brain development does not match this (i.e. transsexual). No one gets to choose their anatomy (including you) or the way their brain is hard-wired (including you ) so to mock other people’s differences is unwarranted and cruel. With regard to physical strength, male to female trans women are NOT possessed of male strength. I suggest you read more on the subject and try to understand what trans people go through.

Sandi C.
Sandi C7 years ago


Joe R.
Joe R7 years ago

Great! Thank you Joe Moreno!

Carole H.
Carole Hagen7 years ago

It's about time for this to happen---no one should be haselled in this world!

J.L. A.
JL A7 years ago

Kudos to Moreno!

Tish Levee
Tish Levee7 years ago

This is wonderful! HOpe it is the first of many cities to do this.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson7 years ago