What to Know
- Philly police announced a new policy Tuesday that outlines procedures for how police should interact with transgender and nonbinary people.
- Police must use a person's chosen name and pronouns, regardless of what is listed on that person's government-issued identification card.
- Police should transport and house transgender and nonbinary people separately from other prisoners if necessary.
Philadelphia police worked with members of the city’s LGBTQ community and the Office of LGBT Affairs to create a progressive policy that they say treats all people in police custody equally.
The new police department policy, Directive 4.15, was announced in detail on Tuesday and outlines new procedures for how police should interact with transgender and nonbinary people.
"We are not asking for special rights or special protections," said Deja Lynn Alvarez, an advocate for transgender rights. "We are asking for the same rights and same protections that are afforded to every citizen."
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The policy requires police to use a person's chosen name and pronouns when they interact with transgender and nonbinary people, regardless of what is listed on that person's government-issued identification card.
"For too long, our transgender and non-binary siblings have faced humiliating, hurtful treatment during their interactions with law enforcement,” Amber Hikes, the executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, said in a news release. "This issue is not unique to Philadelphia, but I am proud that our city was among the first to address it head on."
Officials say the policy is meant to serve as a guide for unbiased day-to-day interactions with transgender and nonbinary people, as well as those who are being detained or transported.
Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Sullivan says it's intended "to ensure safe, supportive and respectful interactions" with city's LGBTQ community.
Other guidelines include possibly transporting and housing transgender people separately from other prisoners, ensuring transgender people can express a preference for the gender of the officer who searches them and transporting transgender and nonbinary people to medical facilities to address immediate medical needs, including hormone therapy, if needed.