National data has shown that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented amonghomeless
and other marginalized youth
, as well as among youth in the juvenile andcriminal justice system.
National data has also consistently shown that LGBTQ youthare disproportionately targeted by law enforcement, more likely to be arrested, and report being frequently profiled and treated unfairly by the police and other officials.
Transgender women of color are more at risk for physical violence in their lives; and atthe same time, transgender people are also more likely to experience barriers to reportingto law enforcement, not report to law enforcement altogether, and more likely toexperience police violence.
In New Orleans, this has been true for generations, with transgender people,specifically transgender women, reporting being stopped for no reason, being assumed by police officers to be criminal for walking down the street, being accused of falselyidentifying themselves when presenting I.D.’s inconsistent with their gender expression, being arrested after calling the police for help, being called names and verbally harassed, being approached for sexual favors by members of the NOPD, being sexually assaulted by the NOPD, or having their legal rights abused or undermined in other ways. In fact, in preliminary results from a survey conducted by our members in the summer of 2011,wefound that 15 out of 15 of young African American transgender women polled had beenapproached by an NOPD officer for sex. Just this past May, one of our members wasstopped one block from her house as she was walking to a convenience store by anofficer who claimed to be the “Chief of Tulane Avenue,” searched her illegally, andaccused her of prostitution. While many in the NOPD have been receptive to hearing our recommendations or concerns, I have also had representatives from the Department tellme that transgender women simply should not walk down certain streets in New Orleans,regardless of whether or not they live nearby. To this, we say, “Walking whiletransgender is not a crime.”7.
From 2010 until the conclusion of the United States Department of Justice’s(“DOJ”) investigation of the NOPD,
organized hearings with other community organizations, including Women With a Vision, for community
members toshare some of these personal stories of discriminatory and illegal treatment by NOPDofficers. Our members met with DOJ investigators and attorneys several times over thecourse of the investigation, both concerning the police department as well as conditionsinside Orleans Parish Prison. The stories our communities relayed contributed to DOJ’sfinding that NOPD practices lead to discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ individuals, in particular African-American transgender women.
Most recently documented by Williams Institute, “Serving Our Youth: Findings From A National Survey Of Service ProvidersWorking With LGBT Youth Who Are Homeless Or At Risk of Becoming Homeless,” 2012. Other sources for reference available at:http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/lgbtq.html.
Sources for reference available at Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm.
Center for American Progress, “The Unfair Criminalization of Gay and Transgender Youth: An Overview of the Experiences of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System,” 2012.
Himmelstein and Brückner, “Criminal-Justice and School Sanctions Against Nonheterosexual Youth: A National LongitudinalStudy”
, 2010 and Amnesty International,
Stonewalled: Still Demanding Respect. Police Abuses Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender People In The USA
Amnesty international, 2006.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, “Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2011: A Report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs,” 2012.