You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Transgender People & the Police: Rights & Resources.
Bruce Jenner’s national TV interview will undoubtably give a visibility boost to the transgender community and force a less aware demographic in our country to at least learn some new terms and possibly foster a base level of respect and courtesy.
The third in our activism series focusing on law enforcement recognizes that trans people as a group are not privileged with the resources Jenner is afforded, leaving them more likely to be brutalized by both private citizens and the police — especially if they are people of color. According to the Transgender Law Center, 47% of black transgender and gender-nonconforming people have experienced incarceration.
In Baltimore, a transgender woman named Deairra Michelle Venable was arrested, and spent four days in a man’s prison after being forced to wear a sheer thermal shirt without her bra — a purposeful humiliation that left her especially vulnerable to assault.
Her story is terrifyingly common. Transgender woman Ashley Diamond, who has — like Venable — lived openly as a woman since her teens has been incarcerated in a Georgia men’s prison since 2012. Diamond has been denied her hormone therapy, causing physical distress from the withdrawal and — in addition to humiliations from the guards — has been raped seven times by other inmates.
The Transgender Law Center, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and National Center For Transgender Equality have a comprehensive set of resources detailing the rights of trans people when interacting with law enforcement. Posting the links on your social media feeds and and taking the information with you to direct actions can help you help protect those most vulnerable at protests and marches.
The Sylvia Rivera “Tips for trans people dealing with cops and jails" graphic folds into a pocket sized, bilingual pamphlet broken into “On the street and in public” and “If you have been arrested.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality’s “Participating in Direct Actions: A Guide for Transgender People” breaks down additional risk factors such as immigration status, past arrests, medical needs, and housing status. It also outlines tactics like surrounding the most vulnerable with those who have more privileged demographics and challenging the separation and searches of trans people.
Legal resources and alternatives to street action are important information for organizers and activists to have. Please use the links in the segment notes to post the available information on your networks, on event pages, and carry it with you when you attend demonstrations.
"Transgender Woman Cites Attacks and Abuse in Men’s Prison” via The New York Times
"Win: Georgia to Allow Hormone Therapy for Trans Inmates” via The National Center for Transgender Equality
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #921 "We all have a trans friend now (Bruce Jenner)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich