Transgender Law Center is greatly concerned about the report of a transgender woman in El Monte, California being sexually assaulted by a police officer. (NBC Report – Graphic Warning!)

EM police

Masen Davis, Executive Director said, “My thoughts are with the transgender woman in El Monte and I applaud her courage to take on her perpetrator. Unfortunately, we know transgender women report high rates of violence and harassment, sometimes by the police. Our community should be able to completely trust law enforcement when we need them most, not fear them.”

Transgender Law Center calls on the El Monte Police and Sherriff’s Departments to vigorously investigate this incident, and to implement the standards set forth in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and train all officers and staff on transgender issues.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that one-fifth (22%) of respondents who have interacted with police reported harassment by police, with much higher rates reported by people of color, and almost half of the respondents (46%) reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance.

According to a report by Amnesty International, LGBT individuals who do not conform to traditional gender “norms,” especially in their appearance or presentation, are more likely to be singled out for verbal, physical and sexual abuse, and that transgender individuals are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement. Furthermore, the report finds that homophobia, transphobia and racism often occur together in incidents of police misconduct and abuse against LGBT people of color.

Transgender Law Center has trained numerous police departments and worked with law enforcement officials to improve standards of interecting with transgender individuals, and will continue to work towards reducing harassment and violence directed at transgender people, especially transgender women of color, through education and policy advocacy