The Philadelphia Police Department has a new set of guidelines for interacting with transgender people.
Under a new set of policies, which became effective Dec. 20, officers are instructed to ask which pronoun is preferred and to use that gender identity when releasing information to the media.
When possible, transgender suspects are also to be transported and housed separately from other inmates.
“We just want to make sure that people are treated fairly. We want to make sure that we’re protecting the rights of individuals and that our officers are adhering to that in the proper way,” said department spokesman Lt. John Stanford.
Until now, the police department did not have specific policies regarding transgender suspects, victims or witnesses.
Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, an organization that works for the state’s LGBT community, said the policy is another positive step in creating awareness for a population that, at times, has been marginalized.
“If people that are served by the police see the police taking these stands, hopefully it will have an impact on their ways of talking to members of the transgender community,” said Martin.
Stanford said most police districts have the new guidelines on hand and are working to get officers familiar with its provisions.