The US Department of Justice trained law enforcement officers in best practices for serving the transgender community, for the first time ever, last week. Similar trainings will take place for local police departments throughout the country.
The training was made possible by the DOJ's Community Relations Service, created under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took place on March 27. The session was developed and lead by numerous LGBT advocates with experience in law enforcement and government agencies.
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said during the training in Washington, DC, “At its most basic level, the new training will provide tools to enhance an officer’s ability to build partnerships with community members and to work with fellow citizens, who share a commitment to public safety," reported Washington Blade.
According to the Associated Press, the training sessions include "suggestions for confronting bullying in schools as well as lists of do's - such as asking a person for his or her preferred gender pronoun - and don'ts, such as using the term 'transvestite' or asking whether the person has had sex-change surgery."
“The training resources that CRS (Community Relations Service) has created (with input from law enforcement leaders and transgender advocates) is intended to assist communities across the country and law enforcement agencies wishing to improve their understanding of and work with the transgender communities they serve,” according to a statement released by the department.
These sessions are intended to educate law enforcement officials on the needs of the trans community and the violence it faces, as well as to rebuild trust between the community and those commissioned to protect them.
Tiq Milan, GLAAD's senior media strategist, told the Associated Press, "Cops will deal with trans folks and assume because you're trans, then in some kind of way you've caused this kind of violence on you," and said he viewed the training as a step in the right direction.