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Albany police, transgender groups building trust

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The Times Union
|
December 26, 2012

A group of transgender people and crime victim advocates have been meeting monthly with Albany police and law enforcement officials to rewrite protocol and procedures and devise training for officers intended to preserve the dignity of transgender people who are arrested. The group has been discussing thorny issues surrounding the arrests of transgender people, including how body- and strip-searches should be conducted, how to handle confinement in police lockup and how to identify transgender individuals if they present and define themselves as female but their driver's license categorizes them as male. The group is working against a backdrop of pervasive fear and mistrust of police on the part of transgender people. A recent national survey found that 29 percent of transgender people said they had been verbally harassed by cops. Precise numbers are hard to come by because many transgender people remain underground due to social shunning, workplace discrimination, harassment and violence when they go public.Experts have estimated there are about 700,000 transgender individuals in the U.S., or 0.3 percent of the adult population.