June 13th of this year seemed a watershed for trans people’s march to equality in the Big Apple. New patrol guide lines had been issued which seemed at the time to adequately address the inhuman behaviour of the NYPD towards trans people.
But this is not the case, especially for trans people of color and other racial minorities.
For these people, the most vulnerable of our community, the harassment only intensified. The indignities and assaults suffered at the hands of transphobic NYPD officers became even more frequent.
The Daily Kos reports a study was conducted by Make the Road, New York which contacted 305 residents of Jackson Heights, 167 of whom identified as being LGBTQ. Of that group, 51% of LGB respondents said they had been stopped by police. A third of those stopped say had also been physically harassed. Of the 69 transgender respondents 59% had been stopped by police and nearly half reported being physically harassed. 28% of respondents who were not LGBTQ were stopped by police.
Stop and frisk of transgender people in Jackson Heights is epidermic, police using this tactic to stifle and subdue what they see as the most threatening to their authority, transgender people. Most transgender woman are visually recognizable making us easy targets of opportunity. And we are loud and proud as Melissa Sklarz so finely exemplifies, fighting at the very cutting edge of the human rights movement.
What can New York Trans people do? Contact your council member and tell him you want the local law currently laid over in committee Prohibiting bias-based profiling by law enforcement officers passed. Secondly know your rights and by god, know that police officers will treat you with the dignity and respect EVERY citizen expects.