NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel to ensure gender non-conforming New Yorkers are treated with dignity and respect

City Hall, NY— Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Council Members and the NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel will today announce reforms to the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Patrol Guide to ensure respectful treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers by the police.

The NYPD’s Patrol Guide is the procedural rule book issued to officers and outlines regulations for addressing the public.

The changes to the NYPD Patrol Guide were announced at the New York City Council’s LGBT Pride Event at the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

The new Patrol Guide formally outlines that discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived gender is prohibited by City law.

“The NYPD’s new Patrol Guide makes it clear that all people must be treated with respect,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I applaud Commissioner Kelly for working closely with the City Council and the LGBT community to create respectful, inclusive guidelines that are appropriate for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers, and I thank the NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel for their work to make these changes.”

“The changes to the Patrol Guide are significant, affecting more than 12 separate Patrol Guide provisions,” said New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “The changes range from establishing search procedures for transgender arrestees to requiring officers to address arrestees by their preferred name. Senior members of my staff worked closely with representatives from the LGBT community to draft these changes, and I applaud their work.”

The Patrol Guide updates create a written policy for the NYPD to follow when addressing, processing, searching and housing transgender and gender non-conforming people.

“Advocates from the LGBT community who were involved in drafting and negotiating these proposed changes to the Patrol Guide look forward to working with the NYPD on training and enforcement that will ensure that the Patrol Guidelines are implemented, ” said New York City Anti-Violence Project and NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel Member Sharon Stapel.

‘The NYPD’s new Patrol Guide provisions make clear that discrimination, harassment or disparaging comments based on actual or perceived gender is defined and prohibited as required by Local Law 3,” said Civil Rights Attorney and Coordinator of Streetwise and Safe Andrea Ritchie. “The new policies in the Patrol Guide now mandate that New York City Police officers must respect transgender & gender nonconforming (TGNC) people’s gender identity and expression and explicitly prohibits NYPD officers from conducting any search for the purpose of determining a person’s gender. The revisions also address the LGBT community’s concerns regarding the hand cuffing of individuals to benches and rails while in police custody.”

“These crucial changes to the Patrol Guide are a major step forward in improving conditions for transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York City,” said New York City LGBT Center Director of Community Services and NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel Member Carrie Davis. “The immense efforts from all involved have resulted in a stronger relationship between the NYPD and organizations that advocate on behalf of the LGBT community.”

“I am proud and happy of the work to change the culture between the NYPD and trans women,” said NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel Member Melissa Sklarz. “These patrol guide modifications are a testament to our community perseverance and the ability of the NYPD to compromise. I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and Speaker Christine C. Quinn for creating an environment to allow trans women, trans advocates and the NYPD to get together, meet regularly and try to reevaluate a police process that will make life for transgender women safer in New York.”
“These patrol guide changes will help ensure that NYPD officers treat transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers with courtesy, professionalism and respect,” said Melissa Goodman, Senior Litigation and Policy Counsel for LGBT Rights at New York Civil Liberties Union. “Now NYPD officers must respect a person’s gender identity when they make an arrest or detain people. This protects basic civil liberties and strengthens trust between police officers and the public they serve.”

“These new guidelines go a long way toward changing the relationship between transgender New Yorkers and the NYPD. Finally, there are procedures and protocols in place to guide police interactions with the transgender community — it’s a new day.” Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Attorney.

“This is a watershed moment when all New Yorkers can be proud. Our nation’s largest police force, serving our nation’s most diverse citizenry, listened to the voices of transgender New Yorkers and took steps to address their concerns about policing practices. The result will be a stronger police force that can protect and serve all New Yorkers fairly and equally,” said Michael Silverman, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

“We are very proud of the work that the Advisory Panel has done to make revisions to the Patrol Guide. We hope that the NYPD effectively implements these new guidelines with respect and dignity for TGNC people. As a member of the NYPD LGBT Advisory Panel, we will work to inform LGBTQ Youth of Color of their rights when interacting with the NYPD and continue to take action to ensure that NYPD officers are accountable to the new guidelines,” said John Blasco, Lead Organizer at FIERCE.