If a Newark police officer arrests somebody who is transgender, they should not question that person’s gender identity.

The cop can relegate someone’s legal name as an alias on an arrest report, should remember that hypodermic needles may only be indicators of hormone therapy, and allow transgender suspects to be held in single-person cells.

Newark is not the only department re-writing how officers should interact with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning their gender identity (simplified as LGBTQ). The West Orange Police Department recently began training on similar rules, and the attorney general’s office is working on guidelines that would apply to the entire state.

But Newark’s policy, which took effect April 3, comes at a particularly critical moment for the department. The more than 1,000 officers serving the state’s largest city are currently under supervision by the U.S. Department of Justice, after a federal report found a pattern of unconstitutional policing. A team within the department is now working on reforms, and the newest report on their progress was published Tuesday.

These new rules, however, go beyond what’s mandatory: Neither the Justice Department nor the state currently require departments to have a specific LGBTQ policy.

“It’s long overdue" said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose in an interview. “It’s something that will only help.”

The Justice Department had found “anecdotal evidence” that Newark cops had discriminated against people because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, and reported that some officers had the “mistaken assumption that all female transgender persons are prostitutes.”

“There are things on the books, and there are things that don’t necessarily play themselves out on the streets,” he said.

Representatives from a transgender rights group and an LGBT organization in New Jersey reviewed a draft of Newark’s policy and said it was a step in the right direction, although they flagged areas they said could be improved.

Gillian Branstetter, a spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality, wrote in an email that one problem was that the policy did not include more protections for non-binary people, those who do not identify as male or female.

Aaron Potenza, the policy director for Garden State Equality, raised the same point while also calling the draft a "tremendous step forward.” He said he would like to see similar policies adopted across the state.

Newark’s Ambrose and O’Hara said they were open to critiques, but said language describing people in the LGBTQ community could change so rapidly that it was difficult to incorporate every group into one set of rules. (Newark’s policy does reference non-binary people in its glossary.)

Taylor, the pastor, said he plans to host another public meeting next month and spoke highly of the department’s willingness to listen.“The fact that they keep coming back to the table, and keep adding leaves to the table, is a really good sign,” Taylor said.

 

“I come to you today, a proud, black, transgender woman from a working class background, raised by a single mother. I come to you an artist, an actress, a producer, a girlfriend, a sister, and a daughter […] I am not just one thing, and neither are you,” said Daytime Emmy Award-winner, famed actress and producer, Laverne Cox at the 40th Annual Simmons Leadership Conference (SLC).

“I am not a mistake, I am divinely made,” said Cox to the 3,400 attendees on Tuesday morning.

As the morning segment keynote speaker, Cox reflected on her ever-changing outlook on life, from shame to pride through experiences with bullying, self-love, and trauma surrounding the struggles of gender identity.

“I was deeply shamed about something that felt very organic and natural to me,” said Cox on her earliest memories in Mobile, Alabama of internalized femininity, something her teachers and family taught her to suppress.

“I had all these misconceptions about who transgender people were based on what I’d seen in the media […] I didn’t associate being transgender with being successful and accomplished.”

Over the course of her young-adult life, Cox found herself enrolled at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where she became a dance major before landing in New York to pursue acting at Marymount Manhattan College.

“New York City represented, for me, the place, the space of ultimate possibility […] my education really happened in the nightclubs,” said Cox.

After a few reputable roles on television including appearances on VH1’s I Want to Work for Diddy and self-produced series TRANSform Me, Cox landed the recurring role of Sophia Burset on hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

Cox divulged her more recent challenges of coping with trauma response and triggered anxiety through therapy, and left the audience with a call to action for transgender rights: “You are the person who needs to spearhead the movement.”

After her speech, audience members had the opportunity to ask Cox questions. Several were from parents looking for advice on addressing  their children’s questions about gender identity. Cox answered with what she would have liked to have known as a child.

“What I needed to hear, particularly from my mother, was that I’m beautifully made, that I’m here for a reason, and not only am I loved, but that I am lovable,” said Cox.

The conference was held at the Seaport World Trade Center on Tuesday, April 2 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Designing Success was this year’s theme, a perfect topic with the conference falling ironically on Equal Pay Day, a date commemorating the extra days females must work to catch up with previous year male earnings.

 

“We all have the gifts to be competitors, it’s our choice if we want to go out there and win,” said O’Malley.

 

Children's Minnesota will be adding a new health program designed specifically for transgender or gender-diverse youth.

The health system, which has its main hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as clinics dotted around the metro area, announced Tuesday the launch of its "Gender Health Program."

It will become one of only a dozen-or-so hospitals that provide specialized care and support for transgender children and their families, noting that this is one of the areas within the U.S. health system where inequities still exist.

"Our goal is to become the go-to resource for transgender and gender-diverse children from across the region," said Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, medical director for the program and vice chief of staff, in a press announcement.

"Often, families find themselves having to educate their primary care pediatricians, schools, neighbors and family members about how to appropriately care for gender-diverse children. At the Gender Health Program, families can access medical experts they can trust and get the answers they need to help them navigate the complexities they may encounter.

It comes amid an increasing number of youth across the U.S. and the world identifying as transgender or gender non-conforming (TGNC).

study based on the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey found that as many as 2.7 percent of Minnesota 9th-11th graders identified as TGNC, out of more than 80,000 students who responded.

The same study found students who identified as TGNC reported "significantly poorer health, lower rates of preventive health checkups, and more nurse office visits than cisgender youth."

They stand to benefit therefore from the addition of a specialized service at Children's, which will offer a "variety of services that will support transgender and gender-diverse youth in their health and development."

Children's has released a list of the services it will offer:

  • Gender consultation: Meeting with a gender-health expert to discuss developmental questions and concerns about gender identity and develop a personalized care plan.
  • Pubertal suppression: This fully reversible treatment can put puberty “on pause” for kids in mid to late puberty, which is given as an injection or done as an implant
  • Menstrual suppression: This involves medication, shots or implants to stop menstruation for patients.
  • Gender-affirming hormone treatment: This involves hormones that create changes in the body to align with patient’s gender identity. 
  • Fertility preservation consultation: A fertility specialist will discuss options with patients prior to starting gender affirming treatment.

Police are investigating the shooting death of a transgender woman in suburban Maryland.

Fairmount Heights Police tell newsoutlets that they were called to the area of Aspen and Jost streets Saturday around 6:30 a.m. on reports of gunshots.

The woman, who has not been identified by police, was found dead at the scene after being shot multiple times.

The case will be turned over to Prince George's County Police for investigation.

WJLA-TV in Washington reports that the area, which borders the District of Columbia, has seen an influx of transgender prostitution.

The last week in March is recognized as LGBTQ Health Awareness Week.

GALA is partnering with several local organizations during the course of the week.

In an email, GALA’s Executive Director Michelle Call said the organization and Planned Parenthood will be announcing that all local Planned Parenthood offices will begin offering hormones for gender transition beginning this Summer, and reminding LGBTQ+ folks about current services including OB-GYN services for trans men.

Call also stated GALA and The Tobacco Control Program will be announcing that The GALA Center will be a tobacco-free area beginning on April 1, 2019. “This announcement will be accompanied by new signage, an invitation to an informational meeting and possible smoking cessation classes, and information about LGBTQ+ tobacco disparities,” she stated.

GALA and Tenet – Sierra Vista and Twin Cities Hospitals are releasing a fact sheet which will be displayed in hospitals. That fact sheet includes a recent study done showing LGBTQ youth are 3.9 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than their heterosexual peers. You can read more facts here.

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