For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2014
Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
Washington, D.C. - Today, Councilmember David Grosso (At Large-I) issued the following statement regarding the recently released report by the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force written by the Anti-Defamation League on the Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) programs in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community:
The report released yesterday on relations between MPD and the LGBT community is an important step toward improving public safety in our city. While I think the recommendations are sensible and Chief Lanier should act on them quickly, I was concerned in particular with one of the findings. It is upsetting that our transgender residents continue to have extremely negative interactions with MPD, despite MPD having some of the best LGBT policies in the country.
Another concern after reading the report was that the findings and recommendations on improving safety for transgender residents did not mention the policing of commercial sex. The report noted that transgender women (African-Americans and Latinas in particular), express that MPD regularly views and treats them as criminals. This might be as much a result of legal policies as it is a result of police bias.
Just as we are reconsidering our drug laws, which have been found to be discriminatory, I think it is time that we open up the conversation regarding how we handle commercial sex. We need to consider changing from a framework of criminalization to a framework that emphasizes the health and human rights of those involved. I look forward to having serious conversations about these topics with my constituents and my colleagues.