New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released the LGBT Equality Directive instructing the state’s 38,000 law enforcement officers on how to deal with the LGTB community. The directive’s provisions include law enforcement cannot ask a person’s anatomy unless it’s necessary to an investigation, must use people’s chosen names even if that name does not appear on official documents, cannot question or detain someone for using a restroom “consistent with that person’s gender identity or expression” or conduct “invasive search procedures to determine a person’s genitals or assign gender”. Wouldn’t you or I be arrested for giving police a false name or information?
According to the Attorney General’s Directive it addresses law enforcement interactions with transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. It states that “law enforcement’s overriding goal must be to treat individuals in a manner that
is appropriate to their gender identity or expression, which may be different from the gender they were assigned at birth or the gender that is listed on their official identification”.
The Directive goes on to state;
Law enforcement officers therefore shall:
A. Address individuals using their chosen names that reflect their gender identity—even
if the name is not the one that is recognized on official legal records and even if that
name changes over time—as well as their chosen pronouns;
B. Include chosen names and chosen pronouns in all relevant documentation.
The Attorney General directs law enforcement that “whenever the action that an officer takes depends at least in part on an individual’s gender, then that action shall be performed in accordance with the individual’s gender identity, regardless of the gender that individual was assigned at birth and/or their anatomical characteristics”. It continues In other words, officers must treat a transgender woman as they would treat any other woman, and they must treat a transgender man as they would treat any other man”.
Not taking officer safety or comfort into consideration the Directive instructs;
For the purpose of conducting a search, officers shall treat a transgender woman as they
would treat any other woman, and officers shall treat a transgender man as they would
treat any other man, regardless of the gender that individual was assigned at birth and/or their anatomical characteristics.
But certain searches exist for which cross-gender searches are prohibited (e.g.,
non-exigent custodial strip searches) and where the gender of the person being
searched thus matters. In those cases, where only a female officer can search a
cisgender woman and only a male officer can search a cisgender man, then it is
also the case that only a female officer can search a transgender woman and
only a male officer can search a transgender man
Not taking into consideration the safety or comfort of other prisoners the directive instructs;
If detained individuals are held in areas that are segregated on the basis of gender, law
A. House, place, or otherwise detain individuals in line with their gender identity
or expression, regardless of the gender that individual was assigned at birth
and/or their anatomical characteristics unless they request otherwise. In other words, a transgender woman shall be housed with other women, unless she requests otherwise and a transgender man shall be housed with other men, unless he requests otherwise.
B. Permit individuals to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity or
expression, regardless of the gender.
Because the Attorney General apparently believes that New Jersey law enforcement officers do not have more important priorities he further instructs;
To ensure that law enforcement fully understands the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and
continues to build relationships with the LGBTQ+ community, the following training and
community engagement steps shall be taken:
A. The Division of Criminal Justice shall, by March 1, 2020, develop a training program
to explain the requirements of the Directive. This program shall be available through
the NJ Learn System or by other electronic means. All state, county, and local law enforcement agencies shall provide training to all officers regarding the provisions of this Directive before June 1, 2020.
B. Further, the Division of Criminal Justice shall, by June 1, 2020, and in consultation
with groups representing the LGBTQ+ community, create a broader training on LGBTQ+ rights that shall be available through the NJ CLEAR System. That training shall include information about the basics of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and intersex status; issues affecting the transgender community; and issues relating to implicit bias and cultural humility.
C. Each County Prosecutor shall, in collaboration with the Division of Criminal Justice,
undertake efforts to educate the public about the provisions of this Directive, with a
specific focus on strengthening trust between law enforcement and LGBTQ+
individuals. By December 31, 2020, each County Prosecutor shall report to the
Attorney General on those public education efforts.
D. All law enforcement agencies shall seek to establish relationships with organizations
focused on LGBTQ+ issues, and other community leaders, to maintain a dialogue about
issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals.
Much like the Attorney General’s Immigrant Trust Directive his LGBT Equality Directive is ridiculous, over reaching and puts people in danger. First, if you or I were to give law enforcement fraudulent information such as an incorrect name we’d be subject to arrest. By saying that we “identify” as someone else we are free to go out and commit crimes then give false information to police?
By saying that a man who believes he’s a woman or a woman who believes she is a man can be housed with inmates who are the sex the person “identifies with” the Attorney General is putting all of the prisoners, including the “transgendered” prisoner in danger.
By forcing a female officer to conduct a search of a male prisoner who “identifies” as a female or a male officer to conduct a search female prisoner who “identifies” as a male the Attorney General is not taking the comfort of officers into consideration and potentially putting officers in danger.
Forcing law enforcement to take LGBTQ based training and requiring law enforcement agencies to establish relationships with “organizations focused on LGBTQ+ issues” the Attorney General is wasting law enforcement resources that can be used to fight crime.
A man who thinks he is a woman or a woman who thinks she is a man is mentally ill. Rather than enable people with mental health challenges and potentially put law enforcement officers in danger we should be focused on getting these people the help that they need. Like his Immigrant Trust Directive this Directive ignores the rights of the majority of New Jersyans and puts people’s safety at risk.
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