Trans Latinas & Cops, Kate Bornstein





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Published on Apr 19, 2012

New Report on Discrimination Against Latina Transgender Women by Law Enforcement

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

In a new report titled Interactions of Latina Transgender Women with Law Enforcement , researchers explore the extent of discrimination and mistreatment that Latina transgender women living in Los Angeles, California experience from the very people whose job it is to uphold justice.

According to the report, two-thirds of the transgender women surveyed experienced some form of verbal abuse from law enforcement, while 21% experienced physical assault and 24% experienced sexual assault. Of those who attempted to report such misconduct by the police, two-thirds said their report had been handled "poorly" or "very poorly."
Among Latina transgender women who had been jailed, 30% said they were verbally assaulted by other inmates, 11% said they were physically assaulted, and 10%said they were sexually assaulted. After reporting these incidents of mistreatment by fellow inmates, 70% of transgender women reported that law enforcement either responded negatively or did not respond to the incident at all.

even though 55% of Latina transgender women interviewed said they have been victims of a crime by others, only half of them reported those crimes to the police. Of those that did report crimes committed against them to law enforcement, 57% said they were treated poorly or very poorly by the police. The report concludes by articulating the great need for law enforcement trainings on sensitivity towards the transgender community, particularly towards transgender women and transgender people of color. Furthermore, the report suggests, information about legal rights should be shared more broadly among the transgender community, in addition to increased communication between the police and transgender women.

'Gender outlaw' asks students to question binaries

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

MANKATO — We live in a society where we are rich or poor, black or white, woman or man. But self-proclaimed "gender outlaw" Kate Bornstein says nothing about who we are is "either/or."

A person's race, age, sexuality, looks, ability, mental health, family/reproductive status, habitat, language, political ideology and gender are all complex, without definitive terms to define the same truth from one person to the next.

"Either/or is the language of bullies," Bornstein said to a room full of mostly students at Minnesota State University Tuesday night during the annual Carol Ortman Perkins Lecture.

The trouble with breaking these "binaries," though, is it creates chaos, she said. We have been taught to create order, which Bornstein described as a "hierarchical system of oppression."

Bornstein asked the audience to imagine a perfect person with "perfect everything" — the perfect gender, race, class, sexuality, etc. — at the top of a pyramid, and everyone else falls to the bottom, wanting to be as much like that person as we can, or at least be liked by that person.

"That's how hierarchies retain their grip on us," she said.

Bornstein says even gender is a continuum, and not just for transgendered people. People express their gender in different ways with the various people in our lives. We aren't the same kind of woman or man to our parents as we are to our lovers, for example.

"All of us shift our gender subtly," she said.

Bornstein doesn't have the answer for how a system built on compassion without these binaries would work, what she refers to as a "Politic of Desire." But she knows it does begin with "radical welcoming," meaning seeing someone different from yourself and responding with wonder and an enthusiastic, welcoming nature.

Her only rule in life that she wants everyone to always try to adhere to is "Don't be mean."

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Music by Kevin MacLeod


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