Never examine equine homage by its orifice. This is advice I need to remember when I read news like this. Public spaces are a nightmare for those of us in the trans community to navigate to begin with. Public spaces where we don’t have a choice whether or not we are there, ie jail, are all nine rings of Dante’s hell. It was the main reason I did not even think about trying to pass while I was in NYC in October for OWS. Knowing I might get arrested was scary enough. Why risk humiliation or worse at the hands of the NYPD on top of that?
Overall I have to say I am glad that the LAPD are doing this. It is nice that we are being acknowledged as a group with very specific needs. When I first learned about this from Kate Bornstein’s tweet I was skeptical. On the one hand, at the very least we need protection from the abuse that we often encounter in these situations. On the other it kind of felt like we are being segregated, that our chosen identities were being invalidated and that in a way we were being “othered” once again. I have to admit that was a knee jerk reaction. I had not read the HuffPo article yet.
After reading it I found myself not just relieved but overjoyed. Not only are transfolk in LA getting a separate facility, but new policies are being put in place for treating trans prisoners. Our preferred names and pronouns, a huge deal for us, are being recognized by public officials as being important. Our specific health needs in our transition are being addressed. We are simply being counted as human beings by the leadership in the LAPD.
The only gripe I have is “what took you so damn long?” It is not as though the trans community has been invisible these past twenty years. In the past we had been shoved deep in the closet, but we have been out, as a group, for a generation now, and only now are the basic needs of our community being recognized. Still, I don’t want to harp on that too much. It is happening and it has not before. It is a welcome change and I hope that other municipalities don’t take to long following LA’s lead. It would be nice to feel safe wearing heels to the next protest I attend.