Latina Transgender Women and Law Enforcement

One of the key components of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging’s training curriculum is ample discussion of the types and amounts of discrimination and violence those who are now LGBT older adults faced when they were younger.  Another way of getting familiar with what older LGBT people experienced is by looking at what’s still happening now with the most marginalized among LGBT people.

 One of those “most marginalized” populations is transgender women of color.  Bienestar, with funding from the Williams Institute, recently published a study of 220 primarily immigrant Spanish-speaking Latina women in Los Angeles County, California.  “Interactions of Latina Transgender Women with Law Enforcement” documented such painful figures as the following:

  • Two-thirds reported verbal harassment by law enforcement
  • 21% reported physical assault by law enforcement
  • 24% reported sexual assault by law enforcement
  • 71% reported having been arrested at least once in their lifetime
  • 42% had been solicited for sex by a law enforcement officer
  • Nearly 60% had been stopped by law enforcement in the previous year alone without their having violated any law

On the positive side, “It was felt that interacting with the police used to be more difficult compared to the present time and that relations with the police have improved.  Police were described as being more open-minded and accepting of transgender people than in the 1990’s.”

 The full 24-page report is available at  http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Galvan-Bazargan-Interactions-April-2012.pdf

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