Press

1,500 March On Oakland Police Department During Creating Change

Date: 
November 13, 1999

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

Some 1,500 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people marched on the Oakland Police Department Saturday night in response to a police officer's slur toward a young African American transgendered person who was the victim of a hate crime.

The march took place during the 12th annual Creating Change conference in Oakland. Creating Change is sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Late Friday evening, a transgendered woman whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy was attacked by two assailants several blocks from the Creating Change conference. An Oakland police officer responding to the attack said, according to witnesses, "I am tired of having to do all this paperwork. You guys have been told not to be on the corner of 14th and Broadway. I am tired of your shit. Who has to do the paperwork? Me, that's who."

Activists attending Creating Change learned of the attack throughout the day Saturday. Lead by local organizers, a march and peaceful protest was quickly planned. "What happened last night is a classic case of blame the victim," said NGLTF Executive Director Kerry Lobel. "Transgendered people are not paperwork."

"Creating Change is about transformation," Lobel added. "I hope this event transforms the Oakland Police Department into a caring, sensitive department whose officers, each and every one, understand the words ‘to protect and to serve.'"

Pete King, president of East Bay Pride, said violence against GLBT people needs to be met with an immediate response whenever it occurs. "The attack last night is not an isolated occurrence unique to Oakland," King said. "It happens across the United States every day. Women, people of color, people of all faith traditions and people of all gender identities deserve to live free from fear in our city and our country. The victims of these hideous crimes need to be treated with sensitivity and compassion by the police and by other institutions."

Local leaders demanded that the Oakland Police Department investigate the incident, provide sensitivity training to police officers and open a dialogue on GLBT concerns.

Video and audio of the demonstration was recorded by PlanetOut's news team and will appear on PlanetOut's website by Nov. 17. The web address is www.planetout.com

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.