Task Force Condemns Police’s Treatment of Transgender Activist
Washington, DC November 19, 2015—The National LGBTQ Task Force condemns the treatment of transgender activist Jes Grobman by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. Grobman was arrested during a “Transgender Week of Action” protest in DC yesterday, November 18 at about 6pm ET. Initial charges brought against her yesterday have been dropped, but today new charges were brought against her while she was in court and she will appear in court again soon. At the time of her arrest, activists were blocking an intersection next to the Columbia Heights Metro, and police did not follow procedure for issuing verbal warnings to clear the intersection before she was arrested. The protest was attended by dozens of transgender community members, and Jes Grobman was one of the lead organizers along with Alexa Rodriguez of the TransLatina Coalition.
“Last night’s action, which was intended to highlight violence and discrimination experienced by transgender people, clearly demonstrated why transgender people are afraid of going to police for help, especially as police themselves are often a source of violence. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 46% of transgender people are uncomfortable going to the police, and 22% of transgender people have been harassed by police. Transgender people of color are especially vulnerable—15% of black trans people and 9% of Latino/a trans people have been assaulted by police. Transgender women of color are frequent targets of police profiling,” said Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, National LGBTQ Task Force Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director
The National LGBTQ Task Force supports legislation to end racial profiling, ending “stop and frisk” police practices, along with efforts to decriminalize sex work and an end the use of condoms as evidence. Transgender people are 5 times more likely to live in extreme poverty than the general population, with 34% of black trans people, 28% of Latino/a trans women and 18% of Asian/Pacific Islander trans people making less than $10k a year. Employment discrimination plays a large role, with 47% of transgender people reporting being fired, or denied a promotion because of their gender identity. Also, 16% of trans people have had to resort to the underground economy including sex work in order to survive. The National LGBTQ Task Force supports passage of explicit nondiscrimination laws that will ban LGBTQ employment discrimination nationwide.
“As the country prepares to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance tomorrow, a day to recognize the fatal violence that has taken the lives of so many transgender people, it is important that we also recognize and take action to end the discrimination that leaves transgender people especially vulnerable to violence. At the same time that more Americans are learning about the stories of transgender people, transgender people continue to experience de-humanizing news coverage and misinformation propagated by opponents of LGBTQ equality—as we witnessed recently during the attacks on Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance recently. Transgender people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and we will keep fighting until all transgender people experience true lived freedom, justice and equality,” said Rodriguez-Roldan.
Media and Public Relations Director