The Vancouver Police Department has created a new raft of guidelines for how its officers interact with transgender people.
The VPD says the changes follow a direction from the BC Human Rights Tribunal, which ruled last May the force had discriminated against a Vancouver transgender woman popularly known as “Roller Girl.”
She was awarded $15,000 in damages against the VPD because she was refused medical care in jail, and referred to with a male name.
Officers now have to refer to a transgender person by their chosen name, even if it’s different from the one shown on their ID, and officers will be trained on the new policy.
The VPD says the new guidelines have been endorsed by both the city’s and the VPD’s LGBTQ Advisory Committees, and the Trans Alliance Society Board
Step in the right direction
Morganne Oger with the Trans Alliance Society say she’s pleased the police are showing a commitment to change.
“The most important thing is respect and training. You know there’s lots of officers out there that still actually have no experience or positive experience with transgendered persons.”
But she says the new policy is just the beginning, and that more needs to be done.
“This is the first step. There are other steps coming. This is really about initial contact only. This doesn’t include for example housing, or imprisonment and jails. This doesn’t cover searches. Those are being covered in other policies that are coming down the pipeline.”
But for the time being, Oger says the new policy gives trans people confidence that if officers do cross the line there will be consequences.