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LGBT groups withdraw support from Chicago transgender ordinance

A coalition of LGBT groups is withdrawing support from a proposed ordinance dealing with how Chicago Police Department officers treat transgender people.

The announcement from Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and the Chicago-based Center on Halsted cites problems with the language of the ordinance now before the city council.

“The proposed ordinance that was introduced in March removed all major enforcement and accountability components that we had previously discussed were essential to include,” said EI CEO Bernard Cherkasov. “Because the proposed ordinance as it currently exists has no real teeth to it, Equality Illinois and our coalition partners have decided to withdraw our support.”

The language originally agreed upon by the LGBT coalition would have required the police department to adopt a general order addressing the treatment of transgender people.

The order would include a definition of gender identity in police policy, require the police department to maintain records of transgender individuals while requiring confidentiality and non-disclosure of transgender status to other detainees for safety purposes and provide training to officers on the treatment of transgender individuals, according to Equality Illinois.

The coalition also supported the creation of the Police Transgender Issues Commission to develop a training program and to ensure the police department adheres to the policy.

Coalition representatives say key provisions – training, enforcement and oversight – were stripped from the ordinance that was introduced to the city council in mid-March.

Following the council meeting, Anthony Martinez of the Civil Rights Agenda, offered public praise and validation for the proposed ordinance to the press.

But Equality Illinois has said this praise was offered by TCRA alone and did not reflect the views of Equality Illinois or its coalition partners.

Equality Illinois, according to a news release, plans to continue working internally within the Chicago Police Department to ensure that a fair, operational general order is “implemented that will include key training, enforcement, and oversight elements that were so obviously lacking in the proposed ordinance language introduced last month.”

Read a related story from Los Angeles:

LAPD adopts 'respect the expressed gender' policy

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