The Metropolitan Police Department is slated to review hate-crime reports for 2008 in an effort to include a new category noticeably missing from Mayor Adrian Fenty’s recently released “Bias-related Crime Report”: gender identity.
In an exchange with Rick Rosendall, vice president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, Christopher Dyer, the mayor’s liaison to the LGBT community, said that the MPD will conduct a reevaluation of the 2008 reports.
”I’ve been told that MPD will be reviewing its data to identify those that are based on gender identity. They will be starting with this year’s crimes, and working backwards,” Dyer said in a response to a query from Rosendall, now posted on the GLAA Forum blog.
Speaking with Metro Weekly Monday, Nov. 30, Dyer confirmed the statement, but said he could not comment further. ‘
Rosendall was among several local activists who testified before the D.C. City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary on Friday, Nov. 20. He told the committee that although the word ”transgender” is used in the new report when describing the LGBT community, and while ”gender identity or expression” is listed under protected categories, he was outraged by the omission of such terms in the ”type of bias” category of hate crimes statistics.
”To learn that our own police are not even tracking anti-transgender hate crimes as such is mind-boggling,” Rosendall said during his testimony. ”Rendering the members of this at-risk community invisible in this way is almost worse than the individual hate crimes because the invisibility is structural.”
Hearing that the MPD is plans to amend the report to add transgender-specific data, Alison Gill, treasurer of the DC Trans Coalition, said she remains concerned about unreported crimes against transgender people, but relieved that the MPD is going back to fix the mistake.
”I think it’s an important step forward,” she said. ”The MPD is mandated to record this sort of violence under the D.C. Bias-related Crimes Act, so this is important because it allows us to have some statistics in the future about trans-related crimes. That’s very valuable because trans crimes are often ignored or subsumed into the larger ‘sexual orientation’ category.”