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Alderman Seeks To Create Police Commission On Transgender Issues

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) plans to introduce an ordinance that would establish a commission on transgender issues in the Chicago Police Department.

Moreno confirms on his Web site he plans to introduce the ordinance at the March City Council meeting. The ordinance would also set up guidelines for police to follow in interactions with transgender people.

The Police Treatment of Transgender Individuals Ordinance would require officers to respect each person's unique gender identity, and add gender identity to the definitions specified in Police Department policy, he Chicago Phoenix reported.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th), a supporter of the proposed ordinance, told the Phoenix even basic questions such as which restroom a transgender person will use are not settled right now.

A 2010 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study revealed that nearly half of transgender respondents were uncomfortable seeking help from police, and about a fifth said they were harassed by police officers, the Phoenix reported. The study also found that 60 percent of transgender women of color reported being abused by police, and 20 percent said they were denied equal services, the Phoenix reported.

Moreno's proposed ordinance comes just a few weeks after state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) introduced a bill that would add gender identity to the Illinois hate crime law. Cassidy's proposed bill would also add military status and immigration status.

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