Over 3,000 people are expected to attend one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ conferences in Dallas this week. Among the main topics of discussion will be violence targeting the transgender community nationwide and especially in Dallas.
“Overall the trans community does not feel safe, we do not feel protected,” said Carter Brown, Executive Director of the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition in Dallas.
In the last five years, more transgender people have been killed in Texas than any other state. LGBTQ advocacy group “The Human Rights Campaign” puts that number at fifteen and says more than half of the deaths have occurred in Dallas.
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This week, the Dallas Police Department rolled out its 2020 crime plan, with Chief Renee Hall presenting the plan to city council members. The hours-long presentation drew intense conversation but despite a wide-ranging discussion, crimes targeting the transgender community were not mentioned.
“I feel like they are overwhelmed reducing the crime rate for the general population and the trans community is not a priority for them,” Brown said. “So what we want is the DPD to listen to what we are saying and prioritize our lives, trans lives, just as they do all other citizens.”
In a statement, the Dallas Police Department said in part:
“Our crime reduction plan serves all of the residents of Dallas, including our LGBTQ+ community. We do not execute our crime initiatives based on race, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. The initiatives are based on crime trends and data.”
But members of the Dallas transgender community will point out that unlike other demographic breakdowns transgender people are often targeted because they are transgender, making it a worthy specific consideration.
“Every time we lose someone from the trans community it is a loss not just to the trans community but society as a whole,” Monica Roberts, a nationwide transgender advocate said.
Some attending the conference said they hope law enforcement nationwide and in Dallas will do a better job of hiring and promoting transgender people.
“Whether that’s becoming an officer, whether that’s become something in administrative, we need to have a voice,” Stacey Monroe, a Dallas activist said.