Trenton – New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal last week announced an LGBTQ-equality directive that applies to all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. Every law enforcement officer in New Jersey must be trained on the new guidelines – stemming from a report by the Transgender Equality Task Force – by June 1st. All 21 county prosecutors must educate the public about the guidelines, and by December 31st, 2020, they must report to the attorney general’s office on their public education efforts.

The directive requires police officers to address people by the name and pronouns corresponding to their gender identity, even if that name isn’t on official records and forbids officers from publicly disclosing a person’s sexual orientation or gender assigned at birth unless the person consents to the disclosure or the disclosure is necessary for a “proper law enforcement purpose.”

“As a general rule,” the directive states, officers should treat a person based on his or her gender identity regardless of gender assigned at birth. Officers should refrain from profiling trans people as suspected criminals. And trans detainees shouldn’t be subjected to invasive body searches. Law enforcement officers shall not inquire about details of a person’s sexual practices, genitalia, or anatomy, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing criminal investigation. Transgender woman shall be housed with other women, unless she requests otherwise, and a transgender man shall be housed with other men, unless he requests otherwise. [Individuals shall be permitted] to “use restrooms consistent with their gender identity or expression, regardless of the gender that individual was assigned at birth and/or their anatomical characteristics,” the directive states.

Lt. John Hayes of the New Jersey State Police summarized the new guidelines on YouTube. “No officer can ever harass or discriminate against anyone based on their [LGBT status],” Hayes said. “It’s that simple. No officer can stop, search or detain anyone for being gay, for being transgender, or for being gender nonconforming. And every officer must take your request for help seriously – no matter your sexuality or gender identity, because we protect LGBTQ people just like we protect everyone else.” t (Philadelphia Gay News – Tim Cwiek at hEpgn.com/news/regional/15502-new-jersey-implements-lgbt-friendly-police-directive)